Sunday, 28 December 2014

Kouign Amann - once again

I made Kouign Amann a few months ago, and it was the first time I had tried them.  Having never heard of them until the Great British Bake-Off. The result was a wonderful tasting confection. All puffy, buttery and sugary. It was like something I could never have thought of, truly delicious. I have done a lot of research online since then and have found that it is very common to make it rather like one large cake, in France.  I have found French recipes for individual ones too, particularly in some cook books.  I cannot work out quite what the texture of the cake version is.  I rather like the crispy, puffy texture of the individual ones that I made, as per Paul Hollywood's recipe. The one thing I was not quite so happy about was they they didn't come out uniformly shaped.  But, again, I have read that this is quite common and is to be expected.  

During Christmas, discussing some of my bakes, I had a request to do these again, so that is what I  decided to do, and to try something slightly different when putting them in the muffin tins,.  That is to try to have the centre pushed together, rather than the fly-away corners I had last time. I did consider a different recipe, but thought it best to stick with the tried and tested. Although I did press the pulled together corners into the centre, they still opened up somewhat during baking.
Kouign Amann
Ingredients:
  • 300g/10½oz strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5g fast-action yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml/7fl oz warm water
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, in a block
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Method:
  1. Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
  3. Sandwich the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14cm/5½in square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm/8in square. Place the butter in the centre of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
  5. Roll the dough into a 45x15cm/18x6in rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
  6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
  7. 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.
  8. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.
  9. Preheat oven to 220C/200C(fan)/425F/Gas 7. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.
  10. Serve warm or cold.

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