Mexican Sweet Bread

Yield: 16 pieces

Cook Time: 2 hour prep and bake
4 hours total proof time


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As a Cantonese Mexican American, I love both Chinese and Mexican desserts. This is a recipe for Mexican conchas—a sweet bun that resembles the bite of soft, buttery milk breads popular throughout Asia. You could also flavor them with matcha, taro, or black sesame.




132 ml whole milk (warm)
8 g active dry yeast
112 g unsalted butter (melted)
2 eggs (room temp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
166 g bread flour
132 g all purpose flour
130 g granulated sugar*
4 g salt

*measure out 15 g and separate



40 g Abuelita brand chocolate (1 tablet finely crushed)
60 g shortening
50 g unsalted butter (softened)
100 g confectioner’s sugar
120 g all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon (preferably verum)



– Instead of whole milk, I’ve used half-and-half and it came out pretty much the same. Haven’t tried non-dairy options, but give it a try!

– You can use regular cinnamon if you can’t find cinnamon verum. Cinnamon verum has a slightly sweeter aroma and taste.

– You can make the topping any flavor you like (matcha, taro, black sesame). If you don’t have Abuelita chocolate tablets to crush, you can use cocoa powder instead.



1. Warm milk in the microwave or on stovetop until warm (not burning hot) to activate yeast.

2. Whisk in yeast and 15 grams of the 130 grams of sugar. Let the mixture rest for about 12-15 minutes so it can bloom.

3. While the yeast mixture blooms, melt unsalted butter. Once cooled, lightly beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Set that aside.

4. In a large bowl, (for a stand mixer, if you have one) add the bread flour, all purpose flour, salt and remaining sugar. Lightly mix until incorporated.

5. Once the yeast mixture has bloomed (should look bubbly and doubled in size) you can proceed to add in the melted butter mixture into the bowl.

6. Using your hands, (or the dough hook attachment, if you have one) lightly mix the butter mixture into the dry ingredients until incorporated.

7. Next, add in the yeast mixture and knead the dough for about 15 to 20 minutes. Your dough should feel stretchy and somewhat resistant. It shouldn’t be overly wet or stick to the sides of the bowl or dough hook.

8. When the dough feels ready, shape into a ball, and place in a new greased bowl, large enough to fit the dough doubled in size after it proofs for 2 hours.

9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm area. I like to place it in my (off) oven on the upper rack, with a shallow baking tray filled with boiling water on the lowest rack. The steam will ensure a warm environment for the dough to double in size.


1. While the dough rests, in a large bowl, add the chocolate powder, shortening, unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and mix until it can be shaped into a ball. It should be pliable and resemble the texture of clay.

2. Form 16 balls that weigh about 23 grams each and set aside. (You’ll have extra topping. Cover with plastic wrap and it can keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.)


1. Once the dough has doubled in size, you should be able to poke the dough in the middle without it rising back up. This means your dough is rested and ready for shaping. Punch the air out and lightly knead for a few seconds.

2. Shape it back into a ball and cut it into 16 equal pieces (60 grams each.) Then, shape the pieces into uniform balls. Use the counter surface/cutting board as a tool to seal the bottom of the ball. Use the palm of your hand, lightly press down and shape the ball by rotating your hand. The top should look round and tight without any creases, as should the bottom of the ball.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place 8 balls on each (about 2-3 inches apart.) Use your hands to grease the top of each ball with shortening. This step is necessary—so the chocolate topping can adhere to the dough while baking.

4. Flatten each Abuelita topping ball into disks, using the flat side of a square baking tray/small cutting board. You can use a piece of parchment paper folded in half/plastic wrap to help release the disk once flattened.

5. Place the disk of topping on top of each ball and make sure it wraps the dough covering the sides, as well. Cup your hands to secure the topping and press each ball of dough down (the dough should slightly bounce back, but be slightly flatter.)

6. Use a concha cutter to press the pattern onto each piece of dough. Or, if you don’t have a cutter, you can use a paring knife to score the topping into the seashell/concha design.

7. Lightly cover the trays with plastic wrap and allow the shaped conchas to rest for about 2 hours (you’ll know they’re done proofing when you can slightly poke them and they are soft, almost jiggly, and the chocolate topping has stretched out.)

8. Bake the conchas in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes, then turn the pan and bake for another 8 minutes. 

9. Let cool a couple minutes before serving.

*Store in an airtight container.

Recipe by Guadalupe Lucero

“Growing up in Queens as a Cantonese Mexican American, I’ve dreamed of sharing my identity through Cantonese and Mexican desserts since I was young. CONCHA.BAO Bakery is a medium I use to explore my multicultural heritage. The name comes from my love of eating both conchas and baos. Pan dulce (sweet breads) became my connection to Mexican foodways, while baos (buns) brought me close to my Cantonese roots. Concha and bao serve as tools to understand both cultures in reciprocity.

As a child, I traveled to Mexico most summers to visit my family in Chimalhuacán. After breakfast, we’d all dig into the highlighter pink plastic bag filled with an assortment of pan dulce. My favorite part was to dunk a piece of bread into Abuelita hot chocolate. It’s super hard for me to pick which sweet bread is my favorite, but conchas will always be on the top of the list. My abuela (grandmother) loved the vanilla concha, paired with tea or atole (sweet corn drink). They’re the perfect bread for dunking into hot chocolate or coffee. The sugar topping is a great way to highlight different flavors—matcha, taro and black sesame are in the works.

GUADALUPE (LUPE) LUCERO is a NYC native and the Baker & Founder of CONCHA.BAO Bakery. Upon graduating from New York University with a B.A. in Food Studies, she worked in the food industry for several years before realizing she wanted the freedom to craft food and beverage with marginalized folks in mind. After seeing other BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ businesses thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lupe was inspired to start her own business. She tries to experiment with non-traditional flavor combinations, or make recipes that are unrepresented in the elitist, white-washed realm of desserts and pastry. Lupe hopes to inspire food lovers across all identities to try something new and delicious. 

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