Cinnamon conchas are a Mexican pan dulce that reminds me of Chinese bolo (pineapple) bao. They are topped with a crunchy cinnamon sugar layer and baked until golden.
When I first heard about conchas, my first thought was that it looked like the Chinese bolo (pineapple) baos that I am so familiar with. I have loved bolo bao for as long as I can remember. There’s something about that sweet, crunchy topping that makes them so irresistible.
After learning that there was a Mexican version of the bolo bao, I was intrigued. I wondered if they would taste the same. I set aside some time one weekend morning to find out.
First, the dough is a sticky, sticky mess! I had read the reviews for the recipe and other bakers had warned about the stickiness. I floured my hands well and the dough still stuck to me. I did my best to shape the dough into balls without adding too much flour to them. After all, dry breakfast buns are a big no-no in my book.
Second, the crunchy topping didn’t hold its shape very well. I had trouble rolling it directly on a surface with my rolling pin. Once I set a portion of the dough in between a piece of plastic wrap, I used my rolling pin on top of the wrap and then things got better. However, the topping tended to separate once the dough began to rise.
Finally, the buns were a bit on the dry side. I did not add any flour to my sticky dough (other than what was on my hands). Without the topping, the buns would not have been worthwhile to make on their own. They definitely could have used a filling of sorts, but I’m not sure how I’d manage that with the sticky dough. Perhaps I could pipe some filling in the middle after they are baked?
Oh, these conchas turned out HUGE so if you want some smaller buns, roll your dough into about 12 portions rather than 10. If the buns are too dry for you to eat, you can always smother them with some Nutella after every bite.
I’m still glad I attempted these but was a bit disappointed in the texture.
Husband’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
- ¾ cup (170 grams) water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 and ¼ teaspoons (8 grams) salt
- 2 and ¾ cups (330 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk reserve the white for later
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 Tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup (78 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white reserved from above
Make the starter
- In a large bowl, mix all of the starter ingredients together. Cover and allow to rest for about 1 hour or until it's bubbly.
Make the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand, add the starter from above with all of the ingredients from the dough ingredients on medium low speed for a few minutes until the dough comes together. Your dough will be very, very sticky but do not add more flour.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until doubled.
Make the topping
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cinnamon and softened butter until smooth. Fold in the flour in two additions so it forms a thick paste. Cover and set aside.
Shape the dough
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (I did the latter). Set aside.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Make sure you flour your hands very well before the next step.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, about 89 grams each. Roll each into a dough the best you can and set it on your prepared baking sheets. Make sure you leave plenty of room for the dough to spread out. You'll want to have about 5 dough balls per baking sheet.
- Divide the topping into 10 equal portions. Roll out each portion in between a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper so it's flat. Cut out a circle that is large enough to cover your dough ball.
- Brush the top of each dough ball with the reserved egg white. Then top it with a flattened piece of the topping. Repeat with the other dough balls and allow them to rest for at least 30-45 minutes or until they have poofed up.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Use a sharp knife or lame to cut designs into the topping. Do not puncture the dough below.
- Place another sheet underneath your baking sheets to prevent the buns from overbrowning. Bake in your oven for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Allow the conchas to cool before serving.