Free Pan Dulce (Concha) Recipe from Chef Susan

When I began to think about what baked product I would try for National Hispanic Heritage Month I thought of those colorful breads known as pan dulce- sweet bread. I always wanted to try to make my own brightly colored rolls that I saw at special booths at bakery shows—probably at a Bake Mark exhibit because the company manufactures commercial mixes for them.  Research, research, research led me to my experiments with internet versions and one that I found in a textbook,On Cooking, by Labensky.

Bought some store made which were light, light, light and airy and asked my students to taste my version and compare to the store bought, and-wow-mine won the taste and moisture tests, though I was not satisfied.  More testing led me to the current version which is explained in detail below.

Some of the modifications to the recipe include type of bread flour used, type of yeast used, using Mexican vanilla in the dough, and adding color and flavoring to the pastas.  I also enlarged each of the rolls to 3 ounces the more commercial size of unbaked rolls.

Formula for Pan Dulce – (Conchas)

Mise en Place:  Scale, pastry brush, plastic dough container(optional), sheet pans, parchment paper, bench scraper, bowl scraper, 6 quart mixer, dough hook, lame or single edges razor blade, standard measuring spoons, dough thermometer, custard cup for melted shortening, gloves, rubber scraper, spray bottle filled with water, microwave.


Active Dry Yeast: 2 ounces

Water: 110 degrees F: 9 ounces

Unbleached Bread Four: 2 pounds plus 8 ounces

Eggs (cold): one pound

Granulated Sugar: 9. 75 ounces

Unsalted butter (room temperature): 6.5 ounces

Mexican Vanilla Extract: 2 tsp.

Salt (table): ¾ tsp.

Mise en Place:   5 quart mixer, paddle, tortilla press, parchment strips, cornstarch duster, rubber scraper.


Unbleached Bread Flour: 8 ounces

Powdered Sugar: 10 ounces

Crisco Shortening: 10 ounces

Water: 3 ounces

Cocoa as needed for chocolate pasta (see directions),

Raspberry, Orange, Banana, Chocolate Extracts

Food Coloring: Pink, Yellow


Note: The method used for the dough is called straight dough method because you add all of the ingredients to mixer bowl directly after softening the yeast in the mixer bowl.

Part I: Dough

  1. Place yeast in 6 quart mixer bowl. Add 110 degree F water. Let yeast soften. To test, stir with your fingers and you will not feel any granules and the yeast are dispersed in the water. Take about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients for the dough: bread flour, cold eggs, granulated sugar, unsalted room temperature butter, Mexican vanilla extract, and table salt, to the yeast and water mixture. Mix three minutes on low speed. Scrape dough down into the bowl and off hook.
  3. Again, set mixer, this time at medium speed and knead dough with hook attachment until soft and smooth, about 7-8 minutes.
  4. Test for window pane and when a bit of dough stretches between fingers without breaking, scrape onto your bench(marble, sheet pan, stainless counter, wooden cutting board).Dough should have an internal temperature between 82-84 degrees as measured with a dough thermometer. Sprinkle lightly with flour and cover with a plastic bag.
  5. Deflate and fold dough over itself every 30 minutes for 2.5-3 hours. (I did three hours).
  6. While the dough ferments, make the pasta dough topping.

Part II: Pasta Topping

  1. For the pasta topping I want several flavors and colors: yellow, chocolate brown, raspberry red, and plain (banana).
  2. Combine flour, powdered sugar, shortening, water in a 5 quart mixer bowl using paddle attachment.
  3. Divide mixed dough evenly using a scale: approximately 9 ounces for each color.
  4. Beginning with the lightest color desired I put the portioned dough back into the mixer bowl(if scraped clean of dough no need to wash each time you add the dough for a different color) and use the following formulas for each color and flavor of pasta toppings:

a.Banana: 1 teaspoon banana extract, no added color
b.Chocolate: 1 teaspoon chocolate extract and one-half ounce cocoa
c. Raspberry: one teaspoon raspberry extract and a drop of neon pink food color.
d. Yellow: two teaspoons orange extract and a drop of yellow food color.

     5. Each paste is mixed separately by putting the scaled 9 ounce portion back into the    mixer bowl with paddle adding extracts and or color if needed. I started with plain, then yellow, then raspberry, then chocolate—no need to wash bowl each time if you scrape the bowl clean each time as the pasta should not be sticky.

