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Conchata (Conchas with Nata)
Recipe and pictures by Linda Barragan for Mexico in my Pocket
4 cups or 500 grams sifted bread flour
1 1/3 tablespoons or 11 grams SAF Red Instant Yeast (Note: If using SAF yeast it is not necessary to have eggs room temp/ or milk warmed)
2/3 cups or 140 grams granulated sugar
10 tablespoons or 120 grams unsalted butter (European style and room temperature)
1 1/4 teaspoons or 3 grams kosher salt
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup or 142 milliliters evaporated milk (carnation)/or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon or 5 milliliters vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening for coating
Concha Topping Ingredients
1 1/4 cups or 160 grams confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups or 185 grams AP/Pastry Flour (golden shield)
1/2 cups + 2 teaspoons or 40 grams chocolate, vanilla, and/or strawberry powder
- 1 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon or 175 grams vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for stamping
Preparing the concha topping
Using your hands, mix flavored powder with sugar and shortening until mixture can clump together.
- Mix in flour until it is fully incorporated.
- Set aside for use later on.
Preparing the conchas
1. In a mixing bowl, first add sifted flour, then yeast, then salt, sugar, eggs, and milk.
(Notes: Make sure salt and yeast are poured separately and that they are added to opposite sides of the bowl. Yeast and salt should not have direct contact or the salt will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise. Eggs at room temperature is helpful for faster dough.)
2. Using the dough hook attachment, mix everything until the dough forms, making sure to leave no excess flour at the bottom of mixer.
3. Add butter (cut into cubes). Mix until creating a smooth-elastic texture (approximately 50 minutes)
(Note: Do not over mix the dough or the butter will start to melt and cause issues throughout the rising process. Also, kneading by hand is not necessary.)
4. Grease a glass bowl with 1 tablespoon of shortening.
5. Prepping the dough. Pull the dough out and create a ball with your hands by tucking the dough into itself.
6. Place the smooth surface of the dough side up into the glass bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
(Note: Make sure the plastic wrap is sealing the bowl to avoid drying out the surface of the dough.)
7. 1st proof––Place the bowl in a warm, draft free space for 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
8. During the 1st proof, make the concha topping and set aside.
9. Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it on to a lightly floured work surface.
10. Press the air out of the dough by folding the dough into itself and pressing down.
11. Once flattened, cut the dough into 12-13 pieces (73-75 grams). shape the pieces into balls quickly.
12. Place the balls on two separate baking sheets (lined or greased).
13. Spray the concha balls with oil.
14. Divide the concha topping into balls (big enough to cover the concha when pressed flat).
15. Assemble the topping onto the conchas by lightly dusting a rectangular piece of plastic with flour. Then press the topping flat between the plastic (like making a tortilla)
16. Lift the plastic on one side, place the topping directly on top of the concha and press down to flatten the dough to a disc shape. Then gently peel off the plastic completely.
17. Using a concha stamp, lightly flour between each use to stamp every concha.
18. 2nd proof––Once the concha balls are completely topped and stamped, allow them to double in size for 1 hour 20 minutes.
(Note: Use flour and a scraper between each stamp to prevent sticking. If you don't have a scraper, you can use a knife to cut out 13 circles with 4-5 curved lines in them on the rolled out topping.)
19. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
20. Bake conchas for 25 minutes.
21. Once you pull conchas out of the oven, allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
Preparing the conchata
Cut the concha in half and fill it with the desired amount of nata of your preference.
Top it with sliced strawberries or the fruit of your choice.
Sprinkle on top with shavings of chocolate.