Pumpkin Conchas

These may be my new favorite sweets to bake in the fall time. I've never met a concha I didn't like—but these—I love. 

If you've never had a concha before then you might be wondering what these would taste like. Think of soft buttery brioche bread topped with a lightly sweet cookie crust. The cookie crust is called, cubierta, which is just Spanish for, cover.

My husband loves these so much, he'd happily eat them for dinner—I will neither confirm nor deny such happenings.

These are easy to make but do require a stand mixer. Brioche is possible to make by hand but you'd have to work the dough for a good while (like maybe 45 mins). The entire process of making these conchas can be done in one day but I recommend breaking up the process into two days. This helps for three main reasons.

Reason #1

When making the yeasted dough you can allow it to proof overnight in the fridge. This will allow the dough to develop more flavor.

Reason # 2

Shaping brioche at room temperature can be really messy. Shaping brioche dough straight from the fridge is much easier to do. 

Reason # 3

Breaking it up into two days helps if you have a busy schedule, but still want some homemade baked goods.

Before getting to the recipe I'd like to share some common mistakes and how to avoid them. (These happened to me.)

Mistake # 1

Adding in the butter too early

Brioche has a high-fat content, which is what makes it so delicious. That richness is good for our tastebuds but not so good for gluten formation. 

Butter along with other fats such as oil and yolks slow down the formation of gluten. When the bread hasn't developed enough gluten it's usually dense and lacks spring.

When you are mixing your dough the first time ensure that you get sufficient gluten formation before adding in any butter. You can do this by doing the windowpane test. 

To do the windowpane test simply pick up a small portion of your dough and lightly stretch it using your fingertips. If you can see light through the dough and it doesn't tear, that means it's ready to be mixed with the butter.

When I was developing this recipe I misjudged the dough and thought it was ready to be mixed with the butter. What resulted was a dense brioche.

You might read the recipe and be astonished that the dough needs to be mixed for a total of 20-30 minutes, trust me, it's necessary.  

Mistake # 2

Adding additional flour

Depending on what flour you buy you may have varying results. Every brand of flour has different protein percentages. The amount of protein directly correlates with gluten development. This recipe must be made with bread flour. Bread flour has a higher percentage of protein which helps the gluten structure hold more fat. I've tried this recipe with all-purpose flour and it doesn't come together.

 I like using the King Arthur brand because it has a high protein percentage and makes my bread springy and light. 

If you are mixing your dough and it looks too loose, have faith. Don't put in extra flour. The only time it's a good idea to do so is if you've been mixing for the amount of time recommended and you still aren't getting anywhere close to where you should be. When adding additional flour it's important to always do so sparingly. 

When developing this recipe I initially added more flour because I felt like the dough wasn't coming together. That resulted in a dry bread that wasn't very satisfying. Be patient it will come together. 

I hope you're ready to make some delicious conchas! Let's get to it!


yield: 1 doz

dough ingredients:

  • 387g bread flour
  • 6g pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp. cardamom
  • 8g salt
  • 211g pumpkin puree
  • 20g egg yolk (about one large yolk)
  • 55g egg (about one large egg)
  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 160g room temp unsalted butter (cubed)
  • 77g cane sugar
  • 40g warm milk—110F°
  • 3g vanilla extract
cubierta ingredients:
  • 120g cane sugar
  • 120g all-purpose flour
  • 80g room temp unsalted butter
  • 80g room temp cream cheese
  • Pinch of salt


  • The dough:
  • Begin by warming up the milk to 110F°, then sprinkle the yeast on top and stir—set aside for 10 minutes or until foamy
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add in all the dough ingredients except the butter and flour, whisk together. Add in the yeast mixture and whisk until incorporated
  • Add in the flour in parts and mix using the dough hook attachment
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that there is no flour left behind
  • Once all ingredients are incorporated and a dough forms, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes, check the gluten formation of the dough using the windowpane test. If the dough doesn't pass, mix for another 5 minutes—or until it passes the windowpane test
  • Add in the room temperature butter a few pieces at a time. Once incorporated, mix on medium speed for another 10-15 minutes
  • Transfer the dough (it'll be soft and slightly sticky) to a lightly greased bowl and cover. From here you can place it into the fridge overnight. Or, you can let the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours and place it in the fridge for 1 hour before shaping. (3 hours total)
  • Cubierta:
  • While your dough is resting make the cubierta (cookie top) 
  • In a medium-sized bowl mix together the cream cheese, butter, and salt. Once combined add in the cane sugar, mix until incorporated. Lastly, add in the flour in two parts and mix until a dough forms. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins
  • Shaping: 
  • Flour a clean work surface and divide your dough into 12 even pieces, about 77g each
  • Shape each portion into a bun, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Divide the cubierta into 12 pieces, about 31g each
  • Roll each portion into a ball 
  • flatten into a circular shape using a tortilla press
    •  you can also flatten the cubierta between two sheets of parchment paper using a rolling pin
  • Carefully lay the cubierta on top of the concha making sure it covers the entire surface. Lightly press it down using the palm of your hand
  • You can use a concha cutter, or a butter knife to make your desired design
    • The easiest design is just three lines across or a hatch pattern
  • Preheat the oven to 350F°
  • Cover the conchas and allow them to proof for 1 hour and 30 mins or until nearly doubled in size
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 190F°
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack completely and enjoy with some hot chocolate or coffee!

Enjoy! If you made this recipe post it to Instagram Instagram free icon using the #ingrainedkitchen hashtag and mentioning @ingrainedkitchen


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