Kouign amann is to yeasted puff pastry what a palmier is to classic puff pastry. The dough is coated generously in sugar by rolling it in sugar instead of flour during the final shaping stages. Sweet maple sugar makes a particularly delicious and caramelized exterior crust, because the sugar is typically superfine and dissolves readily on the surface of the dough. Unlike some other pastries made with yeasted puff, kouign amann are more prone to burning because of their sugared surface. For this reason, the baking temperature starts high to get the initial oven spring from the dough, then gets lowered so the pastries can slowly become a deep golden brown. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and showing us all the mistakes we might make along the way. Today, a crash course in yeasted puff pastry—the labor-of-love dough for crispy-tender croissants, danish, kouign amann, and more. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 hours
- Cook time 35 minutes
- makes 12 pastries
Softened unsalted butter, as needed for preparing pans
recipe yeasted puff pastry (https://food52.com/recipes...)
(198g) maple sugar, plus more for finishing
Egg wash, as needed for finishing
- Place 12 (3-inch) pastry rings on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and lightly grease the inside with butter. Alternatively, lightly grease the cavities of a 12-cup muffin pan with butter.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an 8 by 24-inch rectangle. After the first few times of rolling it out, begin sprinkling the surface of both sides of the dough with the maple sugar as you roll. Be generous, aiming to use all of the 1 cup (198g) sugar by the time the dough reaches the correct size. Cut the dough into 12 even squares.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the corners inward and gently press to turn the square into a slightly rounded shape. Transfer to the prepared pastry rings or muffin pan.
- Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until nearly double in size. The amount of time this will take can vary drastically—as little as 30 minutes in a warm environment, and over an hour where it’s colder. To see if the dough is properly proofed, gently press a finger into the surface. It should leave an imprint that slowly starts to spring back. If it won’t hold an imprint when gently touched, it’s still underproofed and needs more time. If it holds the impression and doesn’t spring back at all, it’s likely overproofed.
- Towards the end of rise time, preheat the oven to 400°F. Apply ggg wash to the surface of the pastries and sprinkle with more maple sugar. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake until the pastries are evenly golden brown and have an internal temperature of at least 190°F, 30 to 35 minutes more. Remove the kouign amann from the rings or pan while they are still warm and place on a wire rack. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.