Kouign Amann is a croissant dough with sugar layered in during the last turn so after it’s baked the pastries are sweet, crunchy, buttery and super flaky.
There’s a local pastry restaurant, Les Madeleines, that makes the most heavenly kouign amann. It’s where I had my first kouign amann and it was love at first bite. Lately, a group of bloggers have been posting kouign amann recipes, and I wanted to get in on the fun too. So I decided for the second of eight recipes I’m creating for Red Star Yeast this year I’d make kouign amann.
To make kouign amann you need to make a laminated dough, which is a simple yeast dough that you wrap around a butter block. I used Red Star Quick Rise Yeast so I could mix the yeast in with the flour which speeds up the process. There’s great tips on using quick rise yeast on the Red Star website, including using a thermometer to determine the correct water temperature.
The recipe uses european style butter because it contains less water and will make your pastry flakier. You roll out the butter to create a butter block to put in the middle of the dough. A quart size plastic bag is the perfect tool to help easily create the 6-inch butter square you need.
Once you’ve encased the butter in the dough, you roll out the dough in to a rectangle, fold the bottom third up and the top third down on top of the bottom third. Then you’ll cover the dough and put it in the refrigerator to chill for thirty minutes.
After thirty minutes, you turn the dough so it opens like a book and then roll it out again. You’ll do four of these “turns”, refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes after each turn so that the dough and butter stays cold.
I rolled my dough out on a Silicone Pastry Mat which made it easy to fold the dough for the turns. If you’re not using a mat, be sure and keep your counter floured, and use a pastry scraper if necessary to loosen the dough from the counter.
A couple of things set my kouign amann recipe apart from the others. First, I simplified the recipe by using my KitchenAid mixer to do the mixing and kneading of the dough, and used a plastic bag to make the butter block. Secondly, on Les Madeleines website it says the secret to their amazing kouign amann is the addition of fleur de sel, a French sea salt, so I added fine sea salt to my pastries as well.
The pastries come out of the oven extra crispy but soften up as the day goes on, so it’s best to devour them the day you make them.
My family was happy to devour all 12 pastries the day they were made. However, if you have one or two left, put them in the freezer and warm them up in the oven to crisp them up before you serve them.
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Red Star Instant Yeast (Platinum or Quick Rise)
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup warm water, 120° – 130°
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 8 ounces cold European butter
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon Flor de Sal or fine sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt. Add warm water and melted butter to flour mixture. Beat 1 minute at medium speed. Switch to the dough hook and gradually mix in remaining flour to make a smooth dough, add more or less flour as necessary. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough doubles in size.
While dough rises, make butter block. Put butter in a quart size zipper bag and with a rolling pin, roll out in to a 6 inch square. Place in the fridge to chill.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 8 inch square. Place the butter in the center of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
First turn: Roll the dough into a 18 x 6 inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over, like folding a letter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Second turn: Turn the dough so the open end is on the right (like opening a book) and roll the dough into a 18 x 6 inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough on top of the bottom third. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Third turn: Rotate the dough so the open end is on the right and roll the dough into a 18 x 6 inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough on top of the bottom third. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fourth turn: Rotate the dough so the open end is on the right and roll the dough into a 18 x 6 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup superfine sugar and sea salt. Press lightly with the rolling pin to help it stick. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough on top of the bottom third. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with 2 tablespoons superfine sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.
Grease a 12-cup muffin pan well with butter. For each square, pull the four corners towards the center, so it looks like a four-leaf clover. Press the corners together and place in a muffin cup. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons superfine sugar.
Cover the kouign amann loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes or until slightly puffed up.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through to prevent burning.
Remove from the oven and cool for several minutes in the pan. Use a spatula or butter knife to loosen the pastries from the muffin cups and place on a wire rack to cool.
Do not let the pastries cool in the pan or they will be difficult to remove.
Kouign Amann is best eaten the day they’re made. If you don’t polish them off in one day, put them in the freezer and warm them in the oven to crisp them up before serving.
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