The name derives from the Breton words for cake (“kouign”) and butter (“amann”).
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Very much inspired by the pastry episode of the Great British Bake Off we could not help but have a go at the Kouign-amann. This interestingly named concoction is a regional specialty of the Bretagne region in France. It is a round ‘crusty cake’, originally made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in resulting in puffed up layers with lovely caramel inside and out. After trying out a few different combinations, we came to the perfect sugar and salt ratio to give our version of this pastry the most satisfying taste.
We also thought our croissant dough would be very well suited to make this variation, using a muffin tin to create the shape you see in the pictures.
Please take note that this pastry will have a layer of hot caramel when you take it out of the oven.
Read the recipe attentively before you start and be very careful while handling the hot cakes!
Making the laminated doughTo make the kouign-amann you need to make laminated dough. This is the same dough used to make croissants. For this recipe you need one batch of laminated dough of approximately 1200 grams.
You can find the recipe and exact instructions on how to make this laminated dough with our croissant recipe here. So, instead of making croissants on day three of the process, you are going to make the Kouign-amann!
Making the Kouign-amannOnce you have made the laminated dough, the hardest part is over. The rest of the recipe is not that difficult. But still make sure you handle the dough with care, because you do not want to damage the carefully built up layers!
Ingredients for the Kouign-amann
1 batch of laminated dough
150 g caster sugar
3 g salt
Equipment: Pestle and mortar, Two muffin / cupcake tins, rolling pin, pizza wheel and a cooling rack.
- Carefully weigh the 3 grams of salt and grind it into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar. This way it will distribute evenly when you add it to the sugar.
- Combine sugar and ground salt and set aside.
- Prepare two muffin tins by greasing the cups with butter and coating them with a thin layer of the sugar-salt mixture. You just need a little bit in each cup, the rest is used for the dough.
- Take the pastry from the fridge and role the slab of dough into a rectangle of 100 x 20 cm / 40 x 8 inches.
- Sprinkle 60 g of the sugar/salt mixture evenly over the dough and gently roll it in with your rolling pin.
- Turn the slab of dough and again sprinkle 60 g of the sugar/salt mixture on this side and again gently roll it into the dough.
- With a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 20 pieces of 10 x 10 cm / 4 x 4 inch each.
Proofing the pastries in their baskets gives them a wonderful light texture to add to the crunch and flakiness
- Lift the first piece of dough by taking up all four sides of the dough with your fingers and gently ease the dough into the first cup. Fill all 20 cups this way.
- Sprinkle the remaining sugar/salt mixture on top of each kouign-amann.
- Cover the tins with clingfilm dusted with flour, so it will not stick. Leave to proof for 45 minutes at warm room temperature.
- Preheat your oven: Fan oven 190 °C / 375 °F – Conventional oven 210 °C / 410 °F. For this recipe we recommend the fan setting.
It is important to turn the pastries upside down immediately after baking!
- Take the pastries to the oven and bake them for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 160 °C / 320 °F and bake for 8 to 10 minutes more.
- VERY IMPORTANT! Immediately turn out the cakes onto a cooling rack after taking them out of the oven and leave them to cool upside down. Otherwise the caramel will harden and stick to the bottom of the tin or the rack. And please do not touch the caramel because it is HOT and will seriously burn your skin!
- When cooled you can turn the cakes right side up again and take a bite out of the flaky, salty caramel goodness that is the Kouign-amann.