Breads / Desserts / Snacks

Matcha Conchas (Turtle Bread)

I remember seeing all the viral photos of turtle conchas (I’ve been personally calling them “turtle bread” and will continue to do so) earlier in the pandemic and they’ve been on the mind ever since. Finally, I’ve decided to make my own, matcha-flavored, version.

These are basically an adaptation to my Thai Tea Melon Pan recipe that I posted a little while ago. The recipe allows for all-purpose flour (instead of bread flour) and active dry yeast (instead of instant) to better fit the average pantry. I’ve also included instructions on how to make this without a stand mixer because I myself made this bread by hand (it’s possible!).

I’ve included instructions on how to make a matcha flavored topping, as well as a chocolate flavor, in case you wanted a little variety. However, this recipe is a really good base recipe, which means you can basically make these whatever flavor you want! Just sub the matcha/cocoa powder for a different flavor additive, but make sure that the consistency of your topping stays the same (you should be able to roll them into a ball without it being too sticky or too dry). Get creative with them!

I was inspired by the cute lil turtle conchas I originally saw on my Twitter feed, however, I didn’t end up making all of them turtle-shaped. Keep in mind that shaping them as turtles uses up more dough, which means you’ll either end up with less conchas or smaller portions.

I would have normally painted the faces on with black sesame paste but I was all out, so I created a concoction of cocoa powder, water, and cornstarch. It should be thick enough that it won’t drip off, but thin enough that it’s easy to work with. I actually now prefer this method, because the taste is much more subtle than using black sesame paste.

All in all, these are so cute, so fun to make, and taste so good. The bread stays delightfully fluffy and the topping is perfectly crunchy, sweet, and packed with matcha flavor. Enjoy them warm with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Store leftovers in an airtight container, at room temperature or in the fridge, up to 6 days.

Matcha Conchas (Turtle Bread)

Everything you love about conchas (fluffy bread with a sweet & crunchy topping) but matcha flavored and turtle-shaped! A chocolate adaptation is included if you want a little variety.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 16 conchas


For the bread dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 220 ml lukewarm milk (a little over 1 cup)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 60 g unsalted butter (4.25 tbsp), softened

For the topping:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • extra sugar, for dusting
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder (if only making matcha conchas, increase to taste)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (optional)


Make the bread dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add active dry (or instant) yeast and mix.
  • Pour lukewarm milk (make sure it isn't too hot!) and add the one beaten egg. Mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  • Add the softened butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed until the butter is fully incorporated. Keep mixing for another 10-12 minutes, or until soft, smooth, and elastic.
  • If making by hand: You can continue to mix with the wooden spoon, however, it will take slightly longer than if you were using a stand mixer. The dough will be very sticky and wet, so it'll be too hard to knead by hand. Keep mixing with a wooden spoon until soft and smooth (about 15-17 minutes).
  • Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the dough rise until almost doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Make the topping:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Mix until smooth (with a stand mixer, hand mixer, or by hand). Add the beaten egg and mix well.
  • Sift in the cake flour and baking powder. Mix again until just incorporated. Halve the dough (if making both matcha and chocolate conchas). Place one half in a separate bowl.
  • Add the matcha powder and cocoa powder into each bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Add or decrease the amount by taste and texture (it shouldn't be too dry).
  • Form the dough into a ball with your hand. Split into 16 equal portions (8 portions for each, if making two flavors).
  • Roll all 16 portions into balls. Place in a bowl or on a plate and let them sit in the fridge until needed.


  • Take the topping out of the fridge. Roll each ball out into small flat rounds. I like doing this between two sheets of wax paper or within a cut Ziploc bag. Place on a non-stick surface and place back in the fridge.
  • Once doubled, gently punch down and turn out dough onto a floured surface. Cut with a sharp knife or dough scraper into 16 equal portions.
  • Roll each portion into a ball. If making turtle-shaped conchas, separate out enough dough to form the head and four arms (about 1/5 to 1/6 of the portion). Leave that on the side for now. Place the main dough portion (the body) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.
  • Wrap one of the topping discs over a dough ball. Now, connect the head and arms to your turtle. Continue with each concha.
  • Using the back of a knife, score the top in a traditional concha shape or whatever pattern you choose.
  • Cover the conchas with a dish towel and leave it in a warm spot to rise for about 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Before baking, sprinkle sugar on top of each concha. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • While conchas are in the oven, mix together cocoa powder, cornstarch, and a couple of drops of water. Once conchas have been in the oven for 15 minutes, take them out and, using a brush, toothpick, or chopstick, paint faces onto your turtles.
  • Return the conchas to the oven and turn the heat off. Allow them to sit for another 10 minutes. The tops should be a light golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Keyword bread, chocolate, conchas, dessert, matcha, snack, sweet

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