This mexican pan dulce recipe has to be one of our favorite bread recipes that we have made to-date! We originally wanted to create this specifically for Cinco De Mayo only but we loved it so much that we will be making this all the time! Love at first bite! What is Pan Dulce? Pan dulce is a quintessential pastry in the mexican culture. This Mexican pastry, is made of a fluffy, buttery brioche dough topped with a streusel topping that is scored usually to look like a shell. The sweet topping is typically white but can also be dyed with any color to make them more fun and festive!
For Mexican Americans, pan dulce is a tradition and a part of their culture and has been a staple for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack also known as "merienda". This tradition of eating sweet pastries for merienda, goes back to the 16th century. Pan dulce is considered to be a Mexican cuisine even though its origins are European. The desire for sweetness in bread was put into practice and fulfilled when French influence took hold in Mexico in the 19th century. The French were defeated in 1862 but left behind a taste and appreciation for rich pastries, as well as their art of bread making. Mexican pan dulce (conchas) can be found in any bakery or panaderia. It is commonly served with a hot chocolate or coffee.
For a Visual Tutorial on How to Make Mexican Pan Dulce or Conchas: Check out our Filipina Kitchen Instagram Video below:
PAN DULCE (CONCHA) RECIPE
3/4 warm whole milk
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) of active dry yeast
10 Tbsp of melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature, whisked in a separate small bowl
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder (optional to add for half the topping mixture)
1. In a standing mixer, add and whisk together the warm milk, sugar and active dry yeast nd allow to sit for 10 minutes. This will allow the yeast to "bloom" and the mixture will become foamy.
2. When the active dry yeast is foamy, pour in the melted butter, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, and whisked eggs. Mix in the standing mixer with the whisk attachment at medium speed until incorporated
3. Next, exchange the whisk attachment with the dough hook attachment. Pour the flour in two parts into the bowl and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth.
4. In a large bowl, lightly coat the bowl with oil or cooking spray and place the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel or a bees wax wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 1-2 hours.
TO MAKE THE STREUSEL TOPPING:
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
2. Divide the dough into the number of colors you would like. For example, we divided the dough into four portions (plain (no food coloring), pink, yellow, and light green), To one portion of the topping, add drops of food coloring gel until the desired color is achieved. Be careful-add one drop at a time and mix after each drop. The color can become very dark very quickly.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CONCHAS:
1. Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into equal parts by weighing each piece to 80 grams. Form the balls of dough into rounds. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the dough.
2. Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping (Note: we used 20 grams of topping for our 80 gram dough). Rollout the topping using our palms, flatting it into a thin round. Drape it over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Using a concha stamp or you can use a knife to carve out designs on the top. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve with hot chocolate or coffee.
The soft, buttery inside with the cracked sweet, slightly crunchy streusel topping is exactly what you want! We hope you give this recipe a try, whether it be for Cinco de Mayo or just because you have craving.
Ali & Marissa