Recipes

Conchas

How to make Mexican sweet rolls, three ways
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Photo: Bake from Scratch

If streusel-laden baked goods have taught us anything, it's that the topping is always the best part. And while the dough in this concha recipe is excellent in its own right, the crunchy, sugary top lends even more credibility to that claim. Even better, you have 3 kinds to choose from: classic, Mexican chocolate and Chinese five-spice. Extra butter and milk gives this recipe from Brian Hart Hoffman's Bake from Scratch Vol. 3 even more lift than is typical of the traditional Mexican sweet roll.

Conchas

Recipe from Bake from Scratch Vol. 3, by Brian Hart Hoffman

Yield: 15 rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus resting time

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus resting time

Ingredients

For the Rolls:

4¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided

⅓ cup granulated sugar

2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon kosher salt

⅔ cup evaporated milk

⅓ cup water

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened

2 large eggs

Streusel topping (recipe follows)

For the Topping:

1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon (8 grams) all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup granulated sugar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons finely grated Mexican chocolate

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt at low speed until combined.

2. In a small saucepan, heat evaporated milk, ⅓ cup water, and butter over medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 120°F to 130°F. With mixer on low speed, add hot milk mixture to flour mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1 cup flour; beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1¼ cups flour, beating until a soft dough forms.

3. Switch to the dough hook attachment; beat at medium speed until dough is smooth but still sticky, about 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until very soft, smooth, and no longer sticky, about 1 minute. If dough seems too sticky, add ¼ cup more flour. (Dough should be on the soft side, so don't add too much flour, or buns won't be as soft.)

4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

5. Meanwhile, make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together 1½ cups flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk; stir egg mixture into flour mixture until clumps form.

6. Divide mixture into 3 equal portions of 1 cup each. Using hands, form each portion into a paste, making sure all ingredients are well combined and emulsified with no butter chunks left over. Place one portion in a small bowl, and stir in finely grated chocolate and cocoa until combined. Place second portion in another bowl. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, five-spice powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Leave third portion as is.

7. Beginning with plain streusel mixture, divide and shape each portion into 5 balls. (You will have a total of 15 balls.) On a lightly floured surface, press each ball into a 4-inch patty. Place on a large plate, separating layers with plastic wrap or parchment paper to keep from sticking together. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

8. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

9. Punch down dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 15 equal portions, and shape each portion into a smooth ball. Flatten each ball into a 3-inch round, and place on prepared pans. Top with the streusel rounds. Using a small paring knife, carefully cut a scallop shell or crisscross design into streusel, leaving a ¼-inch border. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F) until almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to

1 hour.

10. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until topping is just beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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