Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Kouign-Amann – Yas Queen!

The fact that Kouign-Amann (Pronounced “Queen-a-mahn”) have become a popular item in bakeries across America is quite a tribute to just how incredible they really are, since to stock something that no one can spell or pronounce is generally considered a retail sales no-no. As you may know, I pride myself on mispronouncing things, but even I don’t like to be corrected by a salesperson, and their judgmental, I can’t believe you just said “kooeegan-aman” look.

Yet, despite the difficult name, they’ve thrived for the very simple reason that this is one of the world’s great pastries. Maybe the greatest. I guess that depends on who you talk to, but the irresistible combination of sweet, salty, sticky, buttery, crispy, flaky, and tender, is hard to beat.

I guess you could just buy some frozen puff pasty, or croissant dough, and skip to the last step, but unlike many of those, the base here is a fairly lean bread dough, which I think is one of the secrets. A richer milk-based dough, which already contains lots of butter and sugar, won’t necessarily provide the same contrast.

Speaking of secrets, I think the real magic of these is the salt. Apparently the authentic ones are fairly salty, and just as savory, as they are sweet, but you don’t want to over do it. I suggest starting with less than I call for in your seasoned sugar mix, and then tasting on a wet finger to see where you’re at. Then, add more until you think it’s right.

Part of me hopes you have a bakery that does these nearby, so you can easily taste them for yourself, but another part of me hopes you don’t, so you’ll try to make them. Either way, you’re in for a huge treat. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Kouign-Amann:
For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the seasoned sugar (mix, taste, and adjust):
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons of sea salt or kosher salt (less if you’re using a fine table salt)
For the rest:
8 ounces ice cold unsalted butter (2 sticks) for the pastry
1 tablespoon melted butter for the muffin pan
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32 comments:

Unknown said...

How is the shelf life for these? Can I make them the night before and bring to work in the morning? Or should I bake them the morning of?

Farofa said...

I've been waiting years for this one! Thank you, I can't wait to try.

The Beef said...

Awesome! Thank you for answering my food wish, Ched John!

iC3MaN said...

Hi! from Brittany. Long time viewer and really happy to see a local delicacy making its way to your kitchen.

Unknown said...

My Son loves your recipes and videos . Thanks for helping teach him to cook .
he's getting a freakishly small whisk for his birthday

Steve said...

Awesome. My Favorite pastry.


Can't wait to try this version.

Thank you very much Chef John!

meltedbrains said...

Heya chef! I was super surprised to read that kouign amann has actually become a thing in the US. I live in the region of France where this originated - Brittany - so was hoping to read something on the blog about it. Anyway, thanks for the recipe and hope you get a chance to visit Brittany (they call it Bretagne in French) if you haven't already :)

Ido said...

Hi Chef,
Is adding some cinnamon to the sugar mixture a good idea?
Thanks!

Ido said...

Hi Chef,
Is adding some cinnamon to the sugar mixture a good idea?
Thanks!

Farah said...

These are incredible! I've been obsessed with them since I tried them at a bakery. I have yet to see a video this helpful on how to make them. Can't wait to try this! Thank you.

Farah said...

These are incredible! I've been obsessed with them since I tried them at a bakery. I have yet to see a video this helpful on how to make them. Can't wait to try this! Thank you.

Lisa said...

Hi chef John, I have been perfecting my laminated dough for some time and using the model bakery cookbook, (thanks to your post with their English muffins)and I have mastered this recipe and others. I am so proud of my pastry and just made two dozen of these for a friends birthday. Would love to attach a pic but not sure if I can? Bottom line is this, thanks to your videos,I can bake things I never thought possible. When others ask me how I find great recipes to bake or make (savory or sweet) I just say, ya gotta watch chef John!! He is the best!
Much thanks,
Lisa Marchetti :)

Turd Ferguson said...

Ok to sub with AP flour?

Turd Ferguson said...

Ok to sub with AP flour?

Turd Ferguson said...

Ok to sub with AP flour?

Turd Ferguson said...

Ok to sub with ap flour?

Unknown said...

