This month’s challenge host, Meredith, has dared all Daring Bakers to make Kouign Amann (prounounced “kwee-amahn”), a round crusty pastry that originated in Brittany in roughly 1860. It is made with laminated bread dough that is sprinkled with sugar before being cut into squares and baked in muffin tins.

The traditional kouign amann is rather basic in terms of flavor but feel free to experiment with cinnamon sugar or even a little bit of chocolate. I made my first batch with caster sugar rubbed into a generous amount of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and brushed them with milk before baking to golden perfection.

KOUIGN AMANN

Ingredients:

300g/ 2 2/5 cups strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting

5g / 1 1/2 teaspoon instant OR 6.75g / 2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

5g / 1 teaspoon fine kitchen salt or fine kosher salt

200ml / 6 3/4 fluid ounces / 4/5 cup warm water

25g / 1oz / 1 3/4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

250g / 1 1/5 sticks / 1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

100g / scant 1/2 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Method:

  • Put flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast to one side and salt to the other.
  • Add water and melted butter and mix on slow for two minutes, then on medium speed for six minutes.

  • Shape into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
  • Sandwich butter between grease-proof paper. Bash with a rolling pin, roll out to a 14 cm / 5½” square.

  • Place in the fridge to keep chilled. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm / 8″ square.
  • Place butter in the center of the dough diagonally so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough.

  • Fold dough over the butter to enclose it like an envelope. Roll dough into a 45 x 15cm / 18 x 6″ rectangle.
  • Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle part and then fold the top third of the dough over.

  • This forms a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap dough well in cling film.
  • Place in fridge for 30 minutes. This completes 1 turn. Repeat twice more to have three completed turns.

  • Roll dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again.
  • Working quickly, roll dough into a 40 x 30cm / 16 x 12” rectangle. Sprinkle with additional caster sugar.

  • Cut dough into 12 squares. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather squares up by their corners.
  • Place in the muffin tins, pulling the corners towards the centre, so that it gathers like a four-leaf clover.

  • Sprinkle with additional caster sugar. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes till puffed up.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C / 200°C (fan) / 425°F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Cover it with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven, leave to cool.
  • After a couple of minutes, turn out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to get burnt with caramelized sugar.

  • Do not leave them to cool for too long or caramelized sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.
  • Serve warm or cold. Best eaten soon after baking; store in air-tight container for up to 24 hrs. Makes 12.

Daring Bakers April Challenge