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.