Kouign Amanns


In my short time in SLC, I’ve managed to make friends by bonding over a love of kouign amanns. For those unfamiliar with this obscure pastry, it’s a laminated pastry covered in caramelized sugar that is considered to be the fattiest European pastry. Apparently the name comes for the Breton words for ‘cake’ and ‘butter’. How apt.

I first encountered the kouign amann at Dominique Ansel in NYC, where it promptly became the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten. I tried two more after that, but both were pretty mediocre. This was my first attempt at baking them, so obviously I used the recipe from my Dominique Ansel cookbook. There were a couple of small things I could improve, but overall these were spectacular. 10/10 should not make again if I want to continue to fit into my pants.


After befriending people over a shared love of pastry, we set up a dinner/bake-off where we would all bring our kouign amanns and eat them and judge each other. Dinner parties are not a particularly “social distancing” friendly event, so we moved it over to a video conference and discussed our bakes. It was a huge success, and we decided that our bake-offs will be a biweekly event!

I really didn’t deviate too much, so here is a link to the original recipe. This is what I did differently:

  • I used fresh yeast instead of instant yeast. The conversion is ~12 g, so I used 10 to account for altitude.
  • I didn’t have ring molds so I used cupcake tins. I buttered and sugared them so that they would caramelize.
  • I didn’t use nearly enough sugar, so you can see that mine didn’t caramelize enough on top.
  • I didn’t want to cut scraps, so I left some with rounded edges

I was ecstatic with how they turned out. The pastry was so delicate and flaky that I couldn’t even situate them correctly, as the bottom would break through. The only thing I would do differently next time is use more sugar, as I didn’t get the optimal level of caramelizing on top. The texture and taste were otherwise spot on!

Forming the boule
The 7″ butter block
Rolling out the folded dough
Sugaring my pastry slab
Portioning my laminated dough
The somewhat sketchy cupcake tin method
Puffing up! 
Cooling while inverted

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