This week’s pastry episode was one of my favourite in this series, there were some interesting signature savoury parcels, lots of tasty looking show stopping eclairs and everyone was on an even footing with the technical bake. None of the bakers had heard of kouign amann and neither had I before watching the episode. Making something you have never heard of, tasted or even seen must have been a real challenge for the contestants especially with Paul’s ambiguous instructions.
I decided to have a go at making the kouign amann, with a name that translates to butter (amann) cake (kouign), who could resist! They do take a bit of work and are definitely not quick but if you have a bit of pastry making experience they are pretty straight forward and the buttery, caramelised flakiness is definitely worth it!
Two tips; make sure you keep a track of how many turns you do and make sure you chill the dough in between. And a note about the butter – in my research I found some recipes using salted and some using unsalted, I went for salted because I love the combination of sweet caramelised and salty flavours. I found a great guide to making them here
, which has loads of photos to guide you through the folding and rolling.
300g strong plain flour, plus a bit extra for rolling out
5g fast action yeast
200ml warm water
25g melted butter
250g cold salted butter
100g caster sugar
- Put the flour in a bowl, add the yeast then pour in the water and melted butter.
- Combine the ingredients either using your hands or a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
- Leave to rise for an hour.
- Put the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash it with a rolling pin until it’s just less than a centimetre thick then put it back in the fridge.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a square a couple of centimetres bigger than your butter.
- Place the chilled butter diagonally on the dough and fold the corners over the butter into the centre. It should look like an envelope.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle, fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third down so you have three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.
- Repeat step 8 two more times, chilling for half an hour after each.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle with the sugar then fold into thirds again.
- Again roll the dough out into a rectangle, working quickly so that the sugar doesn’t dissolve into the dough.
- Cut the rectangle into 12 squares, bring the corners of each square together and put them in a greased muffin tin.
- Sprinkle them with a bit more sugar and then leave to rise for half an hour.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas 7 for between 30 and 40 minutes, the pastries should be quite dark and caramelised.
- Enjoy the pastries warm out of the oven or allow them to cool.
It is quite a time consuming recipe, but it is worth it, your house will smell like a French boulangerie! If you want you can chill the dough overnight after you have finished the turns but before you add the sugar.