French Pastry Heaven: Kouign-Amann Recipe

What makes kouign-amann so special is that a few simple, inexpensive ingredients come together to create a mouthwatering pastry that’s sure to impress everyone. The key is in the preparation—it’s exactly the same as that of croissant and other puff pastries until the later stages when sugar is layered into the dough and used in place of flour for dusting.

Kouign-amann boasts layers of dough, butter, and sugar, all in one bite—we’re basically creating a caramel of sorts when this pastry is baked. Beyond the layers is the allure of different textures to appease our taste buds—crispy and flaky on the outside plus a little coarse crunch from the sugar, yet moist and layered on the inside.

Though the process of making kouign-amann goes far above and beyond slice-and-bake in the effort department, you’ll know your hard work will pay off the moment they start baking—we simply couldn’t resist the smell of kouign-amann that filled the Plated Test Kitchen. The final product is nothing short of golden perfection and it’s well worth the wait.

250g water
14g active dry yeast
250g all-purpose flour
250g bread flour
12g salt
50g granulated sugar + more for dusting
100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
250g unsalted butter for butter slab
1 stick softened butter for brushing.

While we used metric measurements in this recipe for greater precision, you can also try this recipe at home with the below imperial measurements.

1 cup water
1½ tablespoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup granulated sugar + more for dusting
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter for butter slab
1 stick softened butter for brushing

1. Combine all ingredients except the 250g (or 2 sticks) butter for the butter slab. Mix well set aside 5 minutes.

2. After resting, knead the dough for 5 minutes or until well combined and elastic.

3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and set aside until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

4. While dough rests, place the 250g (or 2 sticks) of butter between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, shape the butter into a rectangular shape about ¼-inch thick (your slab should be about 11 inches by 16 inches). Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge until ready to laminate the dough.

5. Once the dough has rested, stretch evenly with a rolling pin to form a large rectangle, about ¼ -½ inch thick (your dough should be about 11 inches by 16 inches stretched). Place on a baking sheet cover with plastic and freeze for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the dough from the freezer, flip, and freeze another 30 minutes.

7. Remove the dough from the freezer. Brush off any excess flour and place the butter slab in the center. From the left and right side fold the dough in onto itself ¼ of the way so it covers the butter. Then fold what remains in half onto itself, like a book. Transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

8. Remove the dough from the fridge. Lightly dust with flour and using a rolling pin, stretch the dough until it is about ¼ -½ inch thick (about 11 inches by 16 inches).

9. Brush off any excess flour and sprinkle the dough evenly all over the side facing up with granulated sugar. Fold the dough onto itself into thirds, sprinkle all over with granulated sugar. Then fold the dough in half the long way, like a book. Wrap with plastic and return to the fridge for 30 minutes (this is the step that makes kouign-amann. If the sugar is left out it is simply puff pastry dough and other flaky treats like croissant can be made.).

10. While dough rests. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a small or medium-sized muffin tin with softened butter. Evenly coat with sugar and set aside until step 12.

11. Remove dough from the fridge. Stretch again with a rolling pin until about ¼ -½ inch thick and sprinkle all over with sugar. Cut into 3-inch squares. Take the corner of each square and bring it towards the center of each square and using your thumb press into the center to keep all the corners in place.

12. Place the squares in the muffin tin. Sprinkle on top with more sugar if desired.

13. Transfer the muffin tin to the oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 35-45 minutes.

14. Transfer kouign-amann to a wire rack while they are still hot and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Story contributed by Plated Recipe Developer Giuseppe Iacopelli.

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