Recipe by Sarah Phillips and Kelly Hong; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2012 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
The name, pronounced kween ah-MON, derives from the Breton (French) words for cake ("kouign") and butter ("amann"). It is a round crusty cake, made with dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry (laminated dough) albeit with fewer layers, and is more rustic in appearance. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it), leaving a sweet, buttery center and with a crisp caramelized sugar coating. Find out the way we developed a different method of making this wonderful treat from the norm, so the cake rises higher and has more culinary and mouthfeel appeal.
PASTRY RECIPE HELP
We developed different methods of making this wonderful treat from the norm, so the cake rises higher and has more culinary and mouthfeel appeal. Most recipe have you just pat the finished dough as is, and place it into the baking pan to bake.
It doesn't look very appealing.
Our Test #1 with just patting the finished dough into the pan and baking it. The recipe does not look very appealing and does not rise as high.
Instead when shaping the dough, we have you first roll the dough up tightly without stretching it, then cut it into 8 even sections, about 1-inch thick. Then place the spirals in the prepared baking pan cut side down.
We could not do the spirals of dough because the dough gets very wet after rolling it on sugar and resting it in the fridge. So we developed a slightly different rolling sequence to make the spiral look.
The final cake rose higher, and we think has more separated layers, a crunchier texture, and more appealing look.
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, and more if needed ; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided into 1/4 cup increments
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into (evenly-sized) tablespoon sized pieces and chilled
2-3 tablespoons additional unsalted butter, melted
Extra sugar (lots) for rolling dough
Mix the dough:
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Cover the outside with foil to prevent butter leaks. Set aside.
Prepare a medium bowl by spraying the inside with nonstick oil. Set aside. Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap, and set aside.
2. Rinse a bowl of a stand mixer with warm water and dry it.
SARAH SAYS: This is so you warm the bowl before using.
In this same bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar and stir. Let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
3. Clamp on the mixing bowl. Fit the stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
With the mixer on low to medium-low, add in 1 cup flour. Continue adding in the flour.
With the second cup of flour, add in the salt.
Stop adding in the flour when the dough is soft, but not sticky. Note how the dough does not stick to the bowl or paddle attachment:
4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough onto it. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, knead in just enough flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it doesn't.
5. Round the dough. Place it into the prepared bowl, and turn it so all sides are covered with oil.
Cover, and let rest in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Perform the series of rolls and folds:
1. After rising, turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
Then roll the dough into a rectangle about 12- x 18-inches with the long side in front of you.
2. Evenly distribute the chilled tablespoon-sized butter down the center of the dough and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
3. Fold the dough like a letter: Take the left side of the dough, lift and fold it over the center, then do the same with the right side. You should have what resembles a 3-level pastry.
4. Sprinkle the entire length of the dough with 1/4 cup sugar and (without rolling) fold again into thirds, this time from bottom up and then the top down.
5. Place on the plastic wrap-covered dinner plate, cover dough with plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
6. Sprinkle the work surface with sugar. Ease the dough from the dinner plate onto it, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar, press it in a bit with your hands.
Roll the dough into about 12- x 18-inches rectangle with the long side facing you.
7. Again, fold the dough like a letter. After folding the first side, sprinkle it on top with 1/4 cup sugar.
Then fold over the other side. You should have what resembles a 3-level pastry.
8. Fold the dough again into thirds, this time from bottom up and then the top down.
9. Place on the plastic wrap-covered dinner plate, cover dough with plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
Shape and bake the dough:
1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 12- x 18-inch rectangle, on a SUGAR dusted surface. Roll it so the long end is facing you.
First dust the top of the dough with sugar.
2. Turn the dough so that the long side is facing you, adding more sugar underneath it, and on top of it, to prevent sticking, and roll it again out, this time to a 12- x 8-inch rectangle.
3. Roll the dough up tightly without stretching it, then cut it into 8 even sections, about 1-inch thick.
4. Place the spirals in the prepared baking pan cut side down, and set the pan on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Cover pan with a greased-side-down piece of plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough is puffed and fills the pan nicely.
6. Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
7. Place baking pan on a silpat mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is deeply caramelized. Let stand a few minutes, then run a spatula around the edges to release the Kouign Amann.
Unclamp the sides of the springform pan, and remove the pastry from the pan's bottom.
9. Slide the pastry onto a wire cake rack to cool slightly.
Serve the pastry warm.
The pastry is meant to be eaten right away.