- Yield: 12
- Prep Time: 3h 30 min
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
"What in the world is this and how do I even pronounce it?" Those were the first questions that popped into my mind when I saw them on the Great British Baking Show as a technical challenge. They sounded very pretentious and annoying, but when I saw how they looked like when properly made, i.e. when I saw Paul Hollywood's version of them, I was very intrigued. I also told myself that I'm never going to attempt such a Herculean task and would just let the memory drift to the back of my brain. Until one day I came across b.patisserie on California St and their signature bake: a Kouign Amann. Of course I had to get one and after the first bite into this buttery, flaky, sweet thing, I was sold. Fortunately, I live far enough away from that place to not go there every single day for a treat or I could be featured on 'My 600lbs life', soon.
I know, I said I'd never make them myself. But then I saw the Masterclass of The Great British Baking Show and Paul Hollywood made them from scratch, laying out all the details and showing how it's done. And a while ago I did my first attempt in making Danish Dough from scratch and the whole thing wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It sure takes time to rest the dough between turns, and you have to apply a certain level of precision and dedication. But there's nothing to them, that makes it terribly difficult. I believe, if you follow the step by step instructions carefully, you should be able to put these dreamy pastries together in no time. Well, some time because of proofing and chilling pauses. This recipe is put together from the online version of Paul's recipe and incorporates tips and tricks from the masterclass episode. The part about filling them comes from me, I tried it out and it works splendidly.
A few remarks:
- First of all, read all the steps of the recipe careful before you start. This applies to every recipe everywhere, but especially for this one, so you know what you're in for.
- You can use the electric mixer with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated, then for another 7-8 minutes on medium speed. Put onto a lightly floured surface and give if a few kneads, then put it in a bowl to proof.
- The recipe calls for caster sugar and I did not dare to use regular granulated sugar instead. I'm pretty sure it would work but also that the finer sugar melts more easily when it's baked. You can either buy caster sugar (also called fine baking sugar) or make your own by giving regular sugar a few pulses in the food processor.
- If you want to make the dough in advance, do not put in the sugar layer. If you put in the sugar and freeze the dough, the sugar will melt into the dough during the defrosting period. Instead stop after step 10, warp into plastic foil, put into a freezer bag and freeze (or keep in the fridge overnight. To use it, defrost over night in the fridge (it has to stay cool, do not defrost at room temperature or the butter layers will melt into the dough) and continue with step 11.
- While plain Kouign Amanns are already a treat, you can easily add a dollop of something into the center of each 10x10 square before dropping it into the muffin pan. Think of a few fresh berries, chocolate, Nutella, nuts ... Just don't overstuff it.
- For the Dough
- Bread Flour - 300g
- Water - 200ml, directly from tap
- Instant Dry Yeast - 5g
- Salt - 5g
- Butter - 25g, melted
- To Finish
- Unsalted European Butter - 1/2 lbs, 2 sticks, cold
- Caster Sugar - 100g
- Pour the flour into a large enough bowl, add the yeast on the left side and the salt on the right side. You don't want them to tough right away because it could slow down the yeast.
- Add about 3/4 of the water and the butter and - with a wooden spoon - mix it until it comes together.
- Add the remaining water and keep mixing until the dough incorporates all the bits of flour from the bowl and forms a rough ball.
- Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough for a good 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and less sticky.
- Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for at least 1.5 hours.
- While the dough is proofing, draw a 14 x 14cm square on a sheet of parchment paper and lay it on your workspace, pencil side down (it will shine through but you don't end up with marker in your dough).
- Put the cold butter in the center of the rectangle, cover with a second sheet of parchment and whack it with a rolling pin until its softening and filling the square. I used a block of European butter (Kerrygold) and cut this in 4 equal sized parts which I arranged in a square (don't mind the whole in the middle, it'll fill). Use the back of a knife to careful push the butter into the square and make sharp lines.
- Lightly flour your surface and roll the dough to a 20 x 20 cm square. Put the butter square diagonally in the center of the dough and fold the corners over like an envelope.
- For the first round, press square down with the rolling pin to flatten the butter inside the dough, then roll into a roughly 45 x 15 cm rectangle and then fold one third in and the other third on top. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- Repeat step 9 for two more times.
- Roll the dough out to 45 x 15 cm again and sprinkle 100g of caster sugar evenly over the entire surface. Press down with the rolling pin and then fold once more.
- Right away, roll out to a 40 x 30 cm rectangle and cut into 12 squares of 10 x 10 cm size.
- Pick each square up by the corners, so it looks like a parcel and drop them into a greased muffin form.
- Cover and let proof one last time for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 30 - 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Cover up with aluminum foil if tops turn dark too fast.
- Let cool in the form for a few minutes, and then cool on a wire rack. Don't wait too long or the sugar hardens and makes the baked Kouign Amanns stick to the pan.
- If desired, sprinkle with confectioners sugar to make different fillings discernible.