Walking down the streets of Mexico City, the aroma of freshly baked pan dulce with smelled the streets. It is one of those memorable smells. You know, one of those smells that just takes you back to a certain time and place.
I still miss Mexico, and I plan on traveling and visiting often. When I am missing the flavors and smells of Mexico, I love recreating my favorite foods that reminds me of my time spent in Mexico.
Typically at restaurants serving breakfast, a basket full of freshly made pan dulce will arrive at your table before you actually order. This is when I learned where my husband Hector got his love for all things bread. There are many different varieties and types of pan dulce. Unfortunately, the majority aren’t vegan. The sweet breads typically have eggs and dairy milk; some traditional recipes also call for lard-which definitely isn’t vegan.
Today I am sharing one of Hector’s favorite type of Pan Dulce: Conchas. Conchas get their name from the shape of the sugar topping, which resembles the shape of a shell.
Like with any yeast bread, they recipe is a little time consuming. Most of the time is inactive; just waiting for the bread to rise. After the first rise, the bread is divided into 12 equal size portions and formed into rounds shapes. Then a second rising of about 30 minutes is needed. After this step, the sugar topping is placed on top.
When I have made Conchas in the past, I have had issues with the sugar topping. On one recipe trail the topping came right off while baking. After a few versions, this is the best version that I have made. I have found that using vegan butter like Earth Balance just doesn’t work in this sugar topping. I am not sure why it doesn’t, but the sugar topping is just off when using vegan butter. The best version of the topping came when I used vegetable shortening instead. Vegetable shortening really helps to create that perfect crumbly, sugar coating.
You are looking for a crumbling sugar topping after the Conchas have baked. The sugar topping crumbles right into your mouth. So, so good!!
Enjoy these Conchas anytime of day, but they are perfect for breakfast. Serve with a cup of coffee. You just might find yourself dipping your Concha into the coffee.
If you have never had Mexican Pan Dulce before, I highly recommend trying this recipe for Vegan Conchas. If you are a fan of sweet breads, you are going to love this recipe! Be sure to tag your photo at #thymeandlove on Instagram so we can see!
For the sugar topping: