Pan Dulce – Conchas (A Mexican Sweet Bread)
Recipe adapted from King Arthur's Flour by Aparna @ My Diverse Kitchen
Ingredients:

Starter:

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp warm milk

2 tsp instant yeast

1 cup all-purpose flour


Dough:

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp butter

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract


Topping:

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup soft unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or food colour of choice)



Method:


Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together and let them rest for about an hour, until the mixture is bubbly.
Add the dough ingredients to the bubbly mixture. Mix well and mix and knead everything till the dough is elastic but a bit sticky. It is important that the dough is sticky. If you add too much flour, your “conchas” will not be soft.
Allow the dough to double in size (about an hour). This might take a bit longer, so give it the time it needs.

In the meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the topping together to form a cookie-like dough. Keep aside. Refrigerating it for about half an hour will make it easier to shape it when required.

Once the dough has doubled, transfer it to a lightly greased or floured work surface. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Also divide the topping dough into 10 equal portions.
Using your palm and fingers, flatten the topping dough into a thin circle/ disc about 3” in diameter. It should be big enough to cover the top of the roll and a bit of the sides too.

Place the balls of dough onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving space between them. Place a circle of topping dough onto each roll, ensuring the roll is covered well on top and a bit on the sides. Flatten each roll slightly

Allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes, covered. Just before baking, use a pan dulce cutter to press a “concha” pattern into the topping. Press down firmly, through the topping and into the dough. Alternately, use a sharp knife and cut the pattern (shell-like, criss-cross or whatever you choose) through the topping right to the dough.

Bake the rolls at 200C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Serve the rolls warm, with jam.
This recipe makes 10 rolls. If you want slightly smaller rolls, you may divide the dough and topping into 12 portions instead of 10.