Pronounced “queen-amahn”, this is a sugary, yeast pastry that is much like puff pastry, only heavier. It has layers that should be flaky and buttery. The story of it’s origin is that a baker, during the war in France, ran out of almost everything to bake with. He only had butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast. He decided to make a simple bread dough, layer it by folding butter and sugar over and over again between the layers of dough, and top it off with more sugar and butter. The last part should melt and seep around the bottom of the pan, turning into a sticky caramel crust. The original was made into an 8″ circle, although it is usually found in bakeries as smaller cupcake sized versions technically called Kouignettes. The recipe book I have called for the smaller ones that look like…..
Here is how mine turned out…
I was not impressed. This recipe is an advanced recipe, that calls for alot of measuring, rolling, and resting the dough, and I admit I had my share of trouble with it.
The butter was supposed to be chilled to the exact temp of the dough in order to incorporate properly. Apparently, mine was not. My Kouignettes were heavy and slightly greasy inside. Right around the time I was to make these, the magazine “Cook’s Illustrated” (a Bible for serious cooks everywhere), came out with an article on how to perfect Kouign Amann, by using their tips and techniques.
By incorporating the sugar into the butter first, instead of the layering, each layer was easier to roll….i.e. the sugar didn’t absorb the moisture while you were rolling, making a sticky mess, while the crystals that were left tore holes in the dough. Much better!