I love your channel! Regards from Costa Rica! I want to become a pastry chef 💕

Unknown said...

I love your channel! I want to become a pastry chef...

Regards from Costa Rica

John G said...

These look terrific but really the value is in the recipe for quick puff pastry.
Thank you.

Robin said...

Thank you so much for your video and recipe! I love these and have always wanted an at home recipe; can't wait to make. This will be one of my first recipes, along with your prime rib, in my new 48" double oven, duel fuel, pro range!! I have wanted this range for ever...I told my husband it was all your fault! LOL! Anyway, love your videos, recipes and of course your humor!

Jacob said...

Hello,

I am eager to try this recipe out when it is my turn to bring a cake to work.

I am wondering what your advice would be for preparing these ahead of time?

Am I better off making the dough ahead of time and just baking them in the morning, or would they be ok to make the evening before?

Thanks!

Maria Lucia said...

the butter is salted or unsalted?

Mark said...

Spent yesterday morning making a batch. Texture and flakiness was perfect--they passed the #forkdontlie test--but they were a bit too salty. I used the recommended 2tsp of kosher salt--a total of 3tsp all together--and unsalted butter. I did mix and taste, but didn't adjust. Will cut it down to a total of 2tsp next time.

idlethreat said...

I found these at Philz's on Market and I about lost my sh*t. These little suckers are a gamechanger!!

Unknown said...

Chef John, I am digging for printable version of the recipes. Whatcha got?

Unknown said...

hey chef! my graduated from cia and is around your age, would love to know that you don't know him. if i could email you lmk!

John Michael said...

PLEASE ADD A PRINT CAPABILITY TO YOUR BLOG ENTRIES

Unknown said...

Made these yesterday, they are awesome! It was time consuming, but not that difficult. One thing I learned though, when grating frozen butter, make sure the wrapper is all the way off. Picking tiny bits of paper out of your dough is not as much fun as you’d think.

Dave in Atlanta

Unknown said...

I made these last weekend, it was much easier than I expected and they were fantastic. One question I have is whether or not the grated butter makes a big difference as opposed to the butter slab method as shown in your croissant video? Wouldn’t the slab method be a little easier here, provided you keep the slab a bit colder than with croissants?

Gripper99 said...

Wow. These are by far the best thing I’ve ever baked. I double the recipe and cut the dough in half after the second buttering. I put one half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer. I do the sugaring folds the next morning and bake the dough that was in the fridge over night. The next time I want them I take the other half of the dough out of the freezer the night before and do the sugaring folds the next morning. I have had no trouble with freezing the dough. These bake up perfect every time. The sugar turns to crisp candy on the outside, and the dough is beautifully flaky and light every time both fresh or frozen. I’ve put Nutella, various berries, various chocolates, and have added cinnamon to the sugar for many batches before baking. My favorite is the version with just sugar (I do add some vanilla to the dough though.) These are a delight when served barely warm with the candy-like crust of sugar. I’ve tried to make laminated doughs lots of times but this is by far the best and most reliably successful method I have ever found. For me these are a kitchen miracle. Thank you Chef John!

Christopher said...

Thanks John. These are by far the best pastries I've ever made. I love the grating of the butter to laminate the dough. Much easier.

Unknown said...

I made these yesterday - I like how well the steps are described on the video, it was very helpful and clear. Thanks for that!
The dough worked perfectly. I did find that grating the frozen butter really was the most difficult part. Be careful not to get the grater too close to the dough or you will end up with a clump of butter! I used salted Irish butter - high butterfat content but with salt and it worked fine. Because of this, I cut back on the salt mixed with the sugar - I used 3/4 of a cup of sugar and 1/2 t. salt. That was plenty salty enough for me. I liked the extra sweetness of using a little more sugar.
They baked up beautifully in a non-stick muffin pan. Next time, however, I will use a very thick layer of butter so that I can get extra sugar to cling to it.
They baked for 31 minutes and I pulled them out but I would say, you really have to make sure they are as brown as Chef John recommends. Mine were slightly underbaked but still very tasty. Just have to watch them closely at the end and be brave enough to let them fully brown. THANKS!