Pan Dulce

I love bread.

All bread, really.

Whole wheat. White. Cinnamon swirled. Sourdough. Quick bread. Yeast bread. Banana bread. Focaccia. Baguettes. Croissants.

I love restaurants that bring warm bread to your table before you even order your meal. Menu? What menu? I’ll just move this bread basket a little closer to me…

I particularly love breakfast breads.

Yes, I know that breakfast should be loaded with protein and fiber. Eggs. Bacon. Bananas. Milk. Grapefruit. All good things to start the day off on the right foot.

But let’s be honest. Sometimes you just need something sweet and yeasty.

That’s why I love pan dulce. A perfect little sweet bread to complement my morning cup of coffee.

I’ll have an omelet tomorrow morning. Maybe that will make up for today’s pan dulce overindulgence. Maybe.

Pan Dulce
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Active time: 2 hours
Start to finish: 4.5 hours
Makes 2 dozen

For the dough
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
3 2/3 cups white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
5 large eggs, beaten

For the topping
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

For the dough
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand 6-8 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups bread flour, salt, sugar and shortening and blend thoroughly. Add yeast mixture and 2 eggs. Mix completely. Add remaining eggs and mix. Add remaining bread flour and mix until the dough forms a loose, soft, and elastic dough. It should be a little sticky but firm enough to shape easily with buttered hands.

Butter the work surface, and press dough into a 4×6-inch rectangle, 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 24 squares. Shape each dough square into a dome-shaped circle. On a lightly greased cookie sheet, place rolls 2 inches apart. Cover lightly with plastic wrap for 1 to 1 1/2 hours and let dough rise.

For the topping
In a food processor using a metal blade, add the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, flour and vanilla. You can also use a stand mixer for this process. Process until smooth, then divide into 2 equal parts. Leave one part plain and shape into a log. You can use a bit of pink or yellow dye to color this portion of the dough before shaping into a log, wrapping in wax paper, and chilling. Add cocoa and cinnamon to the other half of dough and wrap in wax paper. Chill the 2 logs until ready to use.

Cut off 2 tablespoons of topping from the log and flatten with palms into a circle. Place topping circle on top of dough circle. It should completely cover dough. Use a sharp knife to cut a crisscross or shell design on top. Let rolls rise again in a warm place for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 12- 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

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