Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Baking Bible: Kouign Amann

Hello blogosphere! It has been well over a year since my last post. I was considering retiring the blog until Rose published her latest baking book (The Baking Bible) and the Heavenly Bakers were resurrected and renamed Rose's Alpha Bakers. I couldn't say no to another bake along with this wonderful group of people, so here we go.

The first project we tackled was the pastry that graces the cover of the book: the Kouign Amann. It is a marvelous laminated pastry from Breton: rich with butter, sweetened with sugar, and flaky and crispy and carmelized and pretty much all that you would ever want in a pastry.

I was terrified of laminated dough before I made these. All that rolling and turning and refrigeration! It turns out that it is pretty easy, although it requires a day when you can be at home, like, ALL DAY.

Name of Pastry: Laminate!
Occasion: Alpha Bakers, unite!
Constituents: flour, yeast, sugar, and a crap ton of butter

First off a dough of the usual suspects is made: flour, yeast, a little butter, water, a pinch of salt. Then comes the fun part: incorporating the crap ton of butter. Now, this butter should be a nice high fat kind like that stuff from Europe, so I chose the lovely Kerrygold. And you use the whole package.

So the butter is kneaded/shaped into a square, then the dough is rolled out into a larger square. The corners are rolled a little longer and folded around your butter like a little pillowy envelope.


Then the dough is rolled out into a rectangle (a very precise one with corners and straight edges and specific dimensions!) and folded into thirds. This get wrapped and put to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.


The second turn goes the same as the first. This time, I had some company from the young sir.


His name is Eliot, and he's 9 months old. That's his dad, my husband, standing next to him. They keep me busy.

The third turn is where things get all funky. This is where you add all the sugar, which eventually makes the dough sticky and wet and all sorts of difficult to work with.

Eventually the sticky sugar dough gets divided into eight pieces, shaped and placed into foil rings to rise and then bake.



The house smelled of butter as the pastries baked. That is a very good thing. The husband was very excited.

Oh man. Even when the dough gets sticky and difficult and you start to wonder if this is worth it, even when you've spent all day going back and forth from the refrigerator and not going outside, once you take your first bite of a still warm from the oven, homemade Kouign Amann, you know you are making them again. Mark called me a rockstar for homemade laminated dough, and that's a pretty cool complement.


So don't be afraid of laminated pastry, friends. Next rainy Sunday grab The Baking Bible and make yourself something amazing.


24 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hi Jen, your posting step by step looks very nice and your pastries nice and also the pictures are look nice and who is that little one there , he's being such a happy good boy , oh I'm one of the new girls in the bake along.

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  2. Hi Jen! Your Amanns looked great! You have such an adorable baby and such good boy to let you do your thing. LOL! I LOVE your pastry board and such long wooden ruler! I have to get one of these long ruler!

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  3. These look so great, makes my mouth water to look at the pictures.

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  4. I love your steps by steps pictures and the fact that you are crafty with your moving kitchen space.. and kudos for the innovating way to use "pins" to hold the makeshift rings - and congratulations (belated) on the new addition - cutie pie. Its good to be back!

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  5. ECL! Congrats on the Kouign and the baby!!! And a new place looks like? (the lighting looks different). I love your post and your "Occassion" name.

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    1. Hi Jenn! Yes, we moved in August. There's not as much light here so I suspect you'll see a lot of photos either on the table or on the couch! I love that you suspected we moved because the light looks different; a true photographer!

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  6. Your pastries look delicious :) I love your homemade rings too...Very creative!

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  7. First off, your little guy is a cutie pie! Great job with your pastries. I love that you used hairpins to keep the homemade pastry rings together. I hope you'll stop by and see my post. Have a great night!

    http://www.butteryum.org/roses-alpha-bakers/2014/11/6/tbb-kouigns-amann-queen-ya-mahn

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  8. ב''ה

    Cute kid! Mazel Tov! Love the pin idea. Your pastries look like they go to eleven.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOO5S4vxi0o
    :)

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    1. i started playing the youtube clip and my husband, from across the room, yelled out, "that's my favorite movie!" well played, sir.

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  9. First things first. Eliot is a sweetie--if only we weren't so far away we could have a play date with your Eliot and my grandson J.J. JJ loved the Kouigns--is Eliot too young to eat them? Second, I love it that you use the well-known technical term "crap load of butter." Third, it's really fun to be back. Finally, your pastries look heavenly.

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    1. oh, a playdate with your grandson would be so fun! we could get woody to look after them while we bake, haha. eliot has yet to grow any teeth, so unless i puree one for him, no kouign amann just yet.

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  10. thanks, everyone, for all your comments and for cooing over the baby! :) it's so good to be baking with you all once again.

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  11. BABY!!! Well done! Your pastries have the perfect color crust.

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  12. Hi Jen, I'm new to this board, but not new to Rose. I've been following her for years and years, and while I'm not an Alpha Baker (I'm on the alternates list) I'll be baking along with you. Your KA's look really, really delicious. And your pastry board is one of a kind. I've never seen anything like it before--a beautiful tool. Anyway, if you want to see my experience with the KA's, you can find me here: http://www.thefinercookie.com/new-blog-1/. Best of luck with this journey.

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    1. This was my first experience with the pastry board and I have to say, it is worth every penny. It's from Williams-Sonoma, called Reversible Pastry Board.

      You must have great discipline to bake along with us without being held accountable! ;)

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  13. Anonymous2/12/14 05:55

    Enjoy your posts and pics. :)

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  14. Love your pictures. Especially the one with your little helper.

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  15. Hi, Jen--everything is more fun and tastes better with a baby nearby! I remember those days. My baby boy just turned 23! Your pastries are gorgeous! Great photos. I'm so glad to be baking along with you and the other Alpha Bakers. Visit me when you can-- www.artfuloven.com

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  16. Hi Jen, Eliot is very cute and he looks so happy to be baking!

    I would never have attempted these by myself and was amazed, like you, that they weren't that scary after all. Yours look delicious - I wish I had saved some of mine...

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  17. Anonymous5/12/14 07:57

    I am not an Alpha baker so forgive me for butting in, but I hope you remember me. Just had to congratulate you on having a lovely little boy, I have a nephew with the same name. Happy baking, Jeannette.

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    1. Hi Jeanette, of course I remember you! You are always welcome to butt in; the projects are not for Alpha Bakers alone. Please do come by often and let me know how you are doing. I still remember our bake-alongs fondly. Happy holidays, Jen

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