There was a time in my life when laminating meant sandwiching a very important piece of paper between two sheets of plastic and heat sealing them together. This often took place in a library and would result in every unsuspecting piece of paper receiving a glossy plastic shell. I blame the weird melting plastic fumes. Thankfully my life has brought me to a place where lamination means butter, flour and in very lucky cases sugar. Kouign amann has all the elements of delicious lamination and I think it would taste even better if eaten in a library, just enjoy it away from the laminator fumes.
This recipe has the most basic ingredients I can think of. Flour, water, butter, sugar, salt and yeast. Arguably we could all make Kouign amann at the drop of the hat. No searching high and low for chickory extract or spending a small fortune on the right pan. Chances are you have everything you need to make them in your cupboards right now. But don’t let the ingredients fool you. This is a tough one. Sure the dough came together ok.
And yes smashing butter was as fun as it sounds. Although my cats were not impressed with the pounding. But getting butter to squish into a square is not an easy feat. It just didn’t happen. My butter wanted to explore the space and to be honest I just let it.
After my dough rose (barely puffed, more like) I had to roll it into a rectangle. With my butter redefining what it means to be a square I didn’t feel it was my place to hold my dough to a different geometric standard. So this is what we went with.
This is when Paul instructs me to fold my dough around the butter like I was folding an envelope. Well, I think I invented a new type of envelope.
This bumpy frisbee of butter and dough needed to turn into a rectangle, and fast. I did my first turn with a very oblong piece of mummified butter. But with each subsequent turn, I got closer to right angles.
On my last turn, I noticed that the butter had broken up and was suspended inside the dough. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to happen but it seemed like it would be a delicious mistake if I was wrong.
If you remember this episode of the show there was a lot of discussion about when to add the sugar. And I have to say even with explicit instructions I was still confused. On the show it is made very clear that the sugar goes on at the end. The recipe allows 100g of sugar plus extra for sprinkling. So my question is this; do I add all 100g to the fold OR split the 100g between the fold and the finished layer before cutting and sprinkle at the very end? This is what the recipe says.
“Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40x30cm/16x12in rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.”
“place in the muffin tins […]Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise”
You’re always sprinkling sugar so what is the 100g and what is the sprinkle sugar? The struggle is real! I settled for a 70/30 split between fold sugar and sprinkle sugar. Plus I just chucked some extra sugar on at the end, Paul didn’t account for chucking sugar now, did he? The sugared the laminated parcels went into the oven.
I might have been a tad liberal with my chucking sugar because I spent the next 30 minutes waving a tea towel by the smoke alarm while the sugar smoked away in the oven. After a vigorous arm work out and significant smoke inhalation it was time to take out the Kouign amann.
They were well burnt on the edges but so tasty. And those layers! These guys are like sugary croissant buns! Just imagine if you dropped some jam into the divot in the middle! Seriously! Apparently, you pronounce the name of these pastries as “queen a-mahn” and they are definitely deserving of the royal treatment!