Conchas de Maíz

With their masa harina sugar cookie frosting, these sweet rolls from the founder and lead baker at Gusto Bread, Arturo Enciso, are a fun twist on the classic conchas of Mexico. The hint of maíz (corn) in the crunchy topping pairs beautifully with the soft, buttery roll below, yielding a sweet treat that’s pure comfort food. To complete the experience, Arturo recommends serving the fresh conchas with café de olla, hot chocolate, or champurrado.

Prep
40 mins
Bake
18 to 22 mins
Total
12 hrs 30 mins
Yield
12 conchas
Conchas de Maíz - select to zoom
Conchas de Maíz - select to zoom
Conchas de Maíz - select to zoom

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  2. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, milk, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook until the dough is fairly elastic, about 5 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the butter and mix on medium speed for about 8 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl if necessary. The butter should be fully incorporated, and the dough smooth and elastic.

  5. Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

  6. Uncover the dough and reach your hand or a dough scraper down between the side of the bowl and the dough, as though you were going to lift the dough out. Stretch the bottom of the dough up and over its top. Repeat three more times, turning the bowl 90° each time. This process is called a stretch and fold.

  7. Cover the dough and let it rest for another 45 minutes at room temperature. Repeat the stretch and fold process.

  8. Cover the dough securely and transfer it to the refrigerator overnight, or for 8 to 12 hours; it'll become puffy but won’t necessarily double in size.

  9. To make the frosting: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Mix on low speed until everything is fully incorporated.

  10. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the frosting is fluffy and somewhat glossy. This whole process, from the time you start your mixer, should take about 10 minutes. Cover the frosting and set it aside until you’re ready to use it.

  11. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface.

  12. Divide it into 12 equal pieces (each piece will weigh between 110g and 115g) and round them into balls. Divide the balls between two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.

  13. To assemble the conchas: Wet your hands and scoop out a golf ball-sized piece of frosting, about 30g to 35g. Roll the frosting into a ball and flatten it into a 2” disk.

  14. Place the disk on top of one of the rolls and use your fingers to smooth it down the sides of the roll. You don’t want to see any exposed dough, but the frosting doesn’t need to touch the pan.

  15. Repeat with the remaining frosting and rolls.

  16. Lightly score or stamp the frosting with your desired pattern (a wet table knife is a handy tool here), being careful not to cut into the dough.

  17. Cover the conchas and let them rest at warm room temperature (ideally around 75°F) until they’re nearly doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

  18. Toward the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 375°F.

  19. Bake the conchas (one pan at a time, or rotating pans) until their bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes.

  20. Remove the conchas from the oven and let them cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

  21. Storage information: Store leftover conchas in an airtight container for up to three days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Masa harina (translation: dough flour) is flour made from corn that’s been soaked in a solution of slaked lime (nixtamalized) to loosen its hull and soften it, which improves its texture and helps release its nutrients. The soaked corn is ground into a paste (masa), dried, and then ground again, this time into a fine flour. Due to the corn’s special treatment, neither cornmeal nor corn flour are good substitutes for masa harina.