Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Conchas (no. 2) {she made, ella hace}

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...heck, I will SHOUT it from the rooftops- I LOVE CONCHAS!  Did you hear me all the way over there?  I can hear the echo...ooo...ooo.  While I love the recipe I've used up until now, but something pushed me to try another.  Wanna know what gave me that "push"?  That would be teaming up with mi amiga, Leslie from La Cocina de Leslie.  We decided to cook together...as together as we can get from two separate countries...and conchas were what we decided to make first.  You can read more about our plans at the bottom of this post.  These conchas differ from my others in both the dough and the sugar topping.  Both are enriched doughs, but this one is even more so (more eggs, more butter)...and it is soft and golden and as dreamy as can be.  This topping uses powdered sugar, whereas the other uses granulated sugar.  This topping ends up a bit puffier...and it slid a bit more in the oven. I think I may try mixing the two next time 'round, because neither is "just right" (in my mind).  Not that I'm complaining.  They are fantastic...just ask the fam and friends who literally beg me to make them more often.  Let me know if you have the perfect concha recipe in your arsenal.  Until then, these will definitely do.
CONCHAS
adapted from Pati's Mexican Table
makes 12-16 conchas

    For the dough
 392 g (14 oz.) bread flour + more as needed
 2 lg. eggs
 1 lg. egg yolk
 ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
 1 (¼ oz./ 7 g) packet dry active yeast
 ½ c. lukewarm water
 102 g (4 oz. / 8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temeprature
 140 g (5 oz.) superfine sugar

    For the sugar topping
⅓ lb.  (~149 g / ~5.3 oz.) all purpose flour
⅓ lb. (~149 g / ~5.3 oz.) confectioners' sugar
140 g (5 oz. / 10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
optional for colored sugar:  cocoa powder, food coloring (natural source or bottled)

    Extra butter or vegetable shortening to assemble the conchas
~~
    dough: Add flour, eggs, egg yolk, and salt to a mixer, set with the dough hook. Start the mixer at low speed.  Meanwhile, add yeast to water and stir until creamy and well dissolved.  Pour into the flour mixture and let mixer continue to work, now over medium speed, for ~3-4 minutes.

    Add the butter, and continue to beat for another 3-4 minutes.  Lastly add the sugar, continue mixing for another 3 - 4 minutes or until the dough is gooey, sticky, elastic and very smooth.

    Turn dough out of mixer, form into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic or a kitchen towel and let rise at a warm room temperature until doubled in size, ~3-4 hours.
sugar topping: Place flour and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl.  Using your hands, incorporate the diced butter into the flour mixture.  Mix and knead it until its smooth and well combined.

You can leave the sugar topping white or color it.  I divided into four equal parts.  I left one white.  I worked ~1 tsp. cocoa powder into a quarter of the dough...1 drop red food coloring into a quarter of the dough (for pink)...and 1 drop yellow food coloring into a quarter of the dough.  Cover the sugar topping with plastic wrap so it won't dry out.
assembling the conchas: Grease heavy baking sheets with butter or vegetable shortening (or use parchment or a silpat). Rub a bit of butter onto your hands to make for easy rolling. Divide dough into 12 or 16 equal pieces and form into balls. Then, slightly press them flat, as in a thick disk. Leave ~2" in between each of the conchas so they will have room to expand.

    Divide your sugar topping into 12 or 16 equal pieces (same number as dough balls).  Form each into a ball and flatten into a thin disk.  Place a disk on top of each dough ball and lightly press down.  The sugar should cover basically the whole surface...it will pull away from the edges as the dough rises.

    If you have a concha mold, press it on the sugar topping.  If you don't have one, cut through the sugar topping with a knife, making shell-type lines.
Leave the prepared conchas in a warm area of your kitchen, uncovered, and let them rise again, for ~2 hours (until they've almost doubled in size).  Preheat the oven to 350° F during last 15-20 minutes of rise time.
Slide the conchas into the oven and bake for ~20 minutes, or until the conchas are just golden around the edges and have fluffed up.  Be careful that your oven is not hotter than it should be, or they outsides will get very dark and the sugar topping will discolor.  

Carefully remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.  I love to each them while they are still just warm.
I think I'm going to make it my next personal quest to find the ultimate Concha recipe.  While I pretty much love any concha, I want to recreate the fantastic ones that I buy from the PanaderĂ­a at home.  Both I've tried so far have come close, but neither are quite "there".
I searched far and wide and was incredibly proud of myself when I finally found and ordered my concha presses.  Seriously, I had the hardest time locating any.  I still want to find a press so I can make long, wavy-type lines, but a knife will have to do for now.
What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
She Made, Ella Hace Banner- girlichef.com and lacocinadeleslie.com

✽✽Check out Leslie's conchas over at La Cocina de Leslie✽✽

I am sharing this post with:
*Yeastspotting!
Katherine Martinelli Friday Blog Hop: Mexican 
BYOB-badge tnsc Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green TastyTuesdayBB a little birdie told me rook no. 17