Eggless Conchas - Sweet Mexican Rolls

Conchas are Mexican sweet rolls which resemble sea shells. These are the most famous of all the pan dulce (sweet breads) available in Mexico. A very soft roll topped with a sugary buttery crust which melts in the mouth when you take a bite..Do you get the picture? After seeing these beautiful rolls at wild yeast blog, I selected this for this month's Baking Eggless Challenge. Conchas are meant to be colourful. And the crispy topping has so many beautiful lines which reminds you of sea shells. This month there was so much of travelling and I couldn't attempt these rolls until yesterday. And the dough had to be prepared a day before. 

I am so used to curd as the egg substitute in breads and I never even think before using it. And I haven't tried any other substitute either. These conchas had nearly 250gm of eggs which would make it ultra soft. And I used my favourite substitute in place. And I didn't go for colourful conchas. I divided the topping into two and used cocoa powder for a batch and candied orange peel crumbs for the other. When the conchas were baking in the oven, my house was filled with the flavour of orange and chocolate. We couldn't wait for the rolls to cool down or the photo shoot. So as soon they came out of oven we tried the orange one. Trust me, they were so crispy on the top while the roll beneath was extremely soft. Both together made my hubby ask for more. My daughter loved the chocolate one and she was so happy that after so many days I made a chocolate based sweet. Do try it at home for a great experience.. Linking this to Yeastspotting

Recipe Source: Wild Yeast
Makes 16 Conchas
For The Sponge:
Flour-3/4 cup +1 tbs
Instant Yeast-1 tsp
Warm Milk-1/4 cup+3-4 tbs

For The Dough:
Flour-3 cups
Sugar-1 cup-2 tbs
Salt-1/2 tsp
Butter-1/4 cup
Curd-1 cup
Baking Soda-1/4 tsp
Instant Yeast-2 tsp
All of Sponge

For The Topping:
Flour-3/4 cup
Powdered Sugar-2/3 cup
Butter-1/2 cup
Cocoa Powder-1 1/2 tbs
Powdered Candied Orange Peel-2 tbs

For The Sponge:
1. Mix together flour, yeast and 1/4th cup of warm milk. 
2. Add remaining milk by tbs until you get a soft dough.
3. Cover and set aside for 2 hours to double.

For The Dough:
1. In a bowl mix together flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, salt, yeast, butter and the doubled sponge.
2. Mix curd and baking soda separately in another bowl and wait until it bubbles.
3. Add it to the flour and knead.
4. Once all the flour comes together take it to the counter and start kneading. 
5. At the begining as we have added granulated sugar the dough will be soft but non sticky.
6. But after you begin kneading, the sugar will start melting and the dough will start being sticky. Do not add flour.
7. Keep on kneading for 5 minutes.
8. Now add the remaining sugar and knead it again for 5 minutes.
9. At the end you will have a soft, sticky and shiny dough.
10. Use a bench scraper to take the dough off the counter.
11. Place it in a buttered bowl and cover with wrap.
12. let it rest for 30 minutes.
13. Now refrigerate the dough for 8-16 hours or overnight.

For The Topping:
1. The next day, first make the topping before you remove the dough from the fridge.
2. Mix together all the ingredients to form a soft dough.
3. Divide into two.
4. Grind three to four pieces of candied orange peel to powder.
5. Add it to one holf of the dough and mix.
6. To the other part, add cocoa powder. IF it is too crumbly, add some more butter to make the dough.
7. Divide each portion into 8 equal parts.

Assembling and baking Conchas:
1. Butter two or three trays.
2. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 16 equal portions.
3. Shape each into a roll by rotating it inside cupped palm.
4. Arrange all the rolls on the prepared trays.
5. Take each portion of the topping and shape it into a 3" disc.
6. Place it on top of the prepared rolls.
7. With a knife, score designs on the topping.
8. Cover and set aside for 3 hours.
9. Preheat oven to 180C.
10. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until the roll starts browning.
11. Remove from oven, cool and serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

Mix the ingredients for sponge.

Allow it to double.

Mix all the ingredients for the dough except curd and baking soda.

Add the egg substitute mixture.

Knead to form a soft dough.

Knead it for 5 minutes and add the reserved sugar.

Add again for 5 minutes until sticky and shiny.

Cover and set aside for 30 minutes and then refrigerate.

Mix together topping ingredients. 

Knead to form a dough.

Grind the candied peel to a coarse powder.

Add it to one half of the topping and knead.

Add cocoa to the other batch.

Keep both ready.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions.

Roll each into a ball.

Divide topping into 8 equal portions.

Press it to form a disc.

Cover the top of the ball with the disc.

With a knife score designs on the topping.

Cover and set asdie for 3 hours before baking.

Enjoy when warm..

A close look at the shell..

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