Baking Classics: Buttermilk Conchas

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Baking Classics

The Technique

Buttermilk Conchas

Buttermilk Conchas are a traditional Mexican yeast-risen sweet bread that may be found in bakeries across the region. The classic shell design may be carved into the dough using a paring knife, however a concha stamp is available as well. Although the most basic representation is featured, conchas, which in Spanish translates to shell, may be found in an array of colors & flavors including rich pinks, sunny yellows & dark browns which typically indicates the latter is chocolate. Vanilla & spices such as anise & canela are popular too. Conchas are often eaten for breakfast & served with hot cocoa but they may be indulged in for a mid-morning snack or other times throughout the day. Learn how to make this iconic pan dulce in your very own kitchen. 

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Buttermilk Conchas

makes 1 dozen

2 Tbsp warm water
1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Cinnamon Streusel
1 Tbsp melted butter

Stir together the water & the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Whisk together the flour, the sugar, the cinnamon & the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg, the butter, the buttermilk & the vanilla bean paste. Mix on Low speed & pour in the yeast mixture. Blend 1 minute with a dough hook. Increase the speed to Medium & mix 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball. Turn the dough over. Place in a lightly greased bowl. Spray the dough surface with cooking spray & cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, prepare the Cinnamon Streusel as directed. Remove the dough from the bowl & press a good bit of the air from it. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces weigh approximately 2 1/2-ounces each. Form them into balls & flatten slightly. Place them on parchment paper-lined half sheet pans. Cut a square from a heavy duty zip top freezer bag leaving one side folded & attached. Position the tortilla press on a sturdy surface, open the top & place the plastic over the base. Lift the plastic & place one piece of portioned streusel, then cover again. Press the maker closed to form a circle. Carefully peel away the top piece of plastic & invert the streusel into your hand. Brush with a bit of melted butter, then brush melted butter over one of the pieces of dough. Invert the streusel buttered side down over the dough. Using the tip of a sharp knife, create a shell pattern in the streusel. Repeat with the remaining streusel & the dough. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap. Bake the pans, in batches, 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. 

Buttermilk-Conchas-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-Pastry-Chef-RebeccaGordon-Cooking-Class-Birmingham-Alabama

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Cinnamon Streusel

makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly, then form the mixture into a disc. Divide the streusel into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls & cover with plastic wrap.

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How To Make Buttermilk Conchas

Buttermilk Conchas have distinctive characteristics including a crisp & crunchy topping over pillowy-soft yeast bread. It’s one of the most popular Mexican pan dulce specialties available. Do not allow the dough to rise too long during the second portion of the procedure as the design over the surface will not read well once oven spring takes place. Buttermilk Conchas may be stored in the freezer up to one month. Thaw in the microwave & enjoy with coffee.

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A few pieces of equipment will be necessary in order to complete the task. Read through the recipe before beginning. Here’s what you should know.
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No. 1

 Stir together the water & the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Whisk together the flour, the sugar, the cinnamon & the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg, the butter, the buttermilk & the vanilla bean paste. Mix on Low speed & pour in the yeast mixture. Blend 1 minute with a dough hook.

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1a 

Increase the speed to Medium & mix 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft. 

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1b

Transfer the dough to a well floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball. 

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1c

Turn the dough over.  

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No. 2

Place in a lightly greased bowl. Spray the dough surface with cooking spray & cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 

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2a 

Let rise in a draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.  

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No. 3

 Meanwhile, prepare the Cinnamon Streusel as directed. Remove the dough from the bowl & press a good bit of the air from it. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces weigh approximately 2 1/2-ounces each. Form them into balls & flatten slightly. Place them on parchment paper-lined half sheet pans. 

Buttermilk-Conchas-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-Pastry-Chef-RebeccaGordon-Cooking-Class-Birmingham-Alabama

3a 

Cut a square from a heavy duty zip top freezer bag leaving one side folded & attached. Position the tortilla press on a sturdy surface, open the top & place the plastic over the base. Lift the plastic & place one piece of portioned streusel, then cover again. Press the maker closed to form a circle. Carefully peel away the top piece of plastic & invert the streusel into your hand. Brush with a bit of melted butter, then brush melted butter over one of the pieces of dough. Invert the streusel buttered side down over the dough. 

Buttermilk-Conchas-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-Pastry-Chef-RebeccaGordon-Cooking-Class-Birmingham-Alabama

3b

Using the tip of a sharp knife, create a shell pattern in the streusel. Repeat with the remaining streusel & the dough. Cover with plastic wrap.

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3c

Allow to rise 30 minutes.

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No. 4

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap. Bake the pans, in batches, 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.  

The Tune
“On The Sunny Side Of The Street” Billie Holiday 
httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr73nqSBHTo

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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