While doing my usual browsing of recipes the other day, I came across an article about a French pastry called kouign amann. Kouign meaning bread and amann meaning butter, this pastry consists of layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar to a puff pastry. I was intrigued with the description, challenged with the directions and won over by the pictures. Although I had never heard of kouign amann before, I thought it was time to introduce myself.
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4 hr 20 min
4 hr 20 min
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 138
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 10g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Total Carbohydrates 47g
Dietary Fiber 1g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- 1 cup water, 100-110 degrees F
- 2 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 ounces cold salted butter, plus extra for greasing the pans
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided plus extra
Cherry on my Sundae http://cherryonmysundae.com/
For complete recipe visit Kitchn
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Since making kouign amann requires many, many steps, I highly recommend you look over these tips for extra help! I actually had to make these twice because of careless mistakes the first time; learn from my mistakes to yield perfect kouign amann.
Start by activating your yeast. You want the water to be warm, not too hot or not too cold. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast, too cold and it won’t activate it.
Now both times I made the dough, I found that 1 1/2 cups of flour was nowhere near enough. My dough was incredibly sticky and stuck to the sides of the bowl (see picture on the left). I ended up adding a total of 2 cups and 2 tbsp flour to yield a slightly tacky dough.
An hour later the dough has risen beautifully. At this point you can chill overnight, which is what I did, or for 30 minutes. If you are tempted to remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in plastic, I beg of you to resist! The dough continues to rise in the fridge; if you wrap the dough itself in plastic, it will explode and make a mess in your refrigerator. If you need to use your mixing bowl, simply transfer the dough to another bowl and cover.
Now when pounding out the butter, you are required to use a bit of arm strength. If your kitchen is on the warmer side, you must work quickly as the butter will melt and make it more difficult to pound out. Use a pastry scraper to handle the dough instead of your hands, which will make the butter melt faster.
When chilling the butter, make sure not to chill for too long, otherwise the butter will become brittle and break when being rolled with the dough. However, you also have to make sure that the butter is chilled enough or else the butter will melt into the dough and you won’t get the nice flaky layers.
The first fold:
Turn 90 degrees so that the narrow side with the open end is facing you. Roll out and fold again. If your kitchen is warm and you see the butter started to melt, chill the dough for another 30 minutes before completing the second turn. Yes, this means your pastries will take longer to complete, but it also means you will have flaky layers later!
After chilling the dough for 30 minutes, I found my dough to be too soft. In my pastry class in culinary school, I remember freezing the dough for 30 minutes when making croissants, so I did the same here. The basic idea is that you want the dough firm enough that the butter won’t melt while rolling, but soft enough that it can be rolled out. It may seem tricky but use your gut instinct. If you think it’s ready, roll it out and see. If the butter is too soft, return it back to the fridge to chill a bit longer.
When sprinkling the sugar on top of the dough for the last two turns, I found it very helpful to gently press in the sugar into the dough. This helps prevent it from spilling out when folding.
The final steps of shaping the kouign amann was where I made my mistake the first time. My dough was not chilled long enough, allowing the butter to melt into the dough. Therefore, when it was time to roll out the dough for the final time, the layers began to fall apart and stick to my rolling pin. You cannot believe the amount of sadness I felt. I thought I was able to salvage it by chilling it longer, but at that point it was useless. I baked the pastries anyways and the end result was goopy looking muffins (that still tasted great nonetheless).
When you are shaking the kouign amann, you will be able to see all the layers of butter and sugar you created. Just imagine how that will taste after being baked!
When baking, make sure to line your baking sheet and put your muffin tin on top of the baking sheet. The sugar will seep out, making it a mess to clean later if you did not line your sheet pan.
Forty five minutes later and these beautiful pastries were ready! Make sure to remove the pastries from the mold or pan before the sugar fully sets or else they will be a nightmare to remove later.
I baked my kouign amann both in a muffin pan and in pastry rings to see the difference. In a muffin pan, the sugar has no where to go so it caramelizes on the bottom but in a pastry ring, the sugar seeps out from the bottom. Either way, you are left with a flaky pastry with layers of sugar in between and caramelized sugar on the bottom. They are so delicious I cannot even believe it! I cannot even begin to imagine how they taste in France. Lots of work yes, but the end result more than makes up for it.