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Kouign Amann

Black background with a white doily with 6 Kouign Amann

I have written the recipe (for Kouign Amann) twice.  Once in a recipe box (short version) and the other I’ve written is the full procedure. I think you should read the full version the first time you make them.  After that, you’ll know the technique and only need the downloadable version.

Kouign Amann recipe development

I’ve been trying to work out a recipe for Kouign Amann that would encourage you to give them a go at home.  I’ve had a few failed attempts, and found that Aldi butter has water added (not great for laminated pastries or cookies).  Layered pastries are used for croissants or puff pastry. I did wonder why Aldi butter softened so quickly when left on the bench.

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People always think it’s so difficult to make these types of pastries, but it isn’t.  Once you know the technique, it’s quite easy.  I started with the straight butter slab between the dough.  This is the method I was taught back in my training, but it’s an issue if you don’t know what you’re doing at each stage.

The method can be troublesome when the butter is harder or softer than the dough.  If the butter is too hard, it will crack and break up into the dough, causing irregular layers.  Or if the butter is too soft, it will ooze out, and you don’t need oozing. The layers on both occasions will be lost.  Oh and don’t use butter that has added water, that doesn’t work either (check the labels).

Soft versus hard butter

Image-1 was made with the soft butter, and image-2 with a harder butter that has no added water on the label.  See how in the first raw image the layers are sort of wet and blending into each other.  In my experience, butter that has water left in or added softens faster. When I make my own cultured butter, if I don’t wash all the liquid out of the butterfat it stays softer.  I suspect that’s why there is water in this butter, which is excellent for spreading but not for making pastries.

Lamination of pastry gone wrong.
Image-1 poor layering (raw)
Beautiful layers of pastry for Kouign Amann.
Image-2 good layering (cooked)

Then I remembered when I did my Chef Training (before I did my pastry chef training), we were taught to use a mix of butter with a little bit of flour for the buttery layer.  This mix is beaten together and spread out on parchment chilled and layered just like butter slabs.

This second method where you add butter, flour (and sugar for this one) to a food processor is probably better for home use, but it also has issues if you over whip it.  You really don’t want to add much air into your butter, or your layers won’t be tight.  Maybe not suitable for a perfectionist.  After making a batch with this method, I thought it was probably an unnecessary step, so how to sort this out?

Why use grated butter?

Then I remembered seeing a Paul Hollywood recipe for puff pastry on the TV a few years back where he used grated butter for the buttery layers.  Paul grated the butter onto baking paper in the size he wanted and popped it in the freezer on a tray until the time he needed it.  I thought that was a brilliant idea for people to make at home because it would take care of some of the issues of getting the butter layer just the right texture for the dough.

YouTube video
Kouign Amann – cooked and looking great

Grated butter is more malleable than sliced butter sheets, and will easily incorporate for folding purposes.  The biggest issue home bakers have with making puff pastry is keeping the butter layer where it should be.  The butter and dough need to be just the right texture; I think this solves any issues.  So this third method works well, in my opinion, with fewer things to go wrong for the home baker.

The Long Version

A shorter (and printable version) can be found below. This longer version explains everything in detail.  Once you’ve read this method or used it once you’ll find you’ll know what to do.

For the dough:

  • 250 g warm water
  • 5 g dry yeast (that’s a tsp)
  • 15 g sugar
  • 15 g butter cut into around 5g cubes
  • 380 g Bakers flour, plus more as needed this will depend on your flour (you want a very soft dough)
  • 5 g salt, I like to use flaked so 1 heaped tsp of Pink Murray Valley I just crush it a little before it goes in.
  • 10 g Vanilla (I used Queen vanilla paste) 2 tsp

For the buttery filling:

  • 230 g of very cold butter (we’re going to grate this)

For sprinkling the Kouign Amann:

  • 140 g white sugar
  • 5 g crushed sea salt 1 heaped tsp flaked
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Flaked salt (you will need to use just 1 scant tsp if using fine table salt)

Note – I’ve developed this recipe for the Thermomix, but of course you could use a stand mixer.

  • You will need a cupcake tin
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Thermoserver or something similar to keep the dough in for proving
  • Silicon wrap and a tray that fits into your fridge
  • Baking paper

Method:

  1. Weight the 250 gm of water and 15 gm sugar into the TM bowl and set for 3.5 min/45°c/speed 1.5 *see tips if you have a TM 31
  2. When the time is up, sprinkle the 1 tsp of yeast over the water in the bowl.  Try not to hit the blades; it won’t do any good up there.  With the MC in place Whisk for 6 seconds/ speed 3
  3. Dump in the 380 g flour, tsp salt, 15 g of butter and 2 tsp of vanilla into the TM bowl and again with the MC in the mix for 10 seconds/speed 5.
  4. Take a look at your dough; if it has come away from the sides of your bowl, then it’s a good texture if it hasn’t, add 1 tbsp of flour to the TM bowl and mix for 5 seconds/speed 5. This should do the trick but if not add another and mix again.  You want this dough to be soft.  Dry dough will give you a dry hard result.
  5. Once the dough has come away from the sides of the bowl knead for 4 minutes /Interval speed (knead or wheat symbol)
  6. Transfer to a buttered Thermo server or other bowl and cover with a lid or clingfilm.  The dough should still be a little warm from the TM but pop it in a warm spot if you can. You need to give it between 30 mins to 1 hour to prove until doubled in size. If it hasn’t doubled, just leave it until it does.  Many factors will slow this process down, so be patient.
  7. While this is proofing grab two sheets of Baking Paper (around 45 x 30 cm not exact) Grate ½ your butter over the surface of each sheet then place them in the freezer.  (my freezer shelves In the house are tiny, and they sort of have to scrunch up a bit so don’t worry if yours are the same. Leave them there in the freezer until you need them later.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and shape it as best as you can into a rectangle by flattening with a rolling pin and stretching and rolling out to a rectangle that’s about ½ cm thick.  Use your fingers to pull the corners out so it’s as squared off as you can.
  9. Take your grated butter from the freezer and tip one layer over the dough.  Try to keep a rim of around a 1/2 inch (2 cm) around the border (this is so the butter doesn’t escape later) Flour up your hands then press the butter down onto the surface of the dough, so it sticks to the dough and not your hands.  Now take one-third of the dough (short edge) and fold it over then do the other side and fold that over the top.
  10. Then repeat the process, roll it out and add the second layer of chilled butter and fold as you did before.
  11. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  12. After an hour or even two if timing suits you better.  Make up your sugar/salt sprinkle by weighing them into a small bowl and mixing.  Grab your cupcake tin and butter the insides of each round and sprinkle with some of the sugar.  I know you think there is a lot of butter in this recipe, you need to do this unless you have an excellent non-stick pan, you don’t want to have gone to all this trouble only to find your Kouign Amann have stuck.
  13. This next step needs to be done without stopping.  No need to panic but sugar and salt are humectants, which means they draw water.  If you were to walk away to answer a phone, make a cuppa or catch up with what’s happening on Game Of Thrones, you’d come back to a wet dough that will be hard to work with.
  14. So get organised first then remove the dough from the fridge.
  15. After lots of testing, I like to use a book fold here because it shortens the process and keeps everything cool while you’re working on it.  A book fold is where you roll it out to a longer rectangle and fold ¼ of the dough over toward the centre then you take the other side and fold ¼ over toward the centre then finally you fold the dough in half.  This gives you more layers in one process.  So before you start to, sprinkle some of the sugar/ salt mix onto the clean, dry benchtop.  Set the dough on top, sprinkle more sugar/salt over the top of the dough and start rolling.  Hold back about a tablespoon of salt sugar for sprinkling over later. We’re using this sugar/salt mix like we would flour to keep the dough from sticking to the bench, but in this case, we’re also adding a sugary, salty layer over the surface.
  16. Keep rolling until it’s just under ½ cm thick and as much of a rectangle as you can because you want to cut these into squares.  Being challenged with maths, I always have a workaround. My cupcake tin is 3 x 4, so I’m working with that.  Cut into squares 3 x 4 That’ll work.  ?  I start by cutting the long edge in half then each half by half again.  Then cut the short edge by 3.
  17. I use a pasta wheel, but you could use a pizza wheel or a knife.  If you use a knife just make sure you don’t drag the dough with it.  You need to cut straight down to keep all those lovely layers.  Press the knife down, cut, lift, press the knife down, cut lift and so on.  If you drag the blade, you’ll muddy up your layers, and they won’t look all beautiful when they puff while baking.
  18. Now take up one square and fold each corner into the centre, so all the points are all touching then pop it in the cupcake tray.  Repeat until you’re done.  Sprinkle what’s left of your sugar on the top of the Kouign Amann them set aside in the fridge.  Turn the oven on now, and when it is at temperature, take your Kouign Amann from the fridge and bake until dark golden brown.  This should take around 20 minutes, possibly longer.  If there’s one thing I tell people over and over when making puff pastry or croissants, and that is bake until dark golden brown. When you think they’re ready you can often give them another 5 minutes.  You want the centres to be cooked all the way through.
  19. Remove them from the tray as soon as they come out of the oven.  Use a pair of tongs the caramel is hot.  If you don’t do this now, the caramel will set them in place.  You definitely don’t want that to happen.

