Pan dulce means sweet bread and it seems Mexicans love sweet bread. At least, that is what Ben says and he should know. I first saw these beautiful rolls at Ben’s blog and knew I was going to be making them (soon I hoped, unlike a lot of my bookmarks!).
These rolls are pan dulce and called “Conchas” (meaning shells) referring to the shell-like pattern on the top of these rolls. Conchas are soft, buttery and covered with a cinnamon flavoured cookie-like dough which bakes to form a crunchy layer reminiscent of streusel. The bonus is the aroma of cinnamon wafting through you kitchen while the rolls bake.
So, last weekend I suddenly realized I had about a week left to bake bread for Bread Baking Day. Jamie is guest hosting this month’s edition of BBD with the theme of “Baking Bread For a Birthday Party”!
That’s right! Jamie celebrates her birthday this month and she wants bread at her birthday party.
It seemed to me that this then was the perfect opportunity to bake some chocolate conchas. After all, chocolate is stuff that celebrations are made of. At least, they are for me and I know Jamie agrees.
Searched my usual source, the net, for some background information on conchas but I didn’t find much. There weren’t too many recipes either. I was planning to use Ben’s recipe, when I found this one at King Arthur Flour, which I adapted a bit.
This recipe had a starter, and I thought this might result in a better texture for my rolls. I used all milk for my starter, reduced the eggs to 1 and reduced the flour by a bit too. The result was a delightfully soft, buttery roll with a nice crunchy top.
I was also pleased to notice the cinnamon flavour wasn’t too strong. The rolls weren’t too sweet either, especially with chocolate covered ones, and just the thing to keep a cup of coffee some company!
I made 5 pink conchas and 5 chocolate conchas.As you can see, the finish on my conchas isn’t perfect and my pink concha looks a little sad. I did mange to get the hang of it by the time I had reached my 10th roll! Traditonally, these patterns are pressed into the rolls using a pan dulce pattern cutter.
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or food colour of choice)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together and let them rest for about an hour, until the mixture is bubbly.
Allow the dough to double in size (about an hour). This might take a bit longer, so give it the time it needs.
In the meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the topping together to form a cookie-like dough. Keep aside. Refrigerating it for about half an hour will make it easier to shape it when required.
Once the dough has doubled, transfer it to a lightly greased or floured work surface. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Also divide the topping dough into 10 equal portions.
Place the balls of dough onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving space between them. Place a circle of topping dough onto each roll, ensuring the roll is covered well on top and a bit on the sides. Flatten each roll slightly
Allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes, covered. Just before baking, use a pan dulce cutter to press a “concha” pattern into the topping. Press down firmly, through the topping and into the dough. Alternately, use a sharp knife and cut the pattern (shell-like, criss-cross or whatever you choose) through the topping right to the dough.
Bake the rolls at 200C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Serve the rolls warm, with jam.
This recipe makes 10 rolls. If you want slightly smaller rolls, you may divide the dough and topping into 12 portions instead of 10.
This is my entry to this month’s edition of BBD being hosted by Jamie of Life is a Feast. These conchas are also being YeastSpotted!
And now, a couple of thing unrelated to this post.
A few months back Meeta had invited me to join The Daily Tiffin as a regular contributor and I had agreed. After a lot of hiccups and false starts (mostly from my side), my first post was published there this month. My post there shall be woven around the theme of “Kid-friendly healthy meals”.
If you are not familiar with The Daily Tiffin (or DT), it is a blog started by Meeta with posts written by her and a team of regular contributers. The purpose of DT is to share ideas, thoughts, articles, reviews and recipes which are family-centric.
The other thing is that I have joined a 365 group on Flickr called “A Year In Pictures”, and have committed to taking and posting one picture a day for the whole of 2010! I did this hoping that it will push me to use my camera more often, experiment with new ideas and improve my photography.
Yes, it is quite an effort and while I’m not sure I can keep it going for the whole year, I’m most definitely going to make that effort. So far, the going has been good (not even a month yet!).
I would appreciate it if you could find the time to go to my Flickr and take a look at my 365YIP pictures and leave your thoughts there. Constructive criticism is as welcome as appreciation is.