A kouign amann (prounounced “kwee-amahn”) is a round crusty pastry that originated in Brittany in roughly 1860. It is made with a bread dough that is laminated (think of a croissant or puff pastry) and then sprinkled with sugar before being cut into squares and baked in muffin tins. I became aware of this morning pastry as I watched an episode of The Great British Bake Off and was keenly interested in trying it simply because I’d never heard of it before and really, you can’t go wrong with layers of dough, butter, and sugar … right??
Recipe Source: BBC Food (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/kouign_amann_09102)
You can find the recipe PDF here
Notes: There are many recipes available online, but the BBC Food recipe included in this challenge is the one I had the most success with.
The traditional kouign amann is rather basic in terms of flavor, but feel free to experiment! Maybe sprinkle your with cinnamon sugar instead of plain sugar? How about a little chocolate? Go wild!
Preparation time: 3-4 hours
A stand mixer with a dough hook isn’t required, but is definitely helpful
12-cup muffin tin
300g/10 1/2 oz / 2 2/5 cups strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
5g / 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast OR 6.75g / 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
5g / 1 tsp salt
200ml / 6 3/4 fl oz / 4/5 cup warm water
25g / 1oz / 1 3/4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
250g / 9oz / 1 1/5 sticks / 1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, in a block
100g / 3 1/2 oz / scant 1/2 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Serve warm or cold.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Best eaten soon after baking; store in air-tight container for up to 24 hours.
I allowed my first attempt to rest in the refrigerator overnight between the 2nd and 3rd turns and my final kouign amann had a slight sourdough taste to it. So, I suggest completing the entire process in a single day.
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