Manteconchas! A cross between a mantecada and a concha! It’s really just a concha baked in a cupcake pan, lol! But it’s the trend right now and I was feeling up for the challenge. I have prepared traditional size conchas quite a few times. It was one of my earliest recipes as a professional food blogger. All I know is that I have come a long way since that day. Have you tried baking pan dulce(Mexican sweet bread) at home? This was just my second attempt at preparing these and let me tell you, the first batch was not pretty, ha, ha, ha!! Just keep in mind that the home cooks version will not be exactly as the large commercial panaderia(bakery).
In my attempts to free up space on my phone, I actually accidentley deleted some of the great pictures I had of the second attempt at baking these delicious manteconchas! But, knowing me, there will be a third time soon.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4-1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ground Mexican canela cinnamon, optional
- 1 tsp. ground anise optional
- 2 large eggs
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
- Zest of 1 large orange optional
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup vegetable shortening to start
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Food coloring gel
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- In a large cup, combine the warm water, yeast and agave. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of the standmixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
- After 10 minutes, while the mixer is on low speed, add the eggs, yeast/water mix and soft butter. Continue mixing at med/low speed, scraping down the sides every two minutes, until dough forms and pulls away from the sides.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead, adding a little flour, for 2 -3 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover and let dough proof in a warm for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- While dough proofs, prepare the topping for the manteconchas. In a bowl combine the flour and powdered sugar. Gradually mix in the shortening until a paste forms. If it feels too sticky, add just a little more flour, working in really well. Work in the vanilla.
- If preparing multi colored toppings, divide equally. Each manteconcha topping should weigh about 30 grams. Use as much or as little food coloring gel until you reach the desired color you like. Place in glass bowls and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- After dough has proofed and doubled in size, transfer again onto lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough for 1 minute. Using a scale, weigh each dough ball to about 52 grams and place into a standard cupcake paper cup and then place in cupcake pan. Cover with a light kitchen towel and let proof for 1 hour.
- When it gets close to time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If preparing topping with 3 colors, you will need 10 grams of each color rolled like a short cigar. Use your hands to form or gently flatten using a plastic lined tortilla press. Don't press out too thin. It should cover the top surface of the proofed bread dough ready in the paper cups. it should not hang over the sides.
- Using a small sharp knife or concha press(mold), score the topping carefully to resemble lines on a concha(seashell). Top with sprinkles, if using. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until bread showing is light golden brown in color. Internal temperature of bread should be 190 degrees F.
As you can see, I still need a little more practice with getting the topping just right. Nowadays people use a plastic mold to give their conchas that signature look on top. I am still using a knife and find it a bit more challenging, but satisfying.
As I stated on the recipe, adding the Mexican canela(cinnamon), anise and orange zest are totally optional, but this is how I love it! The flavors remind so much of La Panaderia!
This is pretty much how the dough comes out looking from the standmixer. I let it do all the work at a low speed, scraping down the sides every so often.
This dough you can clearly see the anise seeds and cinnamon
Invest in a small digital scale for your kitchen!
I should have looked for another cupcake pan, so I prepared two exlarge manteconchas! The smaller dough ball worked better though.
Look for the food coloring gels in the cake isle of the grocery store and also at the craft stores.
If you are going to make your toppings with multiple colors, make sure you roll and shape your colors first and have them ready.
To prepare the more traditional full size conchas, follow the recipe as written. When you get ready to shape the dough balls, divide into 8-10 equal balls and follow instructions to finish the recipe. Of course you will need a larger size disc for a topping. After adding the green, white and red disc, a add a small piece of the brown topping to the middle and press gently with my fingers. I use my tortilla press many times to get a perfect circle. I believe that I scored the topping too deep on this concha. There is a chance the topping could slide while it bakes.
For the chocolate colored topping, you simply mix in unsweetened cocoa powder into the already mixed paste.