conchas

Conchas: Mexican Sweet Bread Recipe

conchasPan Dulce is a staple in Mexican culture and cuisine. Though they can be eaten at any time of the day as a snack or meal, they are typically enjoyed at breakfast. Some people estimate that there are over 2,000 varieties, but the most popular and widely-known is conchas!

In Spanish, concha translates to shell, so it makes sense that this sweet, softly baked bread is named after it’s fun shape. This Cinco de Mayo, we’re honoring the Mexican holiday by sharing how our Director of Pastry, Chef Jansen Chan, makes them in the kitchens of ICC. Check out the recipe below!

We’re also excited to announce our collaboration with Ice & Vice for the Hester Street Fair @FoodBabyNY Food Fest 2 on Cinco de Mayo! Chef Jansen and Ice & Vice are working together to create an exclusive treat, Food Baby Conchitas (a Concha Ice Cream Sandwich) in two signature flavors—Rasperry Concha with Peanut Butter Fluff & Concord Grape Ice Cream, plus a Black & White Coffee Concha with Horchata Ice Cream. The street fair is free to all, but you can register here for tickets.

Can’t wait to go to the street fair to try this signature, exclusive item? Be sure to check our Instagram on Thursday, May 2nd for details on how you can win 2 seats in our Mexican Cooking Class this August! All you’ll have to do is snap a photo of your Food Baby Conchita at the Hester Street Fair this Sunday and post to your Instagram. Stay tuned!

DOUGH INGREDIENTS:

  • 225 g. flour, all-purpose
  • 225 g. flour, bread
  • 70 g. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 20 g. fresh yeast or (10 g. dried yeast*)
  • 60 g. milk
  • 200 g. (about 4) eggs
  • 170 g. butter, softened
  • Additional sugar, for dipping

PROCEDURE:

  1. Place all ingredients*, except butter, in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix at a low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until gluten develops.
  2. Slowly add butter to the dough, and allow to incorporate fully.
  3. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl and wrap in plastic wrap well.
  4. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Place the dough on a flour work surface and punch down to deflate the dough.
  6. Portion the dough into 80g pieces.
  7. Roll each portion into a round and flatten.
  8. Place directly on a parchment-lined tray, allowing 2-3 inches around for expansion.
  9. Divide the crust dough into 28 g. portions. (See instructions to make crust dough below).
  10. Pat crust into 3” circles and place directly on top of each round.
  11. Flour each cutter and gently stamp to create an impression.
  12. Cover the tray and allow to proof for 2-3 hours in a warm spot, or until double in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  14. Bake for 12-15 mins. or until golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 mins.
  16. Roll in a bowl of sugar while warm.

*if using dried yeast, first dissolve in milk.

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 100 g. sugar
  • 112 g. butter, softened
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • 120 g. flour, all-purpose*

PROCEDURE:

  1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add salt and vanilla.
  3. Add flour and allow to mix until just incorporated.
  4. Wrap the dough and allow to rest for at least 30 mins. or overnight, chilled. If the dough sits overnight, remove from refrigerator at least 30 mins. prior to use.

*for chocolate crust, substitute 20 g. of cocoa for flour

products to use

Sour Cream Shortbread Recipe

Did you know that French butter is often considered best for baking because of its low water content, resulting in a better texture for baking? Beurremont butter, a traditional French butter, is one of the only butters made in the USA that is high in butterfat like it’s French counterpart. Beurremont is made without aging the cream or adding cultures to it, giving it a sweet flavor. It’s also low in moisture, resulting in a rich creamy profile that’s perfect for cooking and baking. So perfect, Team USA uses it as their official butter in the Bocuse d’Or Competition—notoriously the most challenging cooking competition in the world.

Great for decadent recipes, or when you need an extra hint of buttery flavor, it works especially well in our Director of Pastry Operations’, Chef Jansen Chan’s, Sour Cream Shortbread recipe! As he puts it, “Buerremont Butter is a great brand to incorporate in many types of recipes; it has a complex culture flavor balanced with a rich butterfat taste.”

Learn how you can make this quick recipe below, and many thanks to our Pastry Plus Gold Sponsor Beurremont Butter and Paris Gourmet for their support.

You Will Need...

