This post is brought to you by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions and expressions are our own.
Oh, how times have changed. While baking these rainbow-colored Mexican sweet breads called “conchas,” memories flooded in from Pride Months of the past. But before I go down that road, let me tell you more about the Pride Conchas.
Made with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Unbleached White Flour, the popular Mexican pan dulce, “CONCHAS,” are soft and lightly sweetened bread. Most people recognize conchas right away because of their dome shapes resembling a seashell. That’s where the name comes from. The word concha means shell in Spanish. In a panaderia (bakery) or Mexican grocery store, you will find bright colors on top of the bread from dyed sugar paste, including shades of bright pink, deep chocolate, or vanilla.
We enjoy baking with Bob’s Red Mill. Honestly, it is quality you can trust. Whether you want Whole Wheat Flour, Gluten Free, Almond Flour, Chickpea Flour, or even Nutritional Yeast products, Bob’s Red Mill has it all and are easy to find in the grocery store.
What you’ll learn from our recipe below is how to make the sweet bread. You’ll want to carve out about four hours to prepare and bake the bread.
Now, onto our story:
Stephen and I met in April of 2010. In June of that year, we attended our first Gay Pride Festival in Long Beach, Calif. Music thumping in the background, we found ourselves dancing and imbibing and getting to know each other more. We discovered we both had a passion for cooking and baking. Stephen also realized that I really don’t like to dance but made every effort not to show it.
Since then, we tied the knot and live in a beautiful home with two dogs. Life was good. We started this food blog and would spend our weekends baking, cooking or exploring restaurants.
But in 2020 when COVID-19 struck and everyone was placed on lock down, the time alone made us think about what we really wanted in life.
We realized what we wanted was a family. Both of us had a strong yearning to be a dad. To be proud, openly gay parents who can love and nurture a child, helping them grow up to fulfill their own personal dreams (of course we will be pushing them to become bakers!).
After researching our options between adoption, surrogacy, and foster care, we knew where the greatest need was for children. We became foster dads!
According to the most recent federal data, there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. The need is so great. We are currently taking care of two munchkins who have turned our lives completely upside down. And, you know what? We are happy.
Now when we bake or cook a homemade meal, we are doing it with the children in mind. It’s a whole other side of Pride and we’re proud to partner with Bob’s Red Mill because they are committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion.
We hope you enjoy our homemade PRIDE CONCHAS as much as our little ones did.
- 18 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces sugar
- 3.5 ounces whole milk
- 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, diced, softened
- 5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, diced, softened
- 2 ounces powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt and cinnamon and reserve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, sugar and yeast. Let stand 5-15 minutes, until the yeast blooms. It should look foamy.
- With the paddle attachment on medium speed, mix in the
vanilla and eggs one at a time until fully combined.
- Add the butter and mix on medium until fully combined.
- Working in batches, add the reserved flour mixture a cup at a time and mix on low until all the flour is in the bowl. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and mix on medium speed until combined.
- Stop the mixer, replace the paddle attachment (scraping off as much of the dough as possible) with the dough hook. Knead the dough by mixing on medium speed for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be a little tacky to the touch but should not be too sticky.
- Lightly oil the large bowl you used for the flour. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, quickly shaping into a ball. Cover with cling wrap and let proof in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the stand mixing bowl and make the sugar paste. Add the flour, butter, powdered sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix with the paddle attachment until the paste comes together.
- Since we are making a Pride Flag, we need 6 different colors so divide the paste into 6 balls. Dye each piece a color of the Pride Flag: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. Depending on how vibrant you want them to be, you will need 4-10 drops of each color.
- Once each of the 6 pieces of colored sugar paste are colored, divide each color into 12 equal sized pieces. Roll these little pieces into 1-2-inch-long ropes. (If it is too warm in your kitchen, simply chill the sugar paste in your refrigerator for about 5 minutes)
- Place a small square of parchment paper on a tortilla press.
Line up one of each of the colored ropes in the center of the parchment, in this order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. Cover them with another small square of parchment paper and flatten. (You can also use a rolling pin.) You should have a circle of rainbow paste. Then stack the squares of parchment on a plate and refrigerate until needed.
- When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch the dough down. Divide the dough into equal sized balls. (the approximate weight if each ball of dough is 3 oz.)
- Let the flattened sugar paste come to room temperature.
Press the sugar paste over the balls of dough. Cover as much of the concha as possible, making sure to press the sugar paste so that it sticks to the dough. You will "squash" the dough a little and that is okay.
- Use a paring knife and score your design or use a concha
cutter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake the conchas 18-20 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool before serving.
Short on time? Or maybe you can’t wait around for the dough to rise? Sometimes making the dough ahead can be super helpful. Make the dough and place it in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Then simply refrigerate it overnight. The next day, let the dough proof when you are ready for it. You know your kitchen best, but plan for about 2 hours of proofing.
Make the sugar paste as the dough is proofing. You are dividing the sugar paste into 72 little pieces to make 12 Pride Conchas. They can be made ahead and kept refrigerated.
A word on food dye: you need color to make these Pride Conchas. However, you can use natural food dyes with fairly good results. Natural food dye powder can work too, but you may need to use more to get a deeper color. They are usually made from dehydrated fruits/veggies and spices and may impart flavor to the sugar paste.