The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best Mexican Conchas

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

Best Mexican Conchas

When I first caught sight of these pretty rolls in a Mexican bakery, I was totally smitten. But my enthusiasm quickly deflated when I took the first bite - the cute little shells were overly sweet, but other than that: no taste whatsoever! 

Sadly, this was the case with almost all the pastries we had at the Riviera Maya: they looked very appetizing, but tasted only bland and sugary.

 Conchas in Mexican bakery: pretty but bland

But shouldn't it be possible to bake Conchas whose attractive exterior matched a delicious interior? The idea intrigued me and kept me thinking. Back from our trip, I started searching for a recipe.

A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate didn't only have a recipe for this Pan Dulce, it also had a very entertaining story about a nightly encounter with a mysterious woman and her ardent desire for revenge! 

Before we flew to Mexico this year, I finally wanted to tackle the Conchas. Remembering the "Mujer Misteriosa" and her dark desires, I dug through several pages with recipes until I finally rediscovered Clementina's blog post.

Mexico's Mayan ruins are worth a trip - here the recently discovered Ek Balam

Mexicans seem to have a real sweet tooth. All Concha recipes I had googled, contained lots of sugar. Being a gringo, I cut it down drastically, and, also, exchanged some of the flour with white whole wheat.

And how to force taste into even the lamest bread dough? Two words: overnight fermentation! I reduced the yeast, stretched and folded the dough, and put it to sleep in the fridge.

Rolling and cutting out the chocolate and cinnamon toppings evoked an early Christmas spirit, but with a little patience (and the help of a large cookie cutter) this was achieved, too (though some misshaped cookies had to be crushed, cooled and re-rolled.)

Baking brings out the pretty two-colored pattern

After their rise the Conchas looked already quite attractive, the cuts in the toppings had opened, and after baking the two-colored pattern had fully emerged.

Of course I was extremely eager to see whether my Conchas had escaped their compañeros' fate of bland and boring sweetness. We tried them, and - here they were, delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp sugar cookie: a real treat!

Delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp chocolate or cinnamon cookie

 

You find the recipe on my blog "Brot & Bread" here.

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Karin,

THese turned out sooo well!  Your digging for solutions worked.  I love how you improved the flavor with 2 words! 

Thanks for posting your final results.  

Take Care,

Janet

P.S.  I see Hamburg was hit by another storm recently…..hope your family and friends are all okay.  

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and I'm really happy that my theory worked!
Fortunately they had prepared well for the flood, though it was higher than any of the last ones. Nobody died this time, and the dykes held.

Take care, Janet,

Karin

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Very nice!  

I have to agree that most of the conchas I've tried are pretty flavourless.  Your recipe is quite intriguing.  

hanseata's picture
hanseata

It's sad that people don't expect anything better, and buy these flavorless pastries. But long fermentation fortunately did the trick, and these Conchas really taste great.

Foodzeit's picture
Foodzeit

do look amazing. Even I am not a fan of sweet breads I am intrigued, that might be thanks to the great scoring of your breads, those look awesome. One thought that I had. I know that in Mexico they love to cook with chocolate and chili (see the orginal Mole recipes). Do you think a kick of chili would hurt in this recipe?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I love Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and chile. Though I didn't check out other toppings, I can imagine some added zing would hurt the Conchas. Definitely worth a try.

Karin

 

varda's picture
varda

Beautiful AND delicious.  Terrific!  -Varda

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Do try them (when you have time) they are definitely worth the effort.

Karin

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

definitely eye catchers!   

hanseata's picture
hanseata

They really are! This is the only bread I know (so far) that uses different colored toppings to created a two-colored pattern.

Take care, Mini!

Karin

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Conchas taste .......terrible and are a disgrace for most brownmen everywhere :-(  It seems the farther you go north the worse they get...till you get to Maine!  Well done and thanks for fixing these otherwise striking and unique breads.

Happy baking

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Maybe even Lucy with her spoiled highly developed taste buds would deign to eat one.

Happy baking,

Karin

 

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Wow, that looks neat! I wasn't familiar with "conchas" before your post but they remind me of the Japanese "melonpan", which is a bread bun with a cookie coating, sometimes flavoured to taste like melons of some sort.

Zita

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I've seen pictures of those, but do they really taste like melon?

Karin

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

According to Wikipedia, yes, some manufacturers add melon flavouring to their melonpan. Can't say I'm surprised, considering that cucumber Pepsi exists in Japan amongst other food oddities.

Zita