The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kouign Amann: Demystified

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

Kouign Amann: Demystified

I've been making Kouign Amann for a long time but it wasn't until I visited their homeland of Brittany I realized I had completely misunderstood this delicious pastry. In Brittany I discovered Kouign Amann is not the sophisticated laminated pastry made from croissant dough I thought it was. It is a rustic treat with humble pedigree and it tasted tasted better, much better, than anything I’d ever made. And to add insult to injury it was also much easier to produce! As usual, to really understand a beloved traditional food it can be enlightening to make the pilgrimage to its homeland. 

Kouign Amann is a pastry that traditionally was made quickly and easily in Breton farmhouses on baking days or on Sundays as a special treat using scraps of leftover bread dough and the delicious demi-sel butter for which the region is famous. Today the pastry appears to be mostly produced in bakeries, but the concept is the same. Bread dough is rolled out thin, slathered with a decadent amount of that insanely good soft cultured butter and sprinkled with sugar. The buttered dough is folded into an envelope shape and then rolled out before it is baked in a hot oven. It’s that simple. Sometimes the mix might contain some blé noir, Brittany’s stone ground buckwheat flour, but mostly it is made from wheat flour. 

- See more at: http://www.susanmckennagrant.com/2017/01/10/kouign-amann-demystified/#sthash.Q0cUCmW5.dpuf 

Comments

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...i've got some spare dough at hand plus French butter. I've been disappointed by so many KA's over the years, but I am looking forward to this.

Thanks.

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

Thanks for your comment and let me know if you try it!

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...so it was all very straight-forward using half the baguette dough I've been cold-fermenting for three days. Here's my test bake:

Crisp and not too sweet. Far better than the kouign-amann I've tried over the years. As you say, they've become over-complex. These are easy and delicious. I hope my customers will agree. Like me, they weren't to keen on the overly sweet versions I've tried before. I did one tour simple and one double. Next batch will be salt caramel.

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

fantastic! 

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...savoury version. Definitely worth experimenting with further. Who'd have thought you could make such great-looking crackers with this method? 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Another beautiful bread/dessert I have never heard of. It is amazing how versatile 4 basic ingredients can be! What a delicious world we live in!

Wouldn't this also work with a smear of honey between the layers, if you eschew sugar and have a source of fresh honey? That, too, sounds wonderful.

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

Thanks for your comment!  Honey can be used but it's messy to laminate and produces a less flaky (more cakey) crumb which I suspect is due to its hygroscopic nature. But it does taste very good all the same. 

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Thanks a lot! I planned to make some using croissant dough but did not proceed because it's too difficult. This one is much easier. I think the essence of Kouign Amann is the play of butter, sugar and salt from their famous salted butter. I'm gonna try this authentic version!

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

good luck and let me know how you like it!

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

w

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'll give it a try.

Thanks for sharing,

Karin

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

thanks Karin and let me know if you like them!

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Thanks for posting this, Susan!  I saw the Kouign Amann recipe on your site when I was surfing through your Chiantishire scrapbook yesterday and it evoked a sweet memory of totally overdosing on them in Dinan a few years ago.  I'd usually not consider actually making something as indulgent as those but...now it's awfully tempting.

Ciao,

Tom

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture
SusanMcKennaGrant

I know exactly what you mean! I am sugar-free and made these myself soley to understand them properly.  Thanks for your feedback Tom.