• Serves 12 people

In the grand tradition of French pâtissiers, Catherine Adams makes the classic buttery Breton pastries - a piece of cake once you know how.

  • 470 gm bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 8 gm dried yeast
  • 395 gm unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 365 gm caster sugar
  • 18 gm (5 tsp) sea salt flakes, ground to a powder
01   Mix flour, yeast, 20gm butter, 15gm caster sugar and 8gm (2 tsp) salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed to combine. With motor running, add 310ml iced water and mix until dough comes together, then increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth (8-10 minutes). Grease a bowl with a little extra butter, then transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature until doubled in size (1-2 hours, depending on room temperature). Grease a work surface with a little butter, turn the dough out onto the greased bench and fold inwards into 3 as you would a letter to knead lightly, rotate dough and repeat this folding and rotating 3-4 times until dough is smooth and taut. Return to the greased bowl, cover and stand to rest (20-25 minutes).
02   Press the dough into a rough rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap, then wrap tightly and freeze to chill (15-20 minutes). Flip dough over and continue chilling until dough is slightly firm (15-20 minutes).
03   Meanwhile, draw a 15cm x 30cm rectangle on a much larger piece of baking paper and turn it over so the ink is underneath. Break remaining butter into pieces to fit template, then fold surrounding paper over the top to cover (if the paper doesn’t completely cover the butter, place another piece of baking paper on top). Roll over butter with a rolling pin to create a slab of even thickness. Refrigerate to firm (15-20 minutes).
04   Combine remaining caster sugar and salt in a bowl and set aside. Grease a 12-hole, ½-cupcapacity muffin tray with butter and sprinkle about 1 tsp of sugar mixture into each to coat sides and with a thin layer on the bottom.
05   Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to a rough 18cm x 48cm rectangle, keeping the ends square and a short edge closest to you.
06   If chilled butter slab is too hard, gently tap it with your rolling pin to soften; it needs to be flexible but not soft. Unwrap butter and place on the dough so it is 5cm away from the edge nearest you. Fold the edge farthest from you over the butter; it should cover half the butter.
07   Brush away excess flour, then fold the section closest to you up and over to enclose, like a letter, and press edges to seal in butter. You will now have a rectangle with 3 layers of dough and 2 layers of butter.
08   Rotate the dough 90 degrees and, keeping the bench floured, use steady even pressure to roll the dough into a rectangle 3 times as long as it is wide and 5mm thick. Dust off any excess flour, then fold the top third down and the bottom third up and over as before, keeping the edges and corners aligned. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill (40 minutes). Repeat the process with another roll, rotating 90 degrees in the same direction as before, then fold. Wrap and chill as before (40 minutes).
09   Preheat oven to 190C. Sprinkle an even layer of sugar mixture on the work surface and place the dough on top, rotating it 90 degrees. Sprinkle more sugar mixture over the dough then, working quickly (as the surface of the dough can become wet and sticky), repeat rolling and folding.
10   Rotate dough once more, sprinkle with sugar and roll to a 5mm-thick, 18cm x 48cm rectangle. Trim uneven edges, then cut dough into 12 squares of 8cm each, and sprinkle each square with ¼ tsp sugar mixture.
11   Ease a square into each muffin hole, then bring the corners in to meet in the centre and gently pinch to join using your thumb and index finger. Scatter with extra sugar mixture, stand to prove briefly (15 minutes), then bake, turning tray once during cooking, until golden and caramelised (25-35 minutes).
12   Remove tray from oven and immediately turn out kouign-amann onto a wire rack using a palette knife and tongs (be careful, caramel will be very hot). Stand upside down on rack to cool and for sugar to set (15-20 minutes), then serve. Kouign-amann are best eaten on the day they’re made but can be stored in an airtight container for a day and refreshed in a hot oven.










Aug 2016

Aug 2016

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