Milk and Conchas at All Day Baby

By Amelia Schwartz | Erin Lettera

By

Amelia Schwartz
Erin Lettera
All Day Baby's Concha with Bay-Leaf-Vanilla Cream
All Day Baby's Concha with Bay-Leaf-Vanilla Cream

Tasked with making a pastry inspired by Chef Jonathan Whitener’s favorite childhood treat, All Day Baby’s pastry chef, Thessa Diadem, decided on a concha that’s only kind of a concha. It might look like a concha—plump with a brittle vanilla topping draped over its head—but the chewy bun hardly resembles its namesake. 

It all starts with the roux, a milk and bread flour combo that Diadem credits as the tangzhong method for making Japanese milk bread. She brings milk to a simmer then adds in bread flour, whisking continuously. As soon as the mixture is homogenized, she trades the whisk for a spatula and scrapes at the bottom of her pot until it thickens into a paste-like consistency. She chills the roux overnight and uses it as the base for her yeasted dough, enriched with milk powder for added savoriness. Once baked, the milk bread bun is light with a slight QQ bounce. For this particular concha, Diadem infuses bay leaf and vanilla into milk to make a pastry cream, reminiscent of horchata, to fill each bun (full recipe here).

Neatly scored like a tic-tac-toe board, the crisp topping stays fairly true to the original concha and is mostly composed of shortening and powdered sugar. The sweet bun doesn’t need to be dipped into cafe con leche or a glass of milk; it’s got dairy packed into its very core.

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