For all those who’ve put off getting their hands dirty with laminated doughs, kouign amann is a great place to start. Somewhere between a bread and a Danish, it only requires a couple of “turns” of the dough, and they need not be perfect. This is a rustic pastry, so your standards need not be terribly high. As I’ve said before in regard to laminated dough, you shouldn’t let fear of failure stop you, because with this much butter there is no failing, only degrees of winning.
This recipe is rather large, enough for four larger 9″ pastries, or up to twenty individual, Danish-like versions. Why the extra quantity? I’ve always felt that if I’m going to go to the trouble of laminating, I might as well make enough to freeze for some other occasion. I’ve also always been of the opinion that a larger quantity is easier to work with. You’ll need:
1 lb. 12 ounces all-purpose flour
1 ounce melted butter
14 ounces water
1 tablespoon, two teaspoons instant yeast
1 lb. lightly salted butter
egg wash (2 beaten eggs plus two teapoons water)
1 cup granulated sugar for topping
Combine the flour, melted butter, water and yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir until all ingredients are moistened and switch to the dough hook. Knead for 1-2 minutes, until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, apply cooking spray or a small amount of oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit for 1/2 an hour, until about doubled.
About ten minutes before the dough is ready, make your butter block according to the instructions on laminating dough under the Techniques menu. Make your dough packet, roll it out and give it two turns, resting the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator after each turn, covered with plastic wrap. The dough will rest happily in your refrigerator for 2-3 days days at this point, or it can be frozen for three months.
When ready to make your pastries do a final turn, this time sprinkling sugar over the dough before you fold it. Cut the dough into four pieces (just under 16 ounces each) and roll them out to 8″ to 9″ circles. (alternately, you can roll the dough out flat, cut it into small square and shape the squares as you would cheese Danishes). Place the circles into parchment-lined pans, cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until puffy.
While the kouigns are proofing, preheat your oven to 400. When they’re fully proofed, paint them with egg wash, sprinkle them liberally with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. Serve warm.