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Hi Bold Bakers!
If you haven’t heard of kouign-amann before, all you need to know is that it is Breton (a language spoken in Brittany, modern-day France) for “butter” and “cake.” Those two words are all I need to hear!
This insanely delicious pastry has the distinct honor of being called “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe!”
Kouign-amann is very rich, buttery, flakey, sweet, and a little salty. Picture a butterier croissant, rolled in sugar to create a sweet caramelized outer shell when it gets baked, a soft, pillowy inside, and the inclusion of salt in the dough really pulls it all together!
They can still be hard to find at many bakeries, but you can make the magic right in your own kitchen! I can’t wait for you all to try this!
What Is Kouign-Amann?
Kouign-Amann, pronounced “queen ahman,” was first baked in Brittany, a region in France, and started to gain popularity outside of the area around ten years ago! Have you heard the name Dominique Ansel before? He invented the cronut, but I think his greatest triumph is bringing the amazing kouign-amann over from France!
Some parts in Brittany were fairly poor, so any extra dough people had from making bread was put to good use. The dough is covered in butter and sugar and left to rise. When it’s baked, steam from the butter causes the layers of the dough to separate, creating a texture like the inside of a croissant, while the sugar on the outside caramelizes and becomes crunchy.
It’s crispy, it’s soft, it’s sweet, it’s salty. It hits every note!
What You Need To Make Kouign-Amann
How To Make Kouign-Amann
These beautiful pastries take a little time to rise, but the end product is a thing of beauty! Here is how you make kouign-amann (get the full recipe down below):
- First, you have to make the dough! In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ¼ cup (2oz/57g) sugar, yeast, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir in the water and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is soft and a little tacky. (You can use your hands or a stand mixer.)
- Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for around 1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. You want to go by looks for a rise, not time. Take a photo when you first put it in the bowl so you can use it as a reference!
- Once doubled in size, punch the dough down, cover, and refrigerate for around an hour or until it doubles in size again.
- As the dough is working on its second rise, beat 1½ cups (12oz/341g) of butter with ½ cup (4oz/115g) sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt. Spread this mixture on a piece of parchment paper into a 12×6-inch (30x15cm) rectangle. Wrap it and refrigerate it.
- Once the dough has risen for the second time, roll it out on a floured surface into a 12×6-inch (30x15cm) rectangle. Wrap it up and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or until it is chilled and firm.
- When both the dough and butter are chilled, take the dough and roll it onto a 20 x 8-inch (50 x 20cm) rectangle.
- Place the chilled butter in the center third of the dough and fold it up like a letter.
- Roll the letter-folded dough into a 24 x 8-inch (61 x 20cm) rectangle, fold it like a letter again, and roll it out. Repeat this rolling and folding step one more time. (That’s 3 times all together! This is how we get those layers!)
- Roll the dough out to a 24 x 8-inch (61 x 20cm) rectangle for the fourth time. Then, sprinkle the surface of the dough with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Fold it like a letter again, wrap it up, and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until it is very firm.
- When you’re ready to assemble your kouign-amann, grease a muffin tin and place a ½ cup (4oz/115g) of sugar on a plate near you.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 12 x 16-inch (30x40cm) rectangle and divide it into 12 squares.
- For each square, press the dough, on both sides, into the sugar on the plate. Then, squeeze the corners of the dough together and place it in a muffin cup. Cover the tilled muffin tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Sprinkle the pastries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastries are golden brown.
- Remove the kouign-amaan from the tin immediately once it has finished baking and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Kouign-Amann
- If your work surface is small, divide the dough in half after step 6 and fold each half into 4×12 (10x30cm) rectangles. Keep the other half of the dough in the refrigerator while you’re not working with it.
- For the flakiest layers, when you are rolling the dough, try to keep the dough and butter as cold as possible. If your kitchen is warm, the butter will melt and make the dough greasy. Pop the dough back in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes (or in the freezer for less time) until it is firm again, then continue rolling and folding!
- Make sure to remove the pastries while they are still warm; otherwise, they may stick.
- For a chocolate twist, in step 8, replace the 2 tablespoons of sugar with a ½ cup (3oz/85g) of very finely chopped or ground bittersweet chocolate.
- You can mix a teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground cardamom (or a little of all three) into the sugar filling to make a spiced kouign-amann!
How Do I Store Kouign-Amaan?
Kouihn-amaan really is best enjoyed the day they are made, but if you are left with any leftovers, loosely cover them and store them at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Make More Breakfast!
And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!
Full (and printable) recipe below!
- 3 cups (15oz/426g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (2oz/57g) plus ½ cup (4oz/115g) plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- ¾ teaspoon plus ¾ teaspoon salt (divided)
- 1 cup (8floz/240ml) water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ cups (12oz/341g) butter, softened and divided
- ½ cup (4oz/115g) plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
Making the Dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ¼ cup (2oz/57g) sugar, yeast, and ¾ teaspoon salt together. Stir in the water and 2 tablespoons of butter, and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and a little tacky. You can do this step by hand or by using a stand mixer.
- Place in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down, cover and refrigerate for about an hour, or until doubled in size again.
- While the dough is on its second rise, beat the 1½ cups (12oz/341g) butter with the ½ cup (4oz/115g) sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt. On a piece of parchment paper, spread the butter into a 12x6-inch (30x15cm) rectangle, wrap well and refrigerate.
- Once the dough has risen for the second time, on a floured surface roll the dough into a 12x6-inch (30x15cm) rectangle, wrap well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until chilled and firm.
- Once both the dough and butter are cold and firm, on a floured surface, roll the dough to a 20 x 8-inch (50 x 20cm) rectangle.
- Place the chilled butter in the center third of the dough rectangle and fold the dough up like a letter.
- Roll the dough into a 24 x 8-inch (61 x 20cm) rectangle, and fold in thirds again, like a letter. Repeat this rolling and folding 2 more times, for a total of 3 times.
- Roll the dough out to a 24 x 8-inch (61 x 20cm) rectangle for the fourth time, and this time, sprinkle the surface of the dough with 2 tablespoons of sugar, fold into thirds (like a letter), wrap well and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until very firm.
- When ready to assemble the Kouign-Amann, grease a muffin tin and place a ½ cup (4oz/115g) of sugar on a plate near you.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 12 x 16-inch (30x40cm) rectangle and divide the dough into 12 squares.
- For each square, press the dough on both sides into the sugar on the plate, then squeeze the corners of the dough together and place in a muffin cup. Cover the filled tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Baking the Kouign-Amann
- Sprinkle the pastries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastries are a deep golden brown.
- Immediately remove the Kouign-Amann from the tin and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- Best enjoyed the day they are baked. Store leftovers, loosely covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.