The short version (for printing)

Kouign Amann in a muffin tray

Kouign Amann

5 from 3 votes

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becs-table.com.au
Bec's Kouign Amann Kouign Amann (pronounced queen a-mahn). Never heard of them? Well, think sweet Croissants with crunchy bits of caramelisation on top.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Difficulty Patience required
Course Pastry
Cuisine French
Servings 12
Method Thermomix

Ingredients
  

For the dough:

  • 250 g warm water
  • 5 g dry yeast that’s a tsp
  • 15 g sugar
  • 15 g butter cut into around 5g cubes
  • 380 g Bakers flour plus more as needed this will depend on your flour (you want a very soft dough)
  • 5 g salt I like to use flaked so 1 heaped tsp of Pink Murray Valley I just crush it before it goes in.
  • 10 g Vanilla I used Queen vanilla paste 2 tsp
  • For the buttery filling
  • 230 g of very cold butter we’re going to grate this
  • For sprinkling the Kouign Amann
  • 140 g white sugar
  • 5 g crushed sea salt 1 heaped tsp flaked
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Flaked salt you will need to use just 1 tsp if using fine table salt
  • butter for greasing your cupcake tin along with a little sugar to dust go on you might as well. 😉

Instructions
 

  • Weigh the 250 gm of water and 15 gm sugar into the TM bowl. Set 3.5 min/45°c/speed 1.5 *See tips for TM 31 owners
  • When the time is up, sprinkle the 1 tsp yeas over the warmed water. (Don’t hit the blades) MC in set to whisk for 6 seconds/ speed 3
  • Dump in the 380g flour, tsp salt,15 gm butter and 2 tsp vanilla into the TM bowl and with the MC in place mix for 10 sec/speed 5.
  • Adjust your dough if necessary *read long method with tips.
  • Set the TM for 4 minutes/Interval speed (knead, wheat symbol),
  • Transfer the dough to a buttered thermo server or similar (*see long method for tips) and pop into a warm place and prove until doubled in size (about an hour)
  • While the dough is proving, grate your butter over two sheets of baking paper. Equally divided across the two. Then place them in the freezer. (More notes in the long method if you need them) And prepare your cupcake tin.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, dust your benchtop and remove the dough from the bowl dust the top of your dough and start rolling out to a rectangle. (Don’t use too much flour for dusting, just enough to prevent sticking)
  • Grab the grated butter from the freezer and place one layer over the surface of your dough and press down with floured hands
  • Fold your dough into thirds then roll again into a rectangle and repeat with the next layer of butter and fold.
  • This time dust a tray with flour sit your dough on it and cover with cling film. Place it in the fridge and allow it to chill for at least 1 hour
  • After your dough has chilled for an hour, make up your sugar/salt sprinkle and dust 1/4 of it over the benchtop. Set the dough on top and roll out the dough, sprinkle some sugar over the top as you go pressing it into the surface of the dough. (Use it all but around one tablespoon) Keep rolling the dough until it’s approximately 1/2 cm thick.
  • Use a knife, pasta, or pizza wheel to cut your dough into 12 squares. (more notes in the extended version)
  • Take up each square and fold each corner into the centre, so they’re all touching then place it in the prepared cupcake tin, repeat until filled then place it in the fridge.
  • Pop the oven on to 180°c fan and once at temperature, remove the tray from the fridge and place it in the oven. Bake until deep golden brown. Start checking at 20 minutes but it could take 5 – 10 minutes longer.
  • Remove them from the tray as soon as they come out of the oven. Use a pair of tongs the caramel is hot.

Notes

Bec’s Added Tips
If you own a TM 31, you won’t be able to set your temperature to 45°c but don’t fear set it to 50°c then wait for the light to go out on the 50°c, so you know the temperature has dropped then add your yeast.
I like to use bakers flour for these, but you could use plain for this recipe if you don’t have any.  Bakers flour has more gluten so it will stretch nicely as it rises, it will help keep your layers without tearing.  Because we’re not letting this prove for long, it won’t be so much of a drama.

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