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GBBO Season 13 – Week 4 Signature: Pan Dulce

The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 13 Challenges.

Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).

So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!

Alright, I made it to week four! Which is also a week that I was kind of dreading: Mexican Week! I adore Mexican food, but I don’t know much about Mexican desserts. I decided that I wanted to take this week’s challenges more traditionally then create a spin on it. Especially since I have never really had some of these foods (mainly the signature challenge).

And with that, the challenge for weeks fours signature is Pan Dulce! Which I will admit, I had no idea was pan dulce was. After some research I found that pan dulce is a Mexican sweet bread. Looking at the ingredients that go into pan dulce, it seems very similar to a Brioche bread which makes me very excited!!

Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!


Pan Dulce requires a lot of classic bread ingredients including yeast, salt, and flour. But a pan dulce is an enriched dough so we are going to add milk, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract! But pan dulce is not only about the bread but there is topping to be made as well!

I wanted to make a more classic topping (from what I can find) which includes butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon powder. I had a lot of debates about putting chocolate powder in the topping and cinnamon in the bread, but I wanted to start simple for my first pan dulce.


Making the Pan Dulce Dough

The first step of making a pan dulce is making the dough! To start, I heated the milk to about 110° Fahrenheit and then mixed in the sugar and yeast. The yeast needs to rest in order to activate. If the yeast isn’t reacting, it’s probably not alive so this is a good time to check if the yeast is alive or not.

Then I whisked in the eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and remaining sugar. I didn’t really use a whisk; I used a dough hook to just combine everything together. Once all the wet ingredients came together, I added in some of the flour to create a paste like texture.

After that, I added in flour and butter to get the dough to come fully together. I kneaded the dough for about five minutes. I wanted it to come together into a smooth ball. Once the dough was in a good place, I put it in a bowl lined with oil, covered it, and let it rest for about 2 hours. The dough needed to double in size.

The Topping

So, the topping was something I was really interested in making because it was something I hadn’t really seen before. It was a mixture of butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract. The butter is the key ingredient for the pan dulce topping as it holds everything together. I worked the ingredients into a paste before separating the topping into several balls.

Then, I pressed the balls into relatively thick discs and used a cutter to make all of the discs the same size. I really wanted the toppings to be consistent across all of the buns.


To assemble the Pan Dulce, I divided the dough into twelve pieces and rolled each piece it a ball. I could have weighed the dough and done this evenly, but I decided to do this by eye. I am not the most precise person, I know that. But it is delicious all the same!

I then placed a topping disc on each bun and then used a knife to cut in a pattern. I did what I think is a more classic pattern which is more of a grid like shape. This will cause the topping to spread while each bun is baking.

And then it’s time to let the dough rest once more before baking. I baked the pan dulce for about twenty minutes or until they were a slightly browned color. They did not gain too much color while baking.


I love Pan Dulce and I want more. I used cinnamon in the topping (which is optional, but I believe it is still a traditional flavor) and I adore this flavor so much!! These buns were delicious and disappeared from the house extremely quickly. I might have eaten three in one day. Definitely one of my new favorite recipes which I will be using again soon in the future!


Adding Flavor

There seems to be a lot of flavors that can be added to Pan Dulce weather that is in the bread of the topping. I did play with the idea of adding chocolate into one while adding cinnamon into the other. But I wanted to taste the original flavor first. I am curious what fruity pan dulce will taste like.


Cinnamon Pan Dulce

Pan Dulce is an amazing Mexican sweet bread that is full of flavor and potential options for more!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes



  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast
  • ¾ Cup Whole Milk
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter melted
  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar divided
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour


  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powdered



  • Heat milk to 110° Fahrenheit on the stove. Remove from heat. Whisk together milk, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and ¼ cup granulated sugar into the yeast mixture. Then add in 2 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and whisk into a smooth paste.
  • Add melted butter and remaining flour and combine (using a dough hook or spoon) until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl and cover. Place into a warm area to rise for about 1 ½ hours to 2 hours until the dough is doubled in size.


  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Work into a paste.


  • On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
  • Roll the toppings into a 1 ½ inch ball and then press into a disc. Cover each ball of dough with a disc of topping. Cut the topping into the desired pattern.
  • Allow the pan dulce to rise for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!!


Another good optional flavoring is cocoa powder. Food coloring can also be used to add more color!

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