Mexican Sweet Bread

Servings: 9conchas


  • For the rich egg bread dough
  • 1/3cup milk
  • 1package active dry yeast
  • 1tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar (divided use)
  • 1 1/2cups bread flour
  • 1cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4teaspon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 8ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • For the streusel topping:
  • 4ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 1cup all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon ground cinnamon (preferably Mexican canela)
  • 1 egg


For the dough:  In a small (2-quart) saucepan set over medium-low, heat the milk until it is warm to touch (110 degrees or a little more than body temperature). Measure the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour the warm milk over the yeast, stir well and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast is active and foamy (if the milk is too hot, the yeast will not become active).

In another bowl mix the flours, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the salt.

When the yeast is foamy pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add eggs and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined.

With the mixer running, very slowly start adding the flour mixture.  Continue mixing until it is a smooth, elastic dough, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the cubes of butter one at a time, making sure that each piece is incorporated before adding the next.

When the dough is well mixed, place it in a glassbowl.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dough and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight.  If you don’t have that much time, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, place in the warmest part of your kitchen and allow it to rise for about 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.  Then remove the towel and cover the dough with plastic wrap directly over the dough’s surface and refrigerate for 1 hour to chill it thoroughly.

For the streusel topping:  While the dough is rising, scoop the butter and sugar into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Reduce the speed to lowand slowly add the flour and cinnamon until the mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For finishing the conchas:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  When the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a lightly floured surface.  With a knife or bench scraper, divide the dough into 9 even pieces.  One by one, cup your lightly floured palm over a ball of dough and roll in a circular motion while pressing gently against the ball.  This should create a beautiful sphere.  Evenly space the dough balls on the baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, move to a warm part of your kitchen and allow the balls to rise until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the streusel topping into 9 pieces and flatten each one with your hands, a rolling pin or a plastic lined tortilla press to form uniform, flat disks that are large enough to cover the risen dough balls.  When ready to bake, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water, brush the conchas with the egg wash and lay a tortilla-shaped piece of streusel topping over each concha, pressing it lightly onto the surface.  Using a sharp pairing knife, slice lines just through the streusel layer to create the traditional shell pattern.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.


  1. I have drained my resources on attempting to find a recipe for the Mexican sweet bread “ojos de buey”. I am currently working in south texas and there is 1 bakery which makes them in Laredo, but they will not share the recipe. I have asked everyone I work with and searched the internet profusely without finding any recipe for this pastry. At my wits end and would be extremely grateful for any help with this matter. Thank you in advance for your help with this matter.

    1. I am so sorry. We do not have any recipes for that either. I wish you the best of luck though!

    2. You may have the recipe by now, but you should be able to find recipes on You Tube and inches internet. I looked on Spanish sites, but they translate the recipes. I entered “Receta para ojos de buey”. Ojos de buey are breads and cookies. I’m including 2 sites that I found “” and “” among others. Hope this helps!

    3. Hello! I lived in Laredo for many years and would frequent the Superior Bakery. It was around for decades. The owner sold the business and his old school traditional pan dulces were never the same. Sadly, the bakery was closed. Holloway’s bakery was the next best option but I’ve heard they’ve closed their doors too. I’ve been in search of a semita recipe. I’ve found one recipe for Semita Bustamante but it wasn’t right. It’s sad to see these old school traditional recipes gone.

  2. How does the topping bake with this recipe? I tried a King Arthur Flour recipe recently that was delicious, but the topping was a bit too dry and crackly for my taste…it falls right off the roll when you bite into it! I wanted the softer, more crumbly topping I’m used to.

    1. Sometimes if the bread is baked too high in the oven the STREUSEL gets overdone. try moving the rack more to the center

  3. Thank you for this recipe and the video which was very helpful. This recipe turned out beautifully except for the bread being too salty. Not sure if I can omit some salt without upsetting the dough’s balance. Would love to make it again if I can get the dough to taste sweeter.

    1. Try using Diamond Kosher Salt next time…it is very different from Morton’s kosher or table salt. I’ve ruined recipes because the author didn’t specify the type of salt they use and it makes a huge difference.

    1. I’ve found that some of Rick’s other recipes, as seen on PBS, are also too salty for me. I don’t think it’s just my own personal taste (I’m the sort of person who picks off the salt on a pretzel, and buys/bakes products without salt on the top). I visualize recipes in the same way that carpenters “measure twice, cut once.” I can always add salt after tasting it, but can’t remove excess salt once it’s in there. We need some salt, to regulate the proving process (yeast raised) and to enhance flavor (both yeast and quick breads). I usually reduce the amount of salt. In Rick’s case, i’ve seen on PBS that he’s got what cooks call a “red hand,” dumping in salt by the spoonful, so I use less and taste before adding more, if I need to taste at all. The worst that can happen, is the finished product will taste flat, but I’d rather have that than make something so offensively salty I have to throw out the food. And I’m experienced ong enough that it always comes out just right. What worries me are comments I’ve seen about the topping falling off or being crumbly. So I need to see other recipes first online, to get a feel for proportions before I make them. And although some Youtubes are in Spanish, what they’re saying is pretty easy to understand, imho.

  4. I am looking for a pig recipe since I cannot find my abuelita’s. However, I do not want the recipe if it means the pigs are going to be thick & cake like – the way they seem to be making them these days… yuck! I grew up with them being thin and more cookie like and the flavors were MUCH better than the way they are made today. BTW- I have made these conchas several times… love them!

    1. Hi Teresa –
      I am so sorry but we do not have a recipe for pigs. Our concha recipe is the closest I can get. I wish you the best of luck though!

  5. Do you have a recommendation on yeast to use? I used the rapid acting yeast and had some issues leaving the dough in the fridge overnight (no worries, let it rise in the morning) but I just was a little confused!

    First batch in the oven as I type!!

    1. Hi Nelsy,
      I hope they turned out well! There is NOTHING like a concha fresh out of the oven! I always use the rapid active dry yeast. Make sure it isn’t expired (in fact in order to answer your question I went to my refrigrator to see what mine was called and found one that expired in June!) as it won’t work if it is old. They other factor could be that your refrigrator was slightly colder than ours for testing or that it needed another hour or so in the frig. But you did exactly the right thing! Hop they were delicious!

    2. I use the dry “instant” yeast by Red Star, Costco sells it in a big vacuum pouch. There are other brands that are okay too, they can be found at any grocery in the baking aisle. Any good brand will work. I store some in a smaller airtight bottle in my kitchen freezer, and put the rest in an airtight mason jar in my garage freezer so it isn’t exposed to changing temps or humidity. I assume you know how to test (prove) its viability by putting a little in warm water with a pinch of sugar, to see if it bubbles up.

      And by the way… if you’re going to use those little premeasured Fleishman packets from the grocery, be aware that each packet varies widely in weight and volume.

    1. Unforunately they only last a few days – but they are so delicious that I doubt that they will even last that long!

  6. Wow — looks fantastic!

    Any recommendations on variations on how to make the other toppings (the traditional white, yellow and brown ones)? Thanks a bunch!! 🙂

  7. I dream of the Merengues from Mexico City’s bakeries, I’ve tried to make them at home, but don’t turn out right. Could you please show us how? Thank you, and Gracias for showcasing the delicious Mexico to the world.

  8. I am Mexican-American, live in Southern California, and have had pan dulce from panaderias, and even from your typical grocery store. I just made this and it tastes good, but not like traditional pan dulce. The dough is much too buttery– it would be better in a cinnamon roll, biscuit, or some other American pastry. Pan dulce conchas should always be light and fluffy.

    1. I have been living in Mexico. The panadería across from me made wonderfully heavy, rich conchas. They are not like a soft, fluffy hamburger buns or American white bread. Nor are they dense like an artisan bread. But they have a tender, CHEWY texture that stands up to and is complemented by your, milk or coffee. You KNOW the butter and eggs are in there. In fact, some bakeries have several types ie. 50% and 100 % butter probably because it does affect the texture. My little panadería makes the best I’ve had in Mexico.

  9. Can anyone help? I made these once and they have turned our beautifully, thereafter, the sugar topping seems to just melt rather than hold its shape. What am I doing wrong?? I have followed the recipe exactly

  10. Does the dough need to be kneaded before letting it rise? What temp is suggested in the kitchen for the dough to rise?

    1. The colder it is, the slower the rise, the warmer it is, the faster.

      I just wanted to tell you what I do, to create a cozy stable environment for dough to rise. It’s easier and safer than a big leaky oven space that you have to babysit. In the summer it’s always warm enough on my patio or in the kitchen, but other times, this is how I do it, using my microwave:

      Get a terrycloth hand towel and fold it twice, so that it has four layers and will fit on your microwave turntable. Place it on the turntable. Fill a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup with water and place it in the center, on top of the folded towel. Microwave on high for at least five minutes, or until it boils and warms the door window to touch. Put your dough in an oiled glass bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap (you can see through glass without having to open the door and lose heat). Place the Pyrex cup with the heated water in the back corner of the microwave (for my full-size microwave that means it will be balanced right on the rim of the turntable, against the corner back there). Use a potholder if the Pyrex handle is too warm for your hand. Then place the covered bowl in the center of the turntable, on top of the warm folded towel, and close the door. The microwave door should feel warm to touch once closed, and after a while you should even see the door window sweating inside, from the steam coming off the boiled water. You can check to see how developed the dough is, without losing heat: you press the door button just enough for the light to turn on, without actually opening the door, and you can see through the door window what’s going on in the glass bowl without letting heat escape. If it gets too cool in there (which has only rarely happened to me) you just remove the bowl, reheat the water, and put the bowl back again.

      You’ve just turned your microwave into a proof box, complete with humidity!

    1. Yes, I would cook it in an 325 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

  11. It took FOREVER (approx 45 minutes) to incorporate all that butter into a “dough”…Surely hope this comes out like it should…So far I am disappointed in this recipe…

  12. Thank you Mr. Bayless. You are my GO TO for any Mexican dish I need to impress my In-Laws. They say I am a better Mexican than my wife!! Thank you once again!!

    1. I’ve made a version with a chocolate topping. Just add cocoa powder and maybe some vanilla to the topping when you’re putting it together. Start with a tablespoon and add additional cocoa powder to taste. Maybe adding a little instant espresso would be a great addition to help intensify the chocolate flavor!

  13. They turned out amazing and delicious! I can’t wait to make these again. My only edit for next time would be to double the topping just because I feel like you can never have enough topping.

  14. This is the best recipe. I keep a copy on my kitchen wall! I have had many friends eagerly request these of me. I use unsalted butter. The saltiness was an issue until i made sure to sift it together with the flour. The salt was more evenly distributed. I have made them as small as 20g and they are bite-sized for a party.

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