Mexican Conchas Recipe with Scalded Dough

Mexican Conchas

The concha is a Mexican sweet bun served (and dipped into) milk or hot chocolate. The special bit is the sweet crunchy topping (equal amounts of flour, butter and sugar) which you apply before baking. It becomes crunchy and treacly and makes for a special bun. 

I have used the scalding method for these buns, similar to tangzhong so that you can additional softness and the buns will keep until at least the next day. You can miss this part out and just add the 100g flour and 70g of water to the rest of the recipe. 

When I was testing this recipe I took an idea from Jane Mason’s Book of Buns where she makes similar buns (with a coffee flavoured topping) and adds a cube of butter in the middle of each roll which then melts while baking making for a lovely texture inside the bun – much like a butter bun. I recommend this if you aren’t watching your calories (although if you are watching your calories then these buns are probably not for you). 

You can mix the topping up – add cocoa powder for a chocolatey bun, food colouring for a variety of colours or instant coffee powder dissolved in a little water for a coffee hit. You can also grind up freeze dried strawberries for a light pink hue. 

The recipe makes 12 buns so feel free to halve the recipe. You can use plain or strong bread flour, whichever you have the in the cupboard. The plain flour will make a tighter crumb. You can also use half plain and half strong flour.  You can use oat milk to replace the milk but reduce the sugar by 20g to compensate for the sweeter taste of oat milk. You can replace the butter with vegetable shortening or plant based butter. 


For scalded dough

100g white flour (you can use plain/ all purpose or strong bread flour)
70g boiling water

For rest of the dough

400g white flour (you can use plain/all purpose or strong bread flour)
5g easy bake/ instant yeast or 15g fresh yeast (if using fresh yeast dissolve in a little bit of water before adding to the dough)
80g sugar (you can use whichever sugar you have to hand, brown sugar will colour the dough a little)
175g milk, warmed to just below simmering point and then cooled to tepid
10g fine sea salt
1 egg
60g soft unsalted butter

(optional 60g unsalted butter cut into twelve pieces, you can place a piece of butter into each roll as you shape if you like, this makes for a lovely buttery taste)

For topping:

125g softened unsalted butter or vegetable shortening
125g plain or strong white flour
125g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
You can add 20g cocoa powder to make chocolate flavoured topping or split the topping into batches once mixed and add different food colouring to each batch to make colourful buns. 


To make the scalded dough (which makes the texture of these buns softer and last longer before staling) place the100g flour in a bowl and pour over 70g boiling water. Mix well so that there are no dry bits of flour left. Allow to cool. 

Once the scalded flour is cool add the 400g flour, yeast, sugar and salt to the bowl. Add the egg, milk and softened butter and get your hands in to mix the dough really well. You can also mix this dough in a stand mixer. 

When the dough is well mixed leave it to rest for at least 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes) and then do a round of stretch and fold and repeat the rest and stretch and folds another two times. Allow the dough to rise. It can take a while for this dough to rise because of the high fat content with the milk and butter. 

Whilst the dough is rising make the topping. Add the flour, soft butter and icing sugar to a bowl and mix well together. I like to use my hands to mix this topping as the warmth of my hands helps to combine everything together quickly and smoothly. You can use this topping as it is or add 20g cocoa powder or add a few drops of food colouring. Cover the bowl with a plate to stop the topping from drying out and leave to rest whilst the dough rises.

Once the dough is light and airy turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into twelve equal pieces. If you want to add the optional additional butter you can flatten out each piece of dough, place a chunk of butter on top and wrap the dough around the butter to make a tight ball of dough. 

Cut the topping into twelve equal pieces and flatten each piece into a circle that is large enough to cover the roll. You can use your hands or a rolling pin to do this. Place a circle on top of each roll. Using a round cutter or a knife cut a pattern that looks like a conch shell on top. Place the rolls onto a greased or floured tray and allow to rise. 

Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 390F. When the rolls are light and airy whn pressed lightly on the base place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy. 

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2 thoughts on “Mexican Conchas Recipe with Scalded Dough”

  1. Margaret Lawson

    I tried the stretching method to make a half/half loaf using spelt and white bread flour. Flavour is exceptional and loaf was moist and texture really nice, and the loaf kept better too thanks for the tip . Got arthritis now , so this is easy on the wrists regards Margaret

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