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Vegan conchas, tender enriched yeast rolls topped with a crunchy cookie topping, and one of the most iconic varieties of pan dulce. Concha translates into seashell, which is exactly what this sweet bread resembles. Let me tell you, trying to make an amazing vegan concha recipe had me almost pulling my hair out!
The problem was substituting the eggs. First I tried just omitting the eggs, which worked, but resulted in a dry concha. Then I tried almost every egg substitute so could think of aquafaba, flax, chia, you name it, I tried it. None of them worked like I wanted them too.
My kids absolutely loved this whole process. Eating one concha after another, giving me their honest opinion with sugar crumbs all over their tiny hands.
I almost gave up. “ I guess you can’t have everything in life,” I thought to myself. Until I tried something completely unexpected, sweet potato. Sweet potato provided just the right amount of binding and moisture my concha needed!!!
After this I had a little trial and error with the topping, testing out versions made with powdered sugar and shortening, and others made with granulated sugar and vegan butter. Until the most authentic Mexican vegan concha you’ve ever had came to fruition.
I had a friend on Instagram tell me that her grandma had said, that the only thing keeping her from going vegan was there thought of never having a good concha again. So hopefully this is the concha recipe that is going to convince all our abuelitas to go vegan!
The Recipe: Vegan Conchas
- You can still make this even if you don’t have a standing mixer with a hook, you’re just going to get a good arm workout.
- Bread flour is the best flour for this recipe. If you use another type of flour the amount of liquid you need will change.
- You can use a knife to make the concha design if you don’t have a concha cutter .
- You can make the topping any color you like by adding 3-5 drops of food coloring.
- You can use the plant-milk of your choice as long as it’s unsweetened, but I found that soy milk works best.
The Best Vegan Concha Recipe
- 2 tsp. (7 g.) Active Dry yeast
- ½ + 1/8 cup (130 ml) Soy milk, room temp
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp. (298 g.) Bread flour
- ½ cup (78 g.) Sugar, granulated
- ½ tsp. (2.8 g.) Salt
- 1/3 cup (85 g.) Cooked, mashed, sweet potato
- ½ cup (113 g.) Vegan butter (earth balance), cut into cubes, softened
- 1/3 cup Sugar granulated
- 1/3 cup Vegan butter, earth balance, softened
- ½ cup All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon (optional)
In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the soy milk. Let sit 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a mixer, with the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix.
- Add the mashed sweet potato to the yeast-milk mixture, and whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough begins to incorporate, about 3 minutes.
- Add the softened butter little by little and increase speed to medium. Mix for 15 min. until the dough has come off the sides of the bowl and is smooth and stretchy, but not sticky. (If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour.)
- Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and fold the side over unto each other and flip. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day take the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place (70-75F) until the dough comes to room temperature, about an hour.
- Divide the dough into 10 pieces weighing about 2.5 oz (70 g.), and set aside, roll them tightly into rounds and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Press down on the rounds to form a dome shape.
- Make topping: Cream butter and sugar with a whisk or hand mixer. Add vanilla, flour, and cinnamon and mix well. Knead lightly to fully incorporate. It should have the consistency of a soft play-dough. If it’s too sticky or wet add flour in small amounts until you’ve reached the right consistency.
Divide topping into 10 balls the size of a large gum-ball. Take two sheet of plastic wrap, and one at a time place a ball of the topping between the two plastic sheets and press down with hand until it is large enough to cover the top of concha.
Peel one side of the plastic wrap off, then take the piece of plastic wrap with the topping on it and place it down on the concha. Slowly peel of the plastic wrap. Repeat this process until all 10 conchas are done.
Using a concha cutter, dusted with flour, press down on the topping and the concha to make the design. (Don’t be afraid to press down hard and flatten the concha a little.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Let conchas rise for 40 min. in a warm place (70- 75F) or until doubled in size.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 -25 min. or until the sides and bottoms of your conchas are golden brown.
Let bread cool completely before eating.
You can use a knife to make the concha design if you don’t have a concha cutter . Bread flour is the best flour for this recipe, if you use any other kind of flour you will have to modify the amount of soymilk. You can make the topping any color you like by adding 3-5 drops of food coloring. You can use the plant-milk of your choice as long as it’s unsweetened, but I found that soy milk works best. Recipe adapted from Fanny Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico