The Breton Kouign Amann pastry is utter heaven in a bite. The recipe calls for lots of butter, barely held together with flour and sugar. I am sure once you try it you will be hooked for life. Sorry hips you’re gonna get bigger!
I am so late on this one, this was the April 2016 Daring Kitchen assignment and life got in the way. But I had to do it because Kouign Amann is one of those pastries where I melted IN love at first bite…and it became my nemesis in the kitchen. Finally, for once, I won the battle! Sweet delicious victory!
Kouign Amann is a Breton (France) pastry. Usually prepared like a round cake, it is made made with yeast-based bread dough containing layers of butter folded in several times (like puff pastry) and laminated with sugar.
The slowly baked pastry puffs up from the layers of butter and the sugar caramelizes. In Brittany the word for cake is “kouign” and for butter “amann”. Oh yeah baby it’s a butter cake! Kouign amann originates from the town of Douarnenez in Brittany, some time around 1860.
I tasted my first Kouign Amann years ago but I do not remember when I discovered it. There is also a Breton pastry shop near my work that sell Kouign Amann, so of course I avoid that shop like the plague. This is my second attempt at this recipe, the first back in 2011 (also a Daring Kitchen’s challenge), and it was a fail.
Just like the two times I have tried to make puff pastry from scratch. Am I not patient enough in between folds? Do I roll the dough out too much with the butter in? This time I tried to follow everything to the letter and finally, for the first time in my life, I had a flaky and quite light result!
In this recipe from BBC food we are asked to make it in portions sizes by baking them in muffin tins. The recipe calls for 12 and I only have a tin for 6…so I just baked the remaining 6 as is in squares. They took a bit less time to bake and were just as good.
- 300 g/10 1/2 oz / 2 2/5 cups strong plain flour plus extra for dusting
- 5 g / 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast OR 6.75g / 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 5 g / 1 tsp salt
- 200 ml / 6 3/4 fl oz / 4/5 cup warm water
- 25 g / 1oz / 1 3/4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 250 g / 9oz / 1 1/5 sticks / 1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter in a block
- 100 g / 3 1/2 oz / scant 1/2 cup caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes. NOTE: If using active dry yeast, activate it in the water for 5 minutes first.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
- Sandwich the butter between two sheets of grease-proof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14 cm / 5½” square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm / 8” 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.
- Roll the dough into a 45 x 15cm / 18 x 6” rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
- Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40 x 30cm / 16 x 12” rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with additional caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.
- Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover.
- Sprinkle with additional caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 200°C (fan) / 425°F / Gas Mark 7. Bake the pastries for 30 - 40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelized sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin. Serve warm or cold.
I remember Nigella Lawson with this post, with all that butter and pastry, I dont mind the hips if I can look like young like her even she is already 55+
Well thanks Raymund, you just convinced me there is nothing bad about eating loads of this stuff 😉
Oh, yum! This looks terrific! I’ve had this dish, but it’s not one that I’ve ever made. Really should — it’s truly good stuff. And yours looks perfect. Fun post — thanks.
Thanks John and I urge you to try it, you will not regret it at all!
Evelyne I think you can sit back, pour a glass of wine and enjoy your success! They look utterly delicious!
Thank you Katerina glad you like them. A glass of wine sounds nice lol.
You are amazing! The pastry looks to die for. Sweet, delicious victory indeed!
Thank you so much 😀 It was delicious.
Wow Evelyne…it sure looks beautiful…all the layers…light and flaky…
Have a great week 🙂
Thank you so much Juliana, nad have a great week too!
I was really intrigued by your blog title, totes thinking that I could eat more not so good for me food and get thinner. Lol! I will absolutely be giving your recipe a go, but on a long weekend or holiday so if I stuff it, I can go again. 🙂
Yes, actually they could be a great hiking snack lol! And very motivational to keep walking:-)
This is one of my favourite ever pastries! All that butter-what’s not to love? 😀
Exactly, your were so beautiful too!
Holy crap, this looks really good! I am definitely going to have to make this once we get all moved.
I’m glad they were successful the second time around! 😀
Oh good luck on the move, such a fun thing to do :-S This will be great comfort food for after.
Did you just say butter?? And you say I don’t like everything lol. Okay I may not be a big bread person but for butter I will love this forever lol. You always seem to inspire me one way or another Evelyne :).
Kia / KTS
Well I think I would have disowned you if you said you did not like butter Kia lol. Thank you, as always, for your great comment 🙂
oh wow- looks amazing. I’m not usually much for sweets but I’ll always try a bite. I would definitely try these!
Thanks Nathan, and they are really ,ore about the butter, not much sugar. You may like them more than you think lol.
Oh wow. They look amazing. I’m sure if I made them that won’t look that good, but I’ll give them a try 🙂
Thanks Eileen. it took 4 tries so don’t give up 🙂
So delicious! They look really tasty, glad you persevered and tried the recipe again.
Thanks Elissa, I was so close to never trying again but yeah glad I did!
I LOVE this pastry, and yours look totally perfect. Now I’m craving one… my hips will thank you later 🙂
I am sure Viviane you know this one first hand lol. I apologize to your hips 🙂
Lord that looks delicious. Any reason to cook with butter wins in my book. I might try with clarified butter to feel a bit less guilty!
Thank you Elaine. Alas clarified butter will not work, you need the structure components in the butter (the solids) to make a puff pastry.
This recipe looks lovely as are the pics, I am not much of a baker hence not sure if I will be able to produce wonderful results like yours. Bookmarked it for a day of indulgence! 🙂
Thank you Prateek, well only one way to find out, try when you do feel like baking 🙂
Brava! Just look at all those fabulous layers. This has been on my baking list for years!!!
Thank you so much Liz and I hope it inspires you yto make it soon, it was on my list for far too long.
Looks so flaky and fantastic! Good job creating all those layers.
Thanks Angie, will I be able to do it again in the future lol? I hope.
Yours look fantastic. I might have to make some more now. Glad your pastry worked out ?
I know I am tempted to make more soon, yours looked great too!
This is something worth trying! I can taste the wonderful flavor of this kouign amann. I will definitely make this and hopefully, I won’t fail. 😀
I hope you succeed on the first try Nagi. Actually follow the recipe and be patient…unlike me lol.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS! They are beautiful and way to go trying until you succeeded! I an looking forward to tasting your lovely little creations one day!
Thanks Karyn, I truly only tried again after your last words of encouragement my friend. These are for you (well the next batch).