It was hard to choose among the four Cake Slice Bakers November choices, but I finally chose Kouign Amann (koo-ween a-mon), a French yeast-based butter cake (more bready than cakey). When I saw the delicate layers, sugary butter top, and caramelized bottom layer, I knew this was the one!
This technique for layering dough with cold butter then folding, rolling and repeating is called laminating. You end up with a buttery, layered bread. Kouign Amann is layered with sugar as well, so it’s also a rich sweet bread with a thin, chewy caramel layer on the bottom.
Putting the dough together was actually fairly easy (messy, but easy). It was stickier than I thought it should be so I added a couple of tablespoons more of flour while mixing so it would form the elastic dough. It was dream to roll out; soft and manageable. I did have a little problem with the cold butter poking out on the last roll, but it just melted into the dough as it baked. Yum.
Bret and I agreed that it will be an excellent breakfast bread and Roger Pizey even gives a tip that you can create the dough and put it in the refrigerator overnight, then bake for breakfast in the morning. You can see the layers better in this photo:
I’m excited to learn to laminate dough so I won’t be afraid of it in other recipes (croissants anyone?). The total time to make this Kouign Amann recipe is about 3 hours, but that includes the rising time. Expand your horizons and try something new and challenging!
Don’t forget to visit the other Cake Slice Bakers choices (below the recipe) to see what they’ve created this month!
****I really enjoyed this rich, buttery, sweet cake with the thin caramel layer on the bottom. Set aside enough time to carefully read the recipe and lay out the ingredients before beginning. Also, read my notes about slicing instead of cubing the butter.
- 1/3 oz fresh yeast
- 3/4 C warm water
- 1 C superfine sugar (I used regular sugar)
- 1 3/4 C. bread flour, sifted and extra for dusting (I used all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, cubed and chilled, plus an extra 2 tbsp melted butter
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (warm to the touch, not hot) with a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes until bubbles appear.
Sift the flour and place it and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, slowly add the yeast batter on a low speed until fully mixed. Increase the speed to medium for 4 or 5 minutes until the dough has become nice and elastic. (It will be a little sticky, but If too sticky, add another tablespoon or so of flour.) Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for 1 hour
Lightly flour your rolling surface and dump the dough out onto it, patting the flour in lightly with your fingers. Roll out into a 10"x12" rectangle.
Bring the dough around so that the short side of the rectangle is facing you. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar vertically down the middle third of the dough. Sprinkle the cubed butter evenly over the sugar. Fold the left-hand third of the pastry over the top of the butter and sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar over the pastry then fold the right-hand side over and sprinkle another 2 tbsp. sugar. Fold the top third toward you and the bottom third up to cover the fold you have just made.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate, then place the dough on it, seam down. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle your rolling surface generously with sugar and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Pat dry if liquid has collected on it. Roll out again to the same size, and repeat the folding (with the sugar sprinkled on the layers - no more butter) and chill for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease and line an 8" springform pan (or 8"round by 2" high pan) with parchment paper.
Roll out the dough for a final time on a sugared surface and into a round shape to fit into your pan. Pour the melted butter over the top and bake for 30 minutes until dark golden brown. (I also sprinkled a little more sugar over the buttered top before baking.)
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto a rack and remove the parchment paper. Let cool.
*If you like, make the dough the day before and leave in the cake pan overnight, then you can serve with coffee at breakfast.
Tips and Stuff:
Weigh out your yeast - it's not an entire envelope. I used Rapid Rise yeast.
I didn't have an 8" springform pan, so I used an 8" round by 2" deep cake pan.
I used all purpose flour and it worked out beautifully. Go ahead and use bread flour if you have it - it has more protein and will make the cake more chewy.
Instead of cubes, next time I will slice the butter thinly, let it chill again, then place it on the dough. The cubes tended to poke through the dough.
The dough seemed a little wet each time after the chilling process, so I patted it dry before the next folding routine.