Choosing recipes to include in each book is one of my favorite parts of writing the Bread Shop Mysteries. In Kneaded to Death, I knew I wanted to include a traditional Mexican treat in honor of Olaya Solis and her bread making heritage. These conchas fit the bill.



3 teaspoons active dry yeast

12 cup warm water

12   cup lukewarm milk

13 cup granulated sugar

13 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

12-4 cups all-purpose flour


Cinnamon and Vanilla Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.
  2. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg.
  3. Stir in 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth.
  4. Add enough flour until dough easy to handle and forms a ball.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Place dough in a large greased bowl, then turn greased side up.
  7. Cover, place in a warm place, and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. You’ll know the dough is ready if an indentation remains after you press into it.
  8. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping. See below.
  9. Punch conchas dough down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape them into balls and place on greased cookie sheet.


Cinnamon and Vanilla Topping

  1. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in the flour and mix until the dough is the consistency of thick paste.
  3. Divide into 2 equal parts.
  4. Stir cinnamon into one part and vanilla extract the second portion.
  5. Divide each part of dough into 6 equal pieces then pat each piece into a 3-inch circle.
  6. Lay one piece or circle of the topping onto each ball of dough. Shape it to fit over the ball.
  7. Make about 5 cuts across the topping in a shell pattern.
  8. At this point, heat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. One again, cover and let rise until doubled, or about 40 minutes.
  10. Bake conchas for 20 minutes. They should be lightly browned.