Conchas or Pan Dulce is a popular Mexican Sweet Bread with a sugar topping
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, yeast, and warm milk to your stand mixer bowl. Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes until the yeast is activated and starts foaming. Be sure the milk is not too hot or this will kill the yeast. You want the milk to be between 98-100 degrees F
Add the flour, remaining sugar, salt, egg, butter and cinnamon to the bowl. With the dough attachment, knead the ingredients for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has a slight elasticity. If you are using AP flour, then add a few more tablespoons at a time till it starts pulling from the sides and has some structure.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a clean bowl that has been greased with butter. Then flip over to grease the other side. Cover your dough and allow it to double in a warm place, about an hour.
In a clean bowl, combine room temperature butter and the sugar, mix until creamy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and flour and continue to mix until a thick paste is formed. Divide the sugar paste into the number of colors you plan on using for the crust. In this case I separated the sugar crust into three. Add desired Food Coloring and mix well.
Divide each color into 4 equal portions and roll them into a smooth ball and set aside until dough is ready.
Once the dough has doubled, punch down the dough and cut into 3 ounce pieces (weighing your dough ensures you have an even bake for your bread). This will make 12 dough balls.
Roll each 3 oz piece into smooth balls and press down in the middle to flatten them slightly onto a lined baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place each ball of sugar crust between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Use the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup and press down on the sugar ball to form a flat circle. Remove the top plastic wrap and transfer the sugar crust onto the top of each Concha using the bottom plastic wrap. Once all the Dough balls have been covered, use a butter knife and score the sugar crust to make it look like a shell or crisscross pattern. Allow to rise again for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
After an hour, place Conchas in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. Until dough is slightly browned and sugar crust is hard. Remove and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Serve with a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate.