Kouign Amann (Breton cake)

Karniecoops's picture

We made this heavenly french dessert as part of our bread making night at Boulangerie L'epi (St Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, Auckland) a few weeks ago, and it was S O delicious, I thought I'd share the recipe. 

We made one dough which we turned into 4 loaves, a pizza and a Kouign Amann, so the recipe I'm giving you was the total dough recipe made, although only 250g of dough was used to make the dessert.

The dessert is traditionally made with just butter and sugar added, but Theirry says NZ butter doesn't have the same intense flavour as French butter, so we also added sliced apple.  So essentially, use the best butter (salted)you can find.

I may have gotten the instructions slightly wrong as we made this 3 weeks ago, and i didn't make any notes at the time - but roll and fold as many times as you like incorporating the butter, sugar and apple into the dough.  I have found another couple of links to making this wonderfully delicious cake so you might want to take my instructions with a grain of salt and read the other better instructions as well (even though theirs are yeasted recipes)!



http://www.eatingisart.com/2010/04/kouign-amann.html - makes individual "pastries"

I hope you enjoy it - what's not to like - sourdough, sugar, butter, apple?  doesn't get much better  ! But for heavens sake, if you're on a diet - back away now!

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
AP Flour 650 grams 22.95 oz 92.86%
Rye flour 50 grams 1.77 oz 7.14%
Stiff leaven 500 grams 17.65 oz 71.43%
Salt 22 grams 0.78 oz 3.14%
Water 550 ml 19 teaspoons 78.57%
Total Flour Weight:
700 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


1. Mix all ingredients together - let autolyse 20 minutes. 

2. Knead until gluten developed / window pane or whatever technique you usually use. 

3. Let ferment until it doubles in size (we added a bit of yeast to our dough as only were there for a 3hr course, so I'm guessing without the yeast it would be about 3hrs or so), and flod a couple of times during the ferment.

4. Divide the dough - 250g for the Kouign Amann (200g for a pizza, and 2 x 400g for loaves).

5. Roll the dough for the Kouign Amann out into a rectangle about 10cm x 15-20cm (on a floured surface) and put aside. 

6. Take a cold pat of butter (about 80g) and beat with a rolling pin on a floured surface until it is half the size of the dough. 

7. With the narrow end of the dough facing you, place the rolled out butter on the bottom half of the dough

8. Fold the remaining (top half) dough over the butter and seal around the 3 open edges.

9. Roll out again into a rectangle, fold into thirds and roll again and fold once more to incorporate the butter into the dough.

10. Roll out into another rectangle and sprinkle with 30g sugar, roll lightly to press the sugar into the dough, fold into thirds and roll out again.

11. With the narrow end of the dough facing you, lay sliced apple in the centre third of the dough and sprinkle with another 30g sugar.

12. Fold up the bottom third of the dough to cover the apple then fold the top third over to meet the bottom edge and seal the edges. 

13. Roll out again gently and fold if possible ensuring the apple doesn't spill out, and place into a cake tin, or aluminium pie dish - it needs to have high sides.

14. Let rest while the oven heats up.

14. Bake at 200-220C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  The butter will bubble up around the sides of the cake and the sugar will caramelize nicely.

15. EAT!  It couldn't possibly be more delicious! 

Oh and don't forget to make the pizza and loaves from the remaining dough


Happiness is making bread

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rossnroller 2010 August 29

I've just come off a 3 month period of test-baking for a book on NY Jewish baking and was determined to stay away from high cal bakes...now you come along with this post! You description and pics make resistance useless. Will be trying this baby soon and that's that! Thanks for the post - I think! :)


Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 August 30

...... but your taste buds certainly won't!!  I was thinking about this post when I woke up this morning and I think I may have stuffed up the process somewhat - will have to re-read.

Step 3 I have you "flod"ing the dough, which I surely mean folding!

Step 14 says to let "rest" while the oven heats up, but this must be the proofing step, so letting it rise a bit before cooking might be a good idea.

I promise you, it was a wonderfully naughty dessert that shouldn't be eaten I'm sure more than a couple of times a year.  Mind you, it does have less butter than croissant, so is practically a health food!


Happiness is making bread

rossnroller 2010 August 30

Just one query - the apples. How much do you put in, would you say? And very thinly sliced, I imagine?

Waist line cowering in anticipation of further assault, but it's copped worse. In fact, compared with the NW Jewish recipes, this one is slimming food!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 August 30

 Karen apple are getting ripe here and that recipe sounds great.  The pictures you show are of a round cake.  So how did you go from a rectangle dough to a round pie tin?

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 September 4

Yeah Ross, thinly sliced and just overlapping, so for a smallish "cake" maybe about 1/2 an apple - I honestly can't remember.  My main memory is the deliciousness of eating it!  But if you made a MASSIVE one you could use a lot more, but then you'd have to get in a lot of help eating it otherwise you'd turn into the Michelin man!  And so, can you share any of your Jewish-bad-for-the-waistline recipes?

LD to get from a square to a round, just tuck the corners under to make a "roundish" shape - very technical I know ;o)


Happiness is making bread

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 September 4

 Asian Pears are ripe and I have some left over dough from making pizza.    I think I might give it a try this weekend.

rossnroller 2010 September 5

I'll have a go at this one this week. Looking forward to it. What's another fold for the Michelin man? Actually, I'm getting away with it while it's winter (layers of jumpers and coats can hide a multitude of sins), but will have to do some serious cal-burning work as the unpeeling season approaches.

Some confidentiality/copyright issues with the cookbook recipes. Will PM you re this.

Are you in Christchurch? If so, hope you missed the damage from the quake. Sounds pretty dramatic.


Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 September 5

No not in Chch, tucked away safely in Auckland.  One of my sisters lives down there though and they are all ok except the chimney on their house fell over.  When the rock 'n roll kicked off they went to be with their kids, one parent in one room and the other in the 2nd.  Bro-in-law managed to get flattened by his son's bookshelf - it chose just as he was walking past to topple over, taking with it the tele on top (now in many pieces!).  Son No 3 slept thru the whole thing (bless him) and woke up at 7.30am wondering what all the fuss was about.  Miraculously, several wine bottles had fallen off the shelves in their kitchen and survived - they might not have had power and water for a while, but thankfully the wine was safe - hoorah!

They had after-shocks all day, and thru the night last night and today.  Bro-in-law was up a ladder checking on damage to the roof yesterday afternoon when sis heard another shaker coming and had to yell at him to get off!!  And yes, you can hear them coming. I was living in Wellington many moons ago when Mt Ruapehu was erupting, and we were having small earthquakes all the time, generally you got to hear them before they arrived!  Spooky but true.

Down town Chch is pretty bad by all accounts, all the old brick buildings didn't really sway all that well - gotta love wood for that.  The closest call I've heard of, was a teenage boy in Darfield (very close to the epicentre) who fell out of the upstairs floor of his house when the external wall he was sleeping next to collapsed.  He landed on all the rubble on the lawn.  Moments later the roof collapsed and landed right on the bed where he had been sleeping.  Amazing.

rossnroller 2010 September 6

We had a big quake (6.9 on the Richter scale) in Perth way back that literally flattened the wheatbelt town of Meckering that was at the epicentre. I was a kid at the time, but vividly remember the sense of awe at the might of nature, and of feeling so very small and insignificant as that mere shrug of the earth sat us all back on our arses. For all our sophistication and illusions of control, we are petty little mites on the dragon's tail.

Anyway, glad to hear all OK with you and your family - things are replaceable, lives not.

Bake and be merry!


rossnroller 2010 September 9

No pics, unfortunately, because I baked it - and we ate it! - at night. I don't have a good record as an evening photographer! Besides, my effort wasn't particularly photogenic...but my oh my, you are soooo right Karen - this is a taste sensation!

I did mine as a pure sourdough, which required 5 hours of bulk proofing and 1.5 hours of final proofing after shaping. I also left out the apples, and I imagine their inclusion would bring it up a notch or two, but really, this is delicious anyway. I also modded the butter content to create a 'slimmers' version (haha). That is, reduced the butter by 2/3. It was still very, very yummy.

When the rolling pin kept sticking to the dough, I dispensed with it and adopted a more rustic approach, stretching and pushing the dough into shape using a combination of fingers and palms. I didn't weigh the sugar; rather, I sprinkled it over the benchtop instead of flour to stop any sticking, and shook some over the dough and folded it in. Did this a few times. When it seemed ready (ie: imparted a stickiness to my hands that I licked away with a growing smile of appreciation), I stopped adding sugar.

Finally, I shaped the dough by stretching it out on all sides then flattening it into a rough circle, then folded the dough into the centre in about 6 folds, working around the clock, so to speak. Dumped it in a small, greased, round earthenware casserole dish and baked at 190C for 30 minutes.

The end result was not as I was expecting. There was not much rise. The appearance was something like a traditional English rockcake, but larger and minus the fruit. The crust was caramelised and delectably crunchy, and the inside was chewy, but not heavy. I'm not sure this is how they're supposed to be, but I did note in one recipe I found on the web that they should be about as thick as a walnut (funny thing to compare it to, I know, but that's what was written). That's about how mine was.

We saved half to have with coffee next morning, and I warmed it up on a pizza stone on which I had just baked some bread. Brought back the crispness of the crust and lightened it up - bloody delicious!

This is a real winner, Karen - thanks! I know what I'll be doing with any excess dough from now on...

Now,  I think I have some situps to do.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 September 9

I made one of these things too.  I put in Asian Pears and some cinnamon in the layers.  Instead of cooking it in a round shape I put the dough in a loaf pan and baked it.  This was a really great tasting bread.  I ride my bike to work so no problem with the extra rich food.

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 September 10

Glad you liked it guys! 

LD I thought exactly the same thing when we made it, a touch of cinnamon in it would go down a treat!

Ross, ours didn't rise that much either, as you say, caramelized and crunchy on the outside, and the inside was different to a bread and a cake, but just wonderful!

You wouldn't want to make it too often, but it'll be a cracker everytime you do!


Johnny's picture
Johnny 2010 September 11

So I too kept thinking about this little recipe all week and I finally got myself some of the best butter I could find to try it out. I used half a granny smith apple, plenty of cinnamon and yummy demerara sugar.

My dough was also a bit too wet to use a rolling pin and so I just used my hands and baked in a tin. At first I thought it was not going to work as it looked like a burnt brick. But it was fantastic...The crust was thick and crunchy and the middle was light and swirled with buttery cinnamon and apple slices.. We ate it hot and three quarters of it was gone before we could stop.. OMG it is so moorish..

Thanks Karen, one to keep up my sleeve for that special morning tea...

I have no batteries in my camera so I had to use the iphone to show off this little gem before it was all gone.

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 September 14

Well there's nothing wrong with those photos!  I'm just sitting down with a cuppa and a slice of that would go down very nicely!  I can just about smell it!  Glad you liked the recipe Johnny. 

After all of your talk about adding cinnamon, I'm going to have to make some with cinnamon next week for the girls!  I'm sure they'll love it!


CayoKath 2010 December 21

What a beautiful Christmas-morning treat this will make!  My gosh it looks absolutely delicious.  Thanks for the recipe Karniecoops and for the photos all who shared.  This Colorado gal cannot wait to try this...!

Sheacr 2011 June 6

 Hi, I am relatively new to the baking with sourdough, so I am not sure what is a 'stiff leaven'.  I have a very active starter that I keep at 50% hydration.  Could you please advise?  I would love to make this yummy dessert!  Thanks, Shea

neko 2012 April 12

 those Kouign Amann pics and recipe made me hungry....i am off to the kitchen to bake these babies right now. 

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