  Part III: Making the Pasta Rounds

  1. Cut strips of parchment paper the width of tortilla press and the shorter width of the paper.
  2. Scale out pasta dough 7/8ths ounce each. I scaled 6 at a time to prevent drying of the dough, though more rounds could be kept under plastic so more could be done at a time.                                             
  3. Put one end of parchment paper onto opened tortilla press. Sprinkle with cornstarch puff place 7/8th ounce ball of pasta onto Parchment paper and press down lightly with hand. Fold parchment paper over this dough to cover and place a second portion of dough on top and flatten slightly with hand sprinkling with cornstarch puff lightly and cover this with the parchment paper. Press tortilla press over both dough portions firmly. You will have two flat rounds of dough that you will put as is in freezer to chill until you are finished with this procedure and ready to put on top of dough rounds.

Part IV: Scaling and Panning:

  1. After fermenting dough for 2.5-3 hours, Punch dough down gently to expel carbon dioxide and scale dough into 3 ounce portions. (I do this 12 at a time so that baking can be controlled. If I did all at one time I would need an extra oven. Though if things get out of control  you can put dough into refrigerator to “retard” the fermentation.
  2. Round dough portions and place onto papered ½ sheet pan spaced three evenly along each side away from pan edges.
  3. Flatten each dough round not as a tortilla but about a scant one-fourth inch thick…
  4. Brush each piece with melted shortening to the edges of dough. (I use a heat safe custard cup and warm in the microwave.)
  5. Remove 12 flattened pasta round from freezer (can do this when you begin step 4) and place them onto the shortening covered flattened dough. (I use a bowl scraper to remove the pasta from the parchment paper. If some break—just piece together and press lightly.)
  6. Score top in a curved design with a lame, paring knife(pointed) or single edged razor to resemble a shell design)
  7. Liberally sprinkle granulated sugar over the scored colored pasta.
  8. Proof at room temperature (75-82 degrees F) until rolls are more than double in size—did take around an hour.
  9. Open preheated 375 degree oven and quickly spray around oven cavity avoiding any lights with water—15 seconds or less and put one tray of rolls into upper bottom oven rack position. Spray oven door and sides for quick second avoiding rolls and close the oven door.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees (check your oven temperature before with an oven thermometer) for 8 minutes and turn pan around to allow for even baking. You will bake approximately 6 minutes more. You can only bake one pan at a time in a conventional oven. If you have a convection oven you will have to adjust oven temperatures.
  11. When light brown, remove from oven and cool on pan approximately 10 minutes and remove from pan onto a cooling rack.
  12. Shelf life of cooled and covered rolls is three days.
  13. SoooGoood! Enjoy!  Chef Susan





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About Susan Holtz

Susan Holtz is a natural born teacher with decades of professional experience as a baker, instructor, and entrepreneur…and she has a portfolio of accolades to show for her efforts in each of these arenas. What Susan takes just as much pride in though, are her hundreds of graduates now working in the culinary field. Most recently, Susan not only has served as Director of Culinary Arts at West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills, CA (where she created the curriculum and designed the classroom laboratory) and as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor in Cake Decoration at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar, CA (where she also developed the curriculum), but she has also just established the Baking & Cake Art Academy, Inc. in order to provide an online forum and laboratory to inspire baking and cake art enthusiasts and professionals everywhere to achieve their highest goals. Entertaining and informative, dedicated and patient, Susan delivers her instruction in a uniquely low key manner, but with a quite evident passion for sharing her wealth of knowledge on baking from her own academic, apprentice and work experience. She really knows how to encourage her students and make the learning process fun so that all levels of students find her teaching understandable and inspiring! Susan’s fascination with cake decorating started in the sixth grade. In those days, it was all about the star tip and the rose nail! Since then she has studied and worked with some pretty impressive names in the pastry/baking/restaurant fields: Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Fenniger of “Too Hot Tamales” fame, Nancy Silverton, Patrick Terrail, Gerard Joel Bellouet, Mark Carter, Francois Vignac, and Joe Ortiz, Kamolmal Pootarakfa, Gordon Hamersley, Hugh Carpenter, Yolanda Chen and LiE Wong. (You can find out more about all these phenoms on!) Ever the student as well as the teacher, Holtz has studied a broad spectrum of specialized international cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, French and Thai, as well as baking and cake art methods. Susan has earned certification from The Wilton School of Cake Design, then in Chicago (pulled sugar and international cake art methods – Philippine, Australian, English); the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas; Joe Ortiz of Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California (artisan bread baking); St. Moritz Luxury Chocolates in Beverly Hills; with New York’s Colette Peters (fondant techniques); Roland Mesnier (the very intimidating process of pulled sugar); Scott Clark Woolley (gum paste techniques); Ron Ben-Israel (mold-making for jeweled embellishments); and Johnson & Wales in Denver, Colorado (advanced pastry & bread making).