How to Make Kouign Amann
Kouign amann is a unique pastry from Brittany, France. Yeasted layers of dough are combined with lots of butter and sugar to create a decadent treat. While you can make one larger kouign amann, you can easily create individual kouign amann that are baked in a muffin pan or pastry rings. Mix up a dough with yeast, incorporate cold, salted butter, and shape the kouign amann. Bake the buttery, sugary pastries until they become caramelized and crisp. For the best texture, enjoy kouign amann the same day you bake them.
1 cup (240 ml) water, room temperature
2 teaspoons (5.5 g) active dry or instant yeast
2 3/4 cups (343 g) all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (226 g) cold salted butter, plus extra to grease the pans
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar, divided, plus extra for shaping the pastries
Makes 12 pastries
Mixing and Kneading the Dough
Activate the yeast.Pour 1 cup (240 ml) of room temperature water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle 2 teaspoons (5.5 g) of active dry or instant yeast over the water. Stir the yeast and water together. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes.
- Ensure that you're using yeast that hasn't expired.
- You should notice a few bubbles on the surface of the water once the yeast begins to activate.
Stir in the salt and some of the flour.Measure out 2 3/4 cups (343 g) of all-purpose flour. Scoop out 1/4 of a cup (31 g) and set it aside. Pour 2 1/2 cups (312 g) of the flour into the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Use a strong spoon to stir the mixture.
- The dough will look floury and shaggy at this point.
Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes.Place the mixing bowl in a stand mixer and attach the dough hook. Turn the mixer on to low and knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough should become smooth.
- If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl after 4 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- If the dough is too dry and doesn't form a shaggy dough, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it becomes smooth.
- If you don't have a stand mixer, you could knead the dough using your hands. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes.
Prove the dough for 1 hour.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen cloth. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rest for one hour. It should double in size.
Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.Once your dough has doubled in volume, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out and fold in the butter.
- If you want to make the dough ahead of time, you can chill it up to overnight.
Incorporating the Butter
Pound the butter.Get out the reserved 1/4 cup (31 g) of flour. Sprinkle your work surface with a few tablespoons of the flour. Get out 8 ounces (226 g) of cold, salted butter and set it on the counter. Sprinkle the butter with a tablespoon or two of the flour. Use a rolling pin to gently pound or tap the butter. Once the flour is sticking to the butter, you can pound the butter harder.
- Pounding the butter will soften it, so you can roll it out to fit the dough. It will also keep the butter cold, so it doesn't lose its shape.
Pound the butter into a small rectangle.Keep pounding the butter, so it begins to spread out. Fold it over occasionally, so it doesn't spread too thinly or warm up. Use a bench scraper to fold and move the butter. You should be able to form a 6 x 10-inch (15 x 25-cm) rectangle.
- The butter should become flexible once you've pounded it enough.
- If the butter sticks to your rolling pin, sprinkle it with a few more tablespoons of flour.
Chill the butter.Use the bench scraper to carefully lift up the butter rectangle. Place it on a baking sheet and put the sheet in the refrigerator. Chill the butter while you roll out the dough.
- Avoid chilling the butter rectangle for more than 15 minutes or it may become to firm to work with.
Roll the dough into a rectangle.Get the bowl of dough out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap or towel. Sprinkle your work surface with more flour and scoop the dough onto it. Use the rolling pin to roll the chilled dough into a rough rectangle. It should be about 12 x 20-inches (30.5 x 50.75-cm).
Wrap the dough over the butter.Take the butter rectangle out of the refrigerator and set it on the center of the dough rectangle. Fold the longer ends of the dough rectangle over and onto the butter rectangle. Use the rolling pin to seal the dough together. Fold the longer ends over again.
- Fold the sides of the dough over the butter as though you're folding a letter.
- The butter should be completely enclosed in the dough.
Turning and Chilling the Dough
Roll and fold the dough.Turn the dough so the narrow end of the rectangle is facing towards you. Roll the dough into a 12 x 20-inch (30.5 x 50.75-cm) rectangle. Fold the top third of the rectangle down towards the middle and fold the bottom third of the rectangle up towards the middle. This makes one turn of the dough.
- Turning the dough means that you've rolled and folded the dough. This incorporates the butter into the dough while keeping distinct, thin layers.
- You'll need to do a total of 4 turns to make the kouign amann.
Complete another turn.Turn the dough 90 degrees, so the long side is facing you again. Roll the dough into a 12 x 20-inch (30.5 x 50.75-cm) rectangle. Fold the top third of the rectangle down towards the middle and fold the bottom third of the rectangle up towards the middle.
- You've now done two turns.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes.Place the folded dough onto the baking sheet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put the sheet in the refrigerator. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. This will keep the dough from softening and spreading too much.
- Avoid chilling the dough for more than 30 minutes or the butter in the dough will lose its flexibility.
Sprinkle the dough with sugar and do a turn.Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Set it on your floured work surface, so the narrow end of the rectangle is facing you. Roll the dough out to a 12 x 20-inch (30.5 x 50.75-cm) rectangle. Sprinkle half (3/4 cup or 150 g) of the sugar over the rectangle. Fold the top third of the rectangle down towards the middle and fold the bottom third of the rectangle up towards the middle.
- This completes the third turn.
Sprinkle the dough with more sugar and do the final turn.Turn the dough 90 degrees, so the open side is facing you. Roll the dough into a 12 x 20-inch (30.5 x 50.75-cm) rectangle. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup (150 g) of sugar over the dough. Fold the top third of the rectangle down towards the middle and fold the bottom third of the rectangle up towards the middle.
- If some of the sugar falls out of the dough, just press it back in.
- You've now finished turning the dough.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes.Place the folded dough back onto the baking sheet. Cover it with plastic wrap and put the dough back into the refrigerator. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to help the butter firm up a little.
Shaping the Kouign Amann
Prepare the pan or rings.Get out a muffin pan or 12 pastry rings. Use extra butter to grease the insides of the pan or the rings. If you're using the pastry rings, lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place the greased rings on the sheet. Set the pan or sheet of rings aside while you shape the kouign amann.
Roll the dough into a rectangle.Sprinkle your work surface with extra sugar. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Set the dough on the sugared counter and sprinkle more sugar over the dough. Roll the chilled dough out to an 8 x 24-inch (20 x 61-cm) rectangle.
- The rectangle should be about 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick.
Shape 12 kougin amann.Slice the rectangle in half lengthwise, so you have two pieces that are 4 x 24-inches (10 x 61-cm). Slice each of these rectangles into 4 x 4-inch (10 x 10-cm) squares. You should get 12 squares total. Fold the corners of each square towards its center.
- You can use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the squares.
Place the kouign amann in the pans or rings.Place each square into the prepared muffin tin or pastry rings. The seams should be facing up, so they can expand as the kouign amann bakes. If you're using the muffin pan, you'll need to squish each square in a little to get it to fit.
- If you want to make the kouign amann ahead of time, prepare it up to this step and then refrigerate them. Ensure that they're covered as they chill. When you're ready to bake them, you can set them out at room temperature and let them rest for one hour before you bake them.
Prove the kouign amann for 30 to 40 minutes.Lay a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over the kouign amann. Let them rest in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes. The kouign amann should puff up a little.
Baking the Kouign Amann
Preheat the oven.Turn the oven on to 400 degrees F (200 C) when you begin to prove the kouign amann for the last time. Ensure that the rack is in the center of the oven.
- If you wait until the dough has finished proving to turn on the oven, the kouign amann may over prove.
Bake the kouign amann for 40 to 45 minutes.Place the muffin tray or kouign amann in rings on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F (180 C). Bake the kouign amann for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the tray halfway through the baking time, so they brown evenly.
- The kouign amann should be dark golden and look caramelized.
Remove and serve the kouign amann.Carefully take the pan out of the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Let them cool a minute and then gently remove them from the pan or molds. Put the kouign amann on the wire rack to cool. Serve them warm or cooled.
- Remove the kouign amann from the pan before they cool and harden in the pan.
- Avoid storing leftover kouign amann. They'll become soggy over time.
- When you're incorporating the butter, keep the work surface, dough, and rolling pin floured to keep things from sticking.
- If the butter is melting or it's hot out, you may want to chill the dough for 30 minutes after you do each turn.
Video: Kouign–Amann Recipe / No Mixer – Bruno Albouze – The Real Deal
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