Koiugn amann (pronounced queen a-mahn) originally hail from Brittany, a region of France known for its incredibly delicious butter, so it's no surprise that they are chock-full of the stuff. Kouign Amann are similar to croissants in that they are made from yeast dough laminated with butter, but a higher butter to flour ratio and a healthy sprinkle of sugar make them rich, crunchy, and totally irresistible. Kouign Amann are traditionally baked in pastry rings, but if you don't have them, a muffin tin will do the job just fine. Use the very best butter you can afford in this recipe. Butter from Brittany would be most appropriate, but any good European-style butter will do. Just make sure it is salted. Adapted from The Kitchn and David Lebovitz. —Yossy Arefi
water at 110ºF
active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups
salted butter, cool but pliable
1 1/2 cups
additional butter to grease molds
additional sugar for rolling
In This Recipe
Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add the flour and salt and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes or until it is smooth, but still tacky. If the dough sticks to the bowl add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth. If the dough seems stiff and dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth.
Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise for one hour or until doubled in size. Alternately, let the dough rise in the refrigerator over night, covered with plastic wrap.
After the dough has risen, put in in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. This will help keep the butter cool in the following steps. This step is not necessary if the dough proofed overnight in the refrigerator.
Roll the dough into a roughly 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface. Gently and carefully spread the cool but pliable butter on to the left 2/3rds of the dough, leaving the right side bare.
Fold the right, unbuttered side of the dough over the buttered dough, then fold the remaining 1/3 of buttered dough over to the right, like a letter. Gently press the seams of the dough to hold the butter in place. Flour the board again if necessary, rotate the dough 90 degrees, and roll it into a roughly 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Again, fold it into thirds like a letter. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured quarter sheet pan and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Be careful to not let the dough get too cold or the butter will harden and tear the dough when you try to roll it out again.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a well-floured surface and again roll it into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with 3/4 cups of sugar and press gently (this will seem like a lot of sugar). Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter and repeat the rolling, sprinkling, and folding process with the remaining 3/4 cups sugar. Transfer the dough back to the floured quarter sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling prepare the muffin tins by very generously buttering them and arranging them on parchment lined baking sheets.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a surface that has been generously sprinkled with sugar. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 8-inches by 24-inches. Use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to trim the folded edges to straighten and expose the layers then cut the dough into 12 even squares.
Fold the corners of each square towards the center and tuck each square into the muffin tin or pastry ring. Let them rise until slightly puffy, 30-40 minutes. Alternately, the kouign amann can be refrigerated overnight (before rising) and baked the next day. If you'd like to take advantage of that option make sure to bring the pastries back to room temperature and rise before baking.
While the kouign amann are rising, preheat the oven to 400º. Place the baking sheets into the oven and lower the temperature to 350º. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastries are deep golden brown (just shy of burnt). Let cool briefly and remove the kouign amann from the muffin tins or pastry rings to a rack. Do not let them cool in the pans or they will stick and you will have a real mess on your hands. These treats are best enjoyed warm, the day that they are baked.
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.