Kouign-Amann Recipe

Kouign-Amann Recipe
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
February 26, 2021

Kouign-Amann Recipe from Dessert Person Cookbook

After the incredible feedback that we received on our review of Dessert Person, we decided to share one of our favorite recipes of the book the Kouign-Amann. Like a caramelized, slightly denser croissant, from the Brittany region of France, this is in our opinion, the best pastry out there.

As difficult to make as it is to pronounce, this Kouign-Amann recipe, or any other, will require a technique know as lamination, a process of enveloping butter inside the dough and then rolling and folding the dough several times to create lots of buttery layers that puff during baking. Despite being a tricky recipe to make, especially when you add sugar and yeast to the mix as you do here, we definitely encourage you to try to make this delicious Britanny pastry.

2 hours
30 minutes


3 g (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
423 g (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
43 g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) sea salt
250 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
340 g (12 ounces) salted European-style butter

Butter and sugar for the muffin tins

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  1. In a small saucepan, gently warm 57 g (1/4 cup) water over low heat, swirling the pan, just until it reaches 40 º C (105 ºF). Pour the water into a large bowl and whisk in the yeast to dissolve. Set aside until the mixture is cloudy and slightly puffed, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 170 g (3/4 cup) room temperature water to the bowl, then add the flour, melted unsalted butter, salt, and 50 g (1/4 cup) of the sugar. Mix with a spoon to combine all the ingredients until you have shaggy pieces. Knead the dough by hand in the bowl several times to bring it together, adding a sprinkle of flour only if the dough is sticking to your hands and/or the surface, until you have a very smooth, supple, and soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Gather the dough into a smooth ball and just lightly with flour. Place it inside a medium bowl and take a photo so you can more easily gauge how the dough rises over time. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let it sit until the ball has nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  4. While the dough is rising, place the cold pieces of salted butter in a mound on a sheet of parchment paper, then place another sachet on top. Use a rolling pin to beat the butter firmly but gently, flattening it into a single layer about 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use a small offset or regular spatula to spread the butter into an approximately 17 cm (7-inch), squaring off the corner and straightening the edged, too. Fold the bottom layer of parchment around the butter to completely enclose it (like you're wrapping a gift), eliminating any air pockets, and creating a neat square packet. Turn the packet over so the folds of the parchment are facing down and roll across the butter block in both directions with your rolling pint to flattens and even out the thickness to about 0.6 cm (1/4 inch). Refrigerate the butter while the dough is rising.
  5. When the dough has nearly doubled, use a fist to light punch it down to expel some of the gases produced during the first rise. Line a small rimmed baking sheet and flatten it into a square shape (the dimensions aren't important). Cover it with platic wrap and freeze until the dough is very firm but not frozen, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the freezer and the butter block from the refrigerator. Uncover the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Rool it out, stretching it with your hands if need, until you have about a 20 cm (8-inch) square. The dimensions aren't important as long as the thickness is even and the dough is slightly larger than the butter block all the way around.
  7. Unwrap the butter just so the top is exposed, and, using the sides of the parchment paper, turn the clock over and place it on top of the dough, positioning it so it looks like a diamond set onto the dough square, with the points of the butter aligning with the midpoints of the sides of the dough. Peel off the parchment paper and discard.
  8. Fold each of the four corners of the dough inward one at a time toward the center of the butter block. They should easily meet and overlap slightly in the center and along the sides. Pinch the dough together firmly along all the seams so they seal.
  9. Dust more flour underneath and on top of the dough, which should now completely encase the butter block. Use the rolling pin to lightly beat the dough to flatten and lengthen slightly, then roll out the dough, working it both toward and away from you, to elongate it into a rectangle that's about three times longer than it is wide and between 0.6 and 1.2 cm (1/4 and 1/2 inch thick). Somewhere around 50 cm (20 inches) long and 17 cm (7 inches) wide is good.
  10. With a short side facing you, fold the dough in thirds like a letter, first lifting up the bottom third and pressing it into the center, then folding down the top third. This rolling and folding process is called "turn", and it creates the layers of butter and dough that make a flaky pastry.
  11. Rotate the dough 90 degrees counterclockwise, dust with a bit more flour if needed, and repeat the rolling out and folding process. This is your second turn.
  12. Wrap the dough in plastic and freeze it for 10 minutes to rapidly cool it down, then transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
  13. Orient the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface so the flap is facing up and the edge of the flap is on the right (if you were to unfold the dough, you would open it to your left like a book).
  14. Roll out the dough again into a long rectangle just as you did before, dusting underneath with more flour if needed. Sprinkle several tablespoons of sugar from the remaining 200 g (1 cup) over the surface of the dough. Fold it into thirds again, then rotate 90 degrees. Remove any excess sugar from the world surface, dust underneath the dough with more flour, and roll out again. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with more sugar and fold into thirds one final time.
  15. Wrap the dough in plastic and freeze it for 10 minutes to rapidly cool it down, then transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
  16. Brush 24 cups of two standard muffin tins with a generous layer of cooled, melted unsalted butter. Cut 24 strips of parchment paper, each measuring about 13 cm (5 inches) long and 0.6 cm (1/4 inch) wide, and lay a strip flush across the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup. Brush the parchment paper strips with more butter, sprinkle a generous pinch of sugar inside each muffin cup, then set the pans aside.
  17. Remove the cold dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a very lightly floured surface into a large rectangle measuring slightly larger than 45 x 38 cm (18 x 12 inches). This will take some elbow grease, but try to work as quickly as you can to prevent the butter from softening and making the dough sticky. Once the dough is rolled out, use a pastry brush to dust off any excess flour. Use a wheel cutter or large chef's knife to trim the dough on all four sides to square it off. Sprinkle the remaining sugar underneath and on top of the dough, pressing gently on the surface of the dough to encourage the sugar to stick. Cut the dough into twenty-four 7.5 cm (3-inch) squares.
  18. Working with one square at a time, fold all four corners inward toward the center of the square so they meet, then press gently so the corners stay in place. Place the folded-up square inside a muffin cup and repeat until you've folded all the squares and filled the pans. Cover the pan loosely with plastic and let them sit at room temperature until the kouignettes are puffed and the layers of dough and butter have visibly separated, 35 to 40 minutes. (Alternatively, the covered pans can be refrigerated up to 12 hours. Do not let them rise at room temperature before baking, as the rise will happen slowly in the refrigerator. Transfer them directly to the preheated oven.)
  19. Arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 200 ºC (400 ºF).
  20. Uncover the pans and transfer to the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and bake until the kouignettes are risen and deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, switching racks and rotating the pans front to back after 18 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes. Tug the ends of the parchment strips to dislodge the caramelized kouignettes from the pans. (don't let them cool any longer in the pans, as the caramelized sugar will make them stick). Transfer them to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.

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