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Conchas (Traditional Mexican Sweet Bread)

Conchas in a Variety of Colors

Ingredients

Bread:

6 – 7 cups all purpose flour (750-875 gr)
3/4 cup sugar (150gr)
2 pkg yeast (16gr)
1 tsp. salt (6gr)
1/2 cup milk (120ml)
1/2 cup water (120ml)
1/2 cup butter (114gr)
3 eggs
3 egg yolks

Topping:

6 tbsp. vegetable shortening, softened (77gr)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (60gr)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup flour (94gr)

coloring options:
2-3 drops yellow food coloring
2-3 drops red food coloring
1 tablespoon powdered cocoa (4gr)

Instructions

Place 5 cups of the flour (625gr) in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and salt, and set aside.

Heat the milk, water, and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, until the liquid reaches 100°-110°F (38°-43°C) on a thermometer. Add the yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the milk mixture over the flour and stir until well combined. Add the whole eggs and the yolks, and mix well. The dough will be sticky at first. Add more flour, 1 large spoonful at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead with your hands for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, flouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. Continue to knead until the dough no longer sticks to your hands or to the counter surface. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise in a warm (about 85°F), draft free environment for 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces and form each into a round, domed patty (like a hamburger bun). Place the dough patties on a greased baking sheet. Allow to rise for 1 hour.

While the bread is rising, prepare the topping. In a small mixing bowl, combine the vegetable shortening, powdered sugar, egg yolks and flour. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon to knead the ingredients together. When the dough is well combined, divide the dough into 3 portions, coloring one portion with the yellow food coloring, another portion with the red food coloring (pink is the desired color) and the remaining portion with the cocoa powder.

Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Form each colored dough into 3 balls, for a total of 9 balls. Using a rolling pin or a tortilla press, flatten each of the balls into a thin circle that is just smaller in diameter than the risen bread. Place a flattened circle of topping on each of the completely risen breads. Mark each topping using a concha stamp.

Bake the conchas for 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges.