Now on the menu, let’s have a look at the emblematic breton cake: the Kouign Amann cake. ”Kouign” means cake, while “Amann” means butter. And who says “Brittany” says “Salted butter”! So the Kouign Amann is literally a “butter-cake”.
This typical regional pastry from France is composed of simple elements: bread dough, butter (salted of course!), sugar… And that’s it! Invented around 1860, almost by accident (it was left with these ingredients) by a baker from Douarnenez (South Finistere), this cake is done by layering, a bit like a puff pastry but with fewer layers.
I never dared to make the Kouign Amann before because of the impressive amounts of butter that it requires.
The mixture of butter and sugar (in equal parts) is the key. When cooking, butter and sugar melt and impregnate the dough, oozing through the pastry, while caramelizing at the outside.
The quantities of butter and sugar are important, this giving the cake a unique texture: tender in the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside… And it’s so rich! After tasting – with your hands as you should – you are left with very shiny and sticky fingers, but you just approached Heaven!
You will mostly find large Kouign Aman cakes, for 4 to 6 people or more… To have a clear conscience I chose to make individual versions of the classic Kouign Amann, some bakers call it “kouignettes”.
Once completed, the Kouign Amann dough is rolled on itself, given a few minutes to cool before being cut into slices. For your cakes stand up well during cooking, slid your mini Kouign Amann in a muffin pan. With the given amount of dough, you can do 12 “kouignettes”.
If you prefer to share this Breton cake, you will be able to make 2 Kouign Amann with the same amount of dough. Make a small grid with a knife on top and moisten with a little milk before baking. There are several videos on the internet that show very clearly the various steps of the recipe. If you do not want to make bread dough, do not hesitate to order it from your baker the day before…
To save up valuable time, you’ll find some pictures of the first steps of the recipe (the light is not great in my kitchen, alas). You will have to flatten the butter with the rolling pin to soften it first, but also to give it the shape of the rolled dough. Then try to work fast enough to prevent it from melting.
Every time you fold the dough, give a few strokes of rolling pin to evenly distribute the ingredients (it lets off steam), then do a puff doing tricks … It’s not complicated! At the end, it’s a real pleasure… So you will tell me the news from your own Kouign Amann!
Mini Kouign Amann Cake Recipe
Ingredients list for Kouign Amann cake
For 12 “kouignettes” or 2 Kouign Amann
- 7 ounces (200g) of bread dough
- 5 1/2 ounces (160g) butter
- 5 1/2 ounces (160g) of sugar
- A little milk and one egg yolk
- Almost 2 cups (180g) flour
- 15 ounces of water
- 1/2 tbsp (3g) of yeast
- 1/2 tbsp(3g) of salt
Preparing the dough for Kouign Amann cake: In a bowl mix salt and flour. Dissolve yeast in warm water, make a well in center of flour and mix the ingredients gradually. Form a ball of dough which should be smooth and elastic. Let stand and raise at least one hour in a warm place. The dough can be realized with a bread machine if you have one, using the pizza dough program.
Preparation of the layering: To prevent dough from sticking, put flour on your countertop. Place the dough and flatten it with your rolling pin. Repeat with the butter, giving it a round shape and drop it onto the dough. Put the sugar on top. Fold the dough over itself, flatten it with the pin-roll, rotate the flattened dough a quarter turn. Repeat the same process four times to get a nice puff.
Baking the Kouign Amann cake: If you prepare a large kouign Amann, flatten slightly with your roller to give a round shape to the dough. Drop it into a previously buttered mold. Draw a few grids on top with a knife. Brush your Kouign Amann with the mix of milk and egg yolk. Bake at 390°F (200°C) between 35 and 40 minutes.
If you prepare mini Kouign Amann or “kouignettes”: Roll the dough over itself, reserve it in a cool place for ten minutes then cut into 12 slices with a knife. Place each slice into a buttered pan (muffin pans or silicone mold ). Bake about thirty minutes at 390°F (200°C).