I first heard about kouign amanns when we were doing research for our croissant bake-off. Anytime you look up a recipe for croissants you inevitably come across mentions of a delicious flaky croissant like pastry called kouign amanns. Funny enough Dan & I never actually had a chance to eat a kouign amann until May 2015 when we were in Vancouver visiting a local bakery shop. A few months passed and we forgot about wanting to make them until I borrowed a bunch of books from the library in December. One of those books was Rachel Khoo's Little French Kitchen. While flipping through her cookbook, I came across her recipe for Les Kouignettes Aux Groseilles (Buttery Red Currant Pastries). So, I decided to try out her recipe. I omitted the currants from the recipe as I wanted to know what the kouignettes (mini kouign amanns) tasted like on its own. Here is my experience with her recipe. You can find the entire recipe in her book.
To start making your own kouignettes, similar to the ingredients of a croissant, mix together flour, yeast and salt.
Combine the dough together. It will look dry but after some kneading (about 10 minutes) it will start to look smooth. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. I then placed the bowl in the microwave (which is the most draft free and warm place in my condo) for an hour.
Next cut the frozen unsalted butter into super thin slices and then chill in the fridge. A sharp knife will help do the trick. Then, roll the dough out on a well floured service until it is a 12 by 16 inch rectangle. In order to get the measurements correct, I used a tape measure that we have in our kitchen for these specific projects.
Place the chilled butter slices in the middle of the dough until the entire middle section of the rectangle is filled.
The next few steps are very similar to making croissants. Fold the top edge of the dough down and then the bottom piece up like a letter. Then, using your rolling pin gently roll the doll flat. Then, fold the dough again like a letter and use the rolling pin to flatten the dough. The folded dough should look long and thin. I also found using a granite rolling pin made all the difference as the weight of the rolling pin helped make the rolling process very easy.
The next couple of parts of the recipe got a little confusing for me. However, from what I gathered after reading it a few times was that I needed to have flattened the dough enough in the last step so I could once again fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half and have it look like a thin book (with the seam on the left).
Then I rolled the dough out into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle again so that more laminating (folding) could occur. Essentially the more times you fold, it translates into more gorgeously flaky layers! You do want to work fairly quickly during this part as you don't want the butter melting. Once you are finished doing these "roll and folds" to the kouignette dough, wrap it in saran wrap and leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
While waiting, butter some muffin tin pans in preparation for the baking of the kouignettes! Preheat your oven to 400F. Place a metal baking sheet into the oven. This will help prevent the kouignettes from burning on the bottom or cooking too quickly on the bottom compared to the top. Generously sprinkle sugar on a clean work surface. Place your dough on top of the sugar (with the folded part to the left). Then, roll the dough to a rectangle of 12 by 16 inches.
Now, here's the fun part! Sprinkle more sugar on top of your dough! Then, starting from the bottom (short side) roll the dough into a tight cylinder.
Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut the kouignette roll into 12 equal slices.
One kouignette will fit into each tin of the muffin pan. I also sprinkled a few extra crystals of sugar onto the tops of my kouignettes.
Oh and sidenote! I have fixed my commenting section so that you are able to leave a comment even if you are a guest! You just have to click on "name" and click the checkbox saying "I'd rather post as a guest". Then, you can comment away without having to use the Disqus part!