I’m back on the bake-along bandwagon! This time around, Rose’s ‘Alpha’ Bakers are starting off with a bang – we’re baking Kouigns Amann, which are the recipe that made the cover of The Baking Bible. These are a laminated pastry, which means they’re made with thin layers of dough and fat – in this case, bread dough and butter. Think croissant, but with some sugar in the mix. In other words, they’re delicious. I made these once before, as part of the group that helped test some of the recipes, but I couldn’t blog about them at that time, under a strict non-disclosure agreement!
Oh, and I apologize for the lousy pictures in this post. I think it’s going to take me a bit to get back into the swing of things with the bake-along blogging. I did my photography today with my phone’s camera, which is usually pretty decent, but I wasn’t paying enough attention and ended up with several blurry shots.
Laminated doughs aren’t actually all that difficult, as long as you’re patient. It’s all about keeping the butter & dough at the right temperatures. You start out by making the dough, and letting it rest. While it rests, you shape your butter into a square (5″ in this case). I used Stirling Creamery’s 84% “Euro style” butter for the first time for this recipe, and I think it was worth it! Shape the dough into a larger square (8″ here), and lay the butter square on top, at a diagonal.
Mark where the butter lines up, then roll out the corners of the dough from that point outwards. At this point, the butter should be close to room temperature, and warm enough that it’s a similar consistency to the dough. Follow the recommended temperature in Rose’s books, and you’ll never go wrong.
Then, fold the flaps in and over, covering the butter, and pinch the seams to seal all that butter inside.
Then, roll it into a rectangle, and fold it up like a business letter.
After you’ve wrapped it up in plastic wrap, it goes into the fridge for an hour to rest. After the first ‘turn’, it has 3 layers of butter. For the second turn, you repeat the process – roll it out into a rectangle, then fold it again (it now has 9 layers of butter, if you’ve been keeping track), then back into the fridge for another hour. The 3rd turn is a bit different. You clean all the flour off your work surface, and sprinkle it with sugar instead.
The sugar works surprisingly well at keeping it from sticking to the counter, and on the plus side – sugar! You do the tri-fold again (27 butter layers, now!), then it goes into the freezer for 1/2 an hour, and then back into the fridge for one last 1/2 hour rest. From here, it’s simple – roll it out into a large rectangle and cut it into 8 pieces. Each square is then rolled a bit thinner/bigger.
Then you fold the corners into the middle, then fold them in again, and try to pinch it shut. They won’t stay pinched shut, but that’s ok.
They look a little alien blob-ish, but they fluffed up and browned nicely in the oven.
These are delicious, but they’re definitely not light! Jay & I split one with tea before supper, while we waited for our turkey to finish cooking, and split another one after supper, and … well, maybe it’s the turkey dinner talking, but I’ve definitely had my fill tonight!