Friday, March 11, 2011

Kouign Amann

one of the kouignettes
 I had no idea of what kouign amann was and it would have been all the same to me if it wasn't David Lebovitz who made me crave for it. A week ago I had my birthday and instead of making a fancy looking gateaux or a luscious entremet I ended up with these – a 20 cm kouign amann and 2 little kouignettes. Strange choice for a birthday dessert. Even Ivan was suspicious of what I'm doing.


Now I can say I love kouign amann, but making it was nerve-wracking. The dough is sticky and very hard to work with but this is how it should be. Usually I find working with dough to be a calming and relaxing thing, but not with this one. Although it got on my nerves, the end result was a buttery and caramelized deliciousness. But the next time I make it, I'll definitely add more flour and try it with not so sticky dough.

the big one

Kouign Amann Recipe:
Adapted from David Lebovitz
  • 7 gr fresh yeast;
  • 175 ml tepid water;
  • 260 gr all purpose flour;
  • 4 gr salt;
  • 110 gr salted butter (since salted butter ain't popular here I had to replace it with ordinary butter and added ½ tsp sea salt crystals for the salty effect);
  • 200 gr sugar (divided) + additional for rolling out the pastry;
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt crystals;
  • 2-3 Tbsp melted salted butter.
Note: Bench or pastry scraper is a must here. It will help with turning, as well as to keep the dough from sticking to the counter top.


In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water. Sift in the flour and salt (the 4 grams), then combine to get a sticky dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes. I did this with the electric mixer equipped with the dough hooks.

David suggests “If the dough is very sticky, knead in just enough flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.” But apparently I've slept through this when reading his instructions and didn't add any extra flour so my dough was sticky as hell. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place to double in bulk (about an hour).

On a lightly floured counter top roll the dough out to a rectangle(A4 size, large side toward you). Mentally divide the rectangle into 3 equal vertical parts. Distribute the butter into the middle part, then sprinkle 50 grams of the sugar on top. Fold the rectangle as you would fold a letter. Sprinkle the entire length of the folded “letter” with 50 gr of the sugar and (without rolling) fold again into thirds, as before. Cover in a bowl and place for an hour in the fridge to chill.

Dust the counter lightly with sugar, then roll the dough out to a rectangle(A4). Sprinkle with 50 more grams of the sugar and half of the sea salt crystals. Again fold in thirds and let rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220ÂșC and brush a baking pan with butter. The dough is supposed to fit in a 23cm baking dish, but I made it in a 20cm one and 2 small ramequins.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Lightly dust the counter top with sugar and roll the dough out to a circle(the size of the baking dish). Transferring it into the baking dish is a hard task, but use the bench scraper to help yourself. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar and sea salt crystals on top and drizzle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of melted butter.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes (30 for the kouignettes). The top must be nicely caramelized. After taking out of the oven let it stand for a few minutes, then run a spatula around the edges and slide the kouign amann onto a wire rack.

If you restrain yourself and don't eat it immediately warm it up in the oven before eating.

We are sending this to Susan from Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! I have to try this recipe. We love this stuff and eat it every summer when we go to Brittany.

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  2. @ Iz, I loved it, but maybe if I have read David Lebovitz' instructions more carefully I would have seen that it's ok to add some more flour. My dough was extremely sticky and if it wasn't the bench scraper I wouldn't have managed to deal with it.
    Except Paris I've been only to Normandy, but one day I dream to make a tour of all the regions in France :)

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  3. I feel it love with this at a local bakery. So great to have a recipe to make at home.

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  4. I've never heard of this before but it sounds heavenly. As always your photos are lovely. Do you know where the name of this comes from?
    I have a bench scraper and it is one of the most useful tools in my kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sally, the name comes from Breton and it means "butter cake", and according to the original recipe from 1860 it contains 400gr of flour, 300gr of butter, 300gr of sugar, but I thought this was too much butter.
    The bench scraper is indeed very needed here :)

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