Monday, November 1, 2010

Pan Dulce, Conchas

So cool.  My daughter made this and I think she did a fabulous job!
Today November 2nd is Day of the Dead in Mexico, Dia de los Muertes.  Since I have been reading, or rather listening to on tape, La Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver,  I felt compelled to make some Mexican bread.  Having already made Pan de Muerto last year, I just had to make something different so I can put it on my blog.  If we eat things more than once around here, its because its pretty darn good or it is a favorite.

When I lived in Arizona, I bought these conchas many times. When I would go to Mexico, I would make it a point to go to the bakery and buy these. After seeing them on Susan's blog Wild Yeast, I just had to make them.  She used some unique flavorings for the topping.  I followed suit with one of mine.  I bought some freeze dried strawberries and ground them in my coffee grinder. The strawberry flavor did come through.  Not real over powering but it did let you know it was there.  My favorites were the chocolate and vanilla ones though.
Here is my recipe and it is kind of born out of a mistake.  I had made the starter for pan de muerto (a different recipe) and then decided on making these conchas. I just used the same starter. Then I followed Susan's recipe.

The texture of these conchas inside were really similar to a croissant- very light and airy.  We really liked them.  Next time I will give them a try doing exactly what she did to see if there is a difference in texture.

Loosely based on Susan's conchas.

4 oz flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 ounce dry yeast
4 ounces water

450 g flour
180 g sugar
3 g (1/2 t. salt)
45 g unsalted butter, softened
220 g egg
57 g warm water
7 g instant yeast
all of the sponge

Topping Ingredients:
114 g all-purpose flour
114 g powdered sugar
91 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
chocolate- add two tablespoons coca powder
vanilla- add a teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bead seeds
strawberry- two tablespoons ground dehydrated strawberries

For the Starter: Dissolve yeast in water add 4 oz flour, 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix until a paste forms. Cover with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place ideally about 70° — until the dough has doubled in volume, about 4 hours (dough will ferment).

For the Dough:  In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Cover and ferment until double in bulk, about 1.5 hours.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine all of the final dough ingredients except 60 g of the sugar. Mix on medium-high speed (I used Kitchen Aid mixer speed 5) for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar and continue to mix for another 3 minutes, until the dough more or less holds together around the dough hook. It should be soft and sticky and shiny.
Using a little flour around the sides of the bowl to help loosen the dough, turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and proof in a warm place for an hour and a half.

For the ToppingSift flour and powdered sugar together, then cut the butter into the mixture and work it together into a paste with your fingers. Divide the paste and add the colorings.

Turn the main dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 14 pieces. Gather up the dough balls in your palm and roll to bottom , pinching to close it and form it into a circle. Place the balls on two large parchment-lined baking sheets,seam side down.

Divide the topping paste into 16 balls. Press each ball out into a 3-inch disc and place it on top of a ball of dough, using the palm of your hand to flatten it out a little.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, score through the topping paste in a shell pattern or in concentric circles. 

I am submitting these to Yeastspotting.  Thank you Susan for making them look so darn appealing.


mely said...

WOW! That "calaberita" your daugther made is great. She did and excellent job. So nice they teach them about "El dia de Muertos: at school.

I made a Pan de muertos some weeks ago didn't take a picture it is so darn good you can not stop eating it. I bet you conchas were the same as good.


Murasaki Shikibu said...

I knew I could count on you to post something fun like this. Your daughter's creation is excellent!

Unknown said...

I LOVE it, colrful and gorgeous

Unknown said...

Wow! Your daughter is a very very talented girl, can't wait for her blog :) x

kat said...

I've never had these & they sound so tasty!

Mimi said...

I love conchas, but have never thought to make them. Now that I have a recipe there is no excuse.
Great job by your daughter, she is quite a little artist.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Love that first photo.

I've never had conchas.

Patricia said...

Well, actually the Pan de Muerto is not that different from the "conchas". If you think about it, conchas and Pan de Muerto derive from the same kind of dough: a "bizcocho" that Mexican tahoneros knead for about an hour to get the right consistency. The only difference with Pan de Muerto is that, as it is a celebration bread, you use top notch ingredients, such as butter-instead of shortening, which is quite commonly used for everyday bread such as conchas-, and flavours like orange blossom water and anise seed infusion. So, all in all, following the traditional tahoneros method for Pan de Muerto and Rosca de Reyes is not very different from that of a common bizcocho...the difference is in the ingredients.

Susan said...

Love these. I'm using cocoa powder in my topping next time!