Mexico has an array of sweet breads (Pan Dulce) but this one really stood out to me because of it's gorgeous streusal topping.
Bloom Yeast - As with any bread recipe, if using Dry Active Yeast, you will need to bloom it in the warm liquid from the recipe for about 10 to 15 minutes, before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. Add yeast to the luke warm evaporated milk and set aside.
Next add Plain flour or Bread Flour and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then add salt and yeast (with milk if bloomed beforehand) at opposite ends. Mix to combine.
Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract and slowly add the milk (if you haven't already added it with the yeast), in bit by bit, mixing in between.
Add the butter slowly and beat on medium/high for 10 minutes.
Place the dough on a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth/cling film and rest in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Once the dough is ready, divide into 18 pieces. To shape the balls, lightly flour your hands and place over a ball of dough, then rotate your hands over the top to form a ball. Continue with remaining dough.
Place onto a lined tray and brush dough with melted butter or a little oil. This is an optional step but helps the streusel to remain in place.
To prepare the streusel topping, add sugar to the butter in a bowl and beat together using a spoon/whisk. Now add in the flour little by little and cinnamon too if using. Set aside for later.
If making the Conchas in different colours, divide the dough in seperate bowls accordingly and add the cocoa powder to one mixture, leave 1 plain and add red food colouring to the final bowl, mixing each mixture well until combined.
To add the topping, flour your hands and divide the topping paste into 18 balls. Shape with your hands into a round disk and place on top of a ball of dough. Continue with remaining mixture. Use a knife to decorate as you wish or into the design of a traditional concha shape (seashell).
Now leave to rise in a warm place until they are almost double in size. Around 1.5 hours.
Bake in a preheated oven at 165°C/Gas Mark 3 for 20 minutes, rotating midway.
You can freeze the cooked bread for up to 3 months. Just wrap them well!
You can also freeze the concha dough to use it later. Simply store in a freezer bag and when ready to use, defrost over night in the fridge. Then shape and continue as per the recipe.
To freeze the shaped conches with the topping, place them covered on a tray and put them in my freezer, then wait until they’re frozen and put them in a freezer bag. To bake, defrost until they rise and then bake as per the recipe.