Introduction: Kouign Amann

About: My blog is to journal my successes and mishaps while learning to bake classic dessert recipes, as well as fiddle with recipes I’ve already got down. Whenever possible, I try to use fruit and flavors that are i…

It’s a bun! Its a croissant! It’s a kouign amann! If any pastry could be a superhero, these little beauties would qualify. Their super powers would include being extra buttery and having flaky layers.

New house rule: you can only eat one if you can pronounce the name correctly! After some trial and error, I learned that the simplest version of the name is “queen a-mahn.” If you can master a French/Breton accent, I expect more from you.
According to a Breton/English dictionary, the name translates to “butter cake” (kouign = cake and amann = butter). Considering that there’s only five ingredients in these little beauties, it makes sense to name them after the star of the show! It’s butter with a little flour, yeast, sugar and salt to hold it together.

Step 1: Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cold salted butter (keeping the wrappers to grease the tins)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (plus extra for rolling the pastry)

Step 2: Prep the Dough

Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it sit for 5 minutes (or until foamy.) Add in the salt and nearly all the flour, keeping out 1/4 cup to add later.

Step 3: Knead the Dough

Use a dough hook to begin kneading the dough. Add in the flour a little at a time, allowing each spoonful to become incorporated before adding more. Once it's fully mixed and has a stretchy texture, cover the mixing bowl and let it rise for an hour. Once it's twice as big, pop it in the fridge for a half hour to chill it out. No one needs stressed dough.

Step 4: Flatten the Butter

To do this step, you'll need a rolling pin, two pieces of parchment paper, and really nice downstairs neighbors. Sandwich your butter between the pieces of parchment paper and use the rolling pin to pound the butter until it is flat and malleable. Once flat, you can then roll it out until it's a 6" x 10" rectangle.

Step 5: Prep the Dough for Lamination

Now for the time-consuming part. I always roll my dough out next to a measuring tape or ruler to make sure it gets long enough. *Make sure that the butter stays slightly chilled by popping it back into the fridge for 5 - 10 minutes whenever it gets too soft. You DO NOT want it to melt into the dough.*

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 12" x 20" rectangle. Place the butter rectangle in the center and fold the excess dough over the top like an envelope.

Step 6: Fold, Roll & Chill

Fold the top third of the envelope of dough, then overlap the bottom third on top. Roll out the folded dough into a 12" x 20" rectangle. You've finished one turn, congrats! Now repeat it 3 more times. On the last two turns, sprinkle half the sugar (3/4 cup) on the dough before folding and rolling. This allows for the sugar to be incorporated, but not melt into the dough. Voila!

*If you have a warm kitchen, chill the dough between the 2nd and 3rd turn.

Step 7: Prep the Pans

Remember those butter wrappers I asked you to save? They make the perfect butter paintbrushes for prepping your pans.

Step 8: Roll Out and Shape the Dough

Roll out the chilled dough on a sugared surface and slice it into 12 squares. Pinch the four corners into the middle to make a four-leaf clover shape and tuck each one into a muffin cup. Loosely cover them and let rise for 30 minutes.

Step 9: Bake the Kouign Amanns

While they're rising, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake these cuties for 40 - 45 minutes. Once golden and bubbly, make sure to pop the pastries out of the tin before they cool completely otherwise they'll fuse to the metal forever.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Caramelized sugar and oozing butter. Best if eaten the same day - happy munching!

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