  • 2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 1/3 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. sour cream
  • Additional sugar, as needed

Procedures

step 1

Cut butter into cubes and keep at room temperature until firm, but not soft.

step 2

mix ingredients

Place butter cubes, flour, sugar and salt into a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.

step 3

mixture
Mix at a low speed until mixture is very fine and crumbly, about 7-9 minutes. The dough should be able to hold together as crumbs when squeezed together. There should not be any visible butter chunks.

step 4

PRESS DOUGH
Press the dough into a parchment lined half-sheet tray.

step 5

refridgerate
Wrap the sheet tray of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2-3 hours, or overnight.

step 6

spread sour cream
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Remove from refrigerator and spread sour cream evenly on top.

step 7

bake in oven
Bake for an hour, or until medium brown on top.

step 8

sprinkle sugar

Sprinkle the top generously with sugar while the shortbread is still warm.

STEP 9

cut into squares
With a serrated knife, and while the shortbread is still warm, cut into two-inch square pieces.

step 10

Enjoy!
Allow to cool and enjoy!

Alumni Spotlight: Avery Ruzicka, Bread Baking Class of 2011

Throughout Avery Ruzicka’s youth, cooking always played a big role. Her professional interest in food emerged from the extensive time she spent abroad during and after high school, leading to her  first restaurant job in college.

Every night we sat down to a home cooked meal and the entire family took part in preparation,” says Ruzicka, a Greensboro, North Carolina native.

Encouraged by her parents to explore and experience other cultures, Ruzicka moved to Spain as a high school sophomore and also spent a year in England before heading to college. Ruzicka attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she studied political science, international studies, and creative writing. A study abroad trip to France later exposed her to a new world of award-winning cuisine and led her to explore food writing.

I thought if I wanted to get into food writing, I had better learn the ins and outs of a kitchen, so I worked at restaurants while finishing my degree. I loved the intensity, creativity, and collaboration that came from working in a kitchen and decided to focus on food over writing,” says Ruzicka.

Soon after, she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute (now ICC) where she earned The Art of International Bread Baking diploma in six months.


ICC: In what capacity do you work for Manresa Bread? What does your job entail, both in a broad sense as well as day-to-day?

Ruzicka: The exciting part about Manresa Bread is that my day-to-day responsibilities are ever-evolving. If I look at my role every six months, some part of that has changed in an exciting and positive way. It’s always been my goal to keep learning in the culinary world and the added joy of starting my own business has allowed me to do that every day. If you work in food, you get to do a lot of things. If you are really engaged in it, you can learn a new technique or process all the time. I’m no longer just a baker; I’m a business owner on top of that. It really opens up a number of other doors to continue to learn and challenge myself. There are days where I’m in the bakery wearing an apron and getting my hands dirty and other days where I’m at my desk or hitting up our retail locations in Los Gatos and Los Altos.


ICC: Did your ICC education help you land this job? Do you use the skills you learned at the ICC at work?

Ruzicka: The Art of International Bread Baking program at ICC’s New York Campus definitely gave me a good foundation that I was able to build on with time and practice. I left ICC with a core understanding of how bread works. That’s what I look to Manresa restaurant with me and that’s the foundation for Manresa Bread.


avery-2ICC:  What inspired you to enroll in culinary school? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?

Ruzicka: I was interested in getting into food writing and so I thought I should get into a kitchen. I loved it so much and immediately decided to pursue cooking, knowing that I could go back to writing if I wanted to.


ICC:  What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?

Ruzicka: There were so many opportunities available to us that it was hard to participate in everything between course work, a full-time stage, and the extra programming offered by ICC. Getting to know the instructors and looking to them for guidance and feedback really helped determine where I wanted to focus my time and energy.


ICC: If someone was hesitant to pursue a culinary education, what you say to encourage them?

Ruzicka: Spend time to self-reflect on pursing a culinary career. It is a quickly changing career choice. From an income point of view, the rewards are not going to be astronomical but it is incredibly gratifying if it is something you are passionate about. The culinary field is a creative and exciting career choice. It will ask a lot of you and you really need to love it. There are so many options within the culinary field that keeping an open mind and committing to trying different roles from line cook to something in research and development can be beneficial to finding the niche that’s right for you. Be imaginative – if you can dream about a role in the culinary world, you can create it.


ICC:  What is your fondest memory of your time at the ICC?

Ruzicka: The joy of learning how to make bread was pretty magical for me. Going in every morning and baking off loaves was always so exciting to me. I have a lot of memories of waking up early to bake – even the smell of the baking bread in the kitchen. That has stayed with me for years!


ICC: What is the best industry related advice you’ve ever received? 

Ruzicka: Be actively engaged and present in your work every day and hold yourself to the highest standard, regardless of any standard someone else is putting in front of you.


For more information on Manresa Bread, please visit: http://www.manresabread.com/