The kouign-amann was invented in 1860; it is a speciality pastry of the town of Douarnenez in Finistère, Brittany, France (Lonely Planet Food, 2017). This delicious creation is credited to Baker Yves-René Scordia (1828-1878). The name originates from the Breton language combining the words for cake (kouign) and butter (amann). Kouign-amann is a round crusty pastry, originally made from bread dough, but made today using a rich viennoiserie dough. The kouign-amann is a form of laminated brioche with many layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in manner to puff pastry although with less laminated layers. Salted butter is used both in the pastry and to grease the 7cm wide x 4cm high metal rings used to bake the kouign-amann. The pastry is a three-day process. Day 1, the pre-dough is made and fermented @19℃ overnight. Day 2, the dough is mixed in two stages, four minutes on slow, five minutes on 2nd speed, ensuring that the dough is well-developed before adding the butter and mixing to clear for a further 3−4 minutes. The DDT is 26℃, and the dough should be fermented for 45 minutes at room temperature, then placed in the refrigerator at 3ºC overnight. The pastry is made using the 3-4-4 laminating system, but copious amounts of sugar are added to the sheeted pastry before the final 4-fold. The pastry is sheeted to 4mm, cut into 10 cm squares, roughly 75g each. The four corners are then folded to the centre, and the pastry is placed in the steel rings. The pastry is proofed at a low temperature 25−26°C and low humidity 60−65% to ensure that the salted butter layers and the sugar do not melt before baking. Toppings applied before baking include crème pâtissière, apple, Nutella, raspberry / rhubarb and chopped raspberry pear marinade.
They are slowly baked at 190ºC for 20−25 minutes until the pastry achieves maximum oven spring, and the sugar caramelises. The baked pastry resembles a laminated muffin-shape and is essentially a salted caramelised croissant in a round shape. I used Kerrygold Irish butter in my recipe, but any salted high-fat butter will work well.
Full recipe and more tips are available in my book, The Art of Lamination: Advanced Technical Laminated Pastry Production.