Kouign Amann maybe isn’t fun to pronounce, but is definitely fun to make. It’s a round Breton cake made of yeast dough with butter and sugar layers folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry.
By Tamara Novakovic
The name of this pastry derives from the Breton word for cake (kouign) and butter (amann). The sugar caramelizes while baking and what you end up with is sweet, sticky, flaky and buttery goodness. No wonder butter-loving Bretons invented a cake like this. The key to success with kouign amann is not pushing anything too fast. This is why the actual hands-on time is only about 30 minutes, but the pastries still take all afternoon to make. All the downtime is just to give the dough time to rise and to give the butter time to chill in the fridge between turns. Keeping the butter chilled is crucial for creating all the lovely, flakey layers of pastry. Use the best butter you can find (preferably salted). You can shape kouign amann into rolls, or place the dough into muffin tins, or make one large round cake.
For this rich pastry, I consulted David Lebovitz’s recipe.
- ¾ cup (175 ml) lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp (12 g) active dry or instant yeast
- 2 cups (260 g) cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (110 g) cold salted butter, plus extra to grease the pans and pour over dough before baking
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- Combine yeast and water and let stand for 10 minutes. Add flour and salt. Knead until soft dough forms, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour in warm place. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface (into a rectangle shape). Cut cold butter into cubes and scatter over the middle of the rectangle dough. Sprinkle with ¼ cup (50 g) of sugar and fold each end towards the middle. Sprinkle with another ¼ cup of sugar and fold again. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Sprinkle work surface with sugar, place the dough onto it, sprinkle with another ¼ cup of sugar and roll out into a rectangle. Fold all four sides again and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
- You can, at this point, roll out the dough into a circle and bake in a pie pan, or make bun-shaped individual portions and bake in small round tins or muffin tins. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and pour a tablespoon of melted butter over the dough.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Tamara Novakovic is a passionate self-taught cook, food blogger, freelance food writer and photographer behind bite-my-cake.blogspot.com. Her life journey has led her through Faculty of Humanities in Zagreb, Croatia to discovering passion for making cakes. She is currently a weekly food columnist for Croatian newspaper V magazine and food magazine Repete.