BAKING breads

Kouign Amann

February 3, 2012

Kouign Amann

Last week, I was at Paris des Chefs – an event that had the best chefs and designers collaborate on creating food together. Watching them at work was awe inspiring. I was particularly influenced by Alain Passard’s approach to food and his irreproachable knife skills. My favourite workshops were, of course, those that required oodles of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. I was especially keen on learning to make Kouign Amann. Why? The Amélie fan that I am (who isn’t?), I wanted to make the same cake that she bakes in the movie.

Kouign Amann is a baked sweet specialty that hails from Brittany. In Brittany, ‘Kouign’ means cake and ‘Amann’ means butter. And mind you, there’s a lot of butter. Lots and lots of it. Probably the most I’ve ever seen going into a cake. The layers of the cake are made with a firm dough that is folded with butter and a good sprinkling of sugar before every fold. On baking, the sugar seeps through the layers and caramelises the outside, while leaving the inside soft and tender. Imagine a caramelised croissant. It’s even better than that.

At the workshop, I took my spot right in front of the chef to make sure I get step-by-step photos for the whole recipe since it can be a little complicated, especially if you’re not familiar with viennoiserie. This recipe, with all its butter and sugar is a recipe worth keeping forever (or in my case, blogging). If you have a cast iron or copper pan, use that. I can only imagine how gorgeously caramelised it will be. Oh, also, topped with apples or plums.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of kouign amann. It’s two of the baking trays that you see pictured below. Because it’s so rich, you won’t need more than 1 per person (I couldn’t eat more than half!). So scaling down the recipe might be a good idea if you’re not feeding a party of 12 people.

Kouign Amann

Koiugn Amann Recipe

For the dough:
800g /1.8lb flour
25g / 5tsp salt
30g / 1oz butter
15g / 0.5oz fresh yeast (or 5g instant yeast)
400ml /13.5 fl oz water

For the layering:
650g / 23 oz / 3 1/4th cup butter
400g / 14 oz/ 2 cups sugar

1. Make a firm dough will all the ingredients, making sure not to place the yeast and salt together. Mix together by hand or by using a stand mixer for about 10-12 minutes.

Kouign Amann

2 Form a ball, place it in a bowl and score the top of the dough with a cross. This increases the surface are for the dough to expand. Cover with a cling film and let the dough rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.

Kouign Amann

3 Next, use a slab of butter that’s meant for using to make laminated dough. Of course, neither of us has that, so we’ll cut up sticks of butter to a thickness of about 1 cm and place them next to each other for this.

Kouign Amann

4 Roll out the dough to form a rectangle that’s about 45x25cm in dimension. Place the butter (dimensions 20x25cm) in the centre.

Kouign Amann

5 Fold the dough over the butter from both the sides. With each fold, dust the flour with sugar.

Kouign Amann

6 Rotate the dough by 90º, so that the fold is now perpendicular to you when you roll the dough.

Kouign Amann

7 Roll to three times it’s length. Dust with sugar.

Kouign Amann

8 Fold the dough over the centre, just like it was done in step 5.

Kouign Amann

9 Roll the dough to thrice its length again. Dust with sugar. Kouign Amann

10 Fold it into thirds again.

Kouign Amann

Kouign Amann 11 Roll out perpendicular to the fold to thrice its length. Dust with sugar.

Kouign Amann

12 Finally, fold the dough into quarters, as shown in the photograph.

Kouign Amann

13 The kouign amann dough in now ready. Roll it out once more to thickness of slightly under 1 cm.

Kouign Amann

14 When you cut vertically into the dough, you can see distinct layers.

Kouign Amann

15 You can cut a square of 15 cms and then fold in the edges to form a circle, or you can cut vertical stips, roll them up and place in cups to make individual servings.

Kouign Amann

Kouign Amann

16 Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes before baking in a preheated oven at 170ºC.

Kouign Amann

16 Based on the size of the cake dough, the baking time will vary. Bake until golden brown, and the sugar is caramelised.

Kouign Amann 17 Remove from the oven, turn the cake over so that the underside can caramelise just as well.
Kouign Amann 18 Kouignn Amann is ready – shimmering with butter.
Kouign Amann

Kouign Amann

19 Eat up. Now.


  • Reply Erica February 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Oh my, these look absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to give this a try.

  • Reply noelle February 3, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Oh mon dieu. I’m reading this over and over with the hope of having it memorized by this weekend, when I will attempt to make it. I’ll keep the questions to a minimum:

    1. Do you know what type of flour they used?
    2. And were there rests between the rollouts?
    3. How many did you eat?

    p.s. I love that you at the head of the class ;)

    • Reply The Purple Foodie February 3, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Hey Noelle! You’re too cute. Okay, so here it is:
      1. All purpose flour.
      2. No resting time between roll-outs. (Mostly because I think they wouldn’t know how to keep us occupied otherwise.) But as long as the butter is cold, you don’t need to bother with refrigeration. (And certainly not here with subzero temperatures)
      3. I couldn’t eat more than half. :( It was SO rich.

      I can’t wait to see your version of it! xx

      • Reply noelle February 17, 2012 at 12:16 AM

        This was THE BEST. The only things I did differently were to scale the recipe (way) down, start it at night/finish in the morning, and bake them in a muffin pan (except the two I tried in heart-shaped molds, but they did not want to be heart-shaped).

        Oh, and I topped the ones for myself with pink lady apple ;)

        One thing I forgot to ask — did the chefs used salted or unsalted butter? Since I wasn’t sure and was using salted butter, I used less salt in the dough.

        Thx again for sharing!

  • Reply Priya February 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM it;.

  • Reply Haley February 3, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Oh my, these look AMAZING! and I love Amelie too!

  • Reply Chaitali February 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Wonderful photos Shaheen!
    I got such crappy ones..ah well..thank you for the recipe :)

  • Reply Carol February 4, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    This is my next “off diet” day treat (sundays..yay!)
    I am trying to use a conversion chart, to find out how many cups etc. but the butter conversion is WAY off. Can you tell me in USA : ) language how much butter?

    This looks delicious!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie February 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      Hi Carol! I just updated the post with the cup and Imperial measures. Hope this helps! Happy baking!

      • Reply Carol February 5, 2012 at 1:51 AM

        Wow, thanks! Making this next Sunday.

  • Reply joey February 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    This is amazing! I have only tasted kouign amann once but I am smitten (how could you not be right?)!! There are very few places here that have it. I would get the courage to try making it but I think it is just too hot (in Manila) here to make any sort of laminated dough! These ones look gorgeous!

  • Reply Marie (Food Nouveau) February 6, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Hello Shaheen! I just discovered your blog through a tweet by @foodiebyglam and I’m so happy I did! I share your passion for food and travel and I can’t wait to read more about your adventures in Paris on your blog.

    What caught my eye in that tweet is that you wrote about kouing amann! I literally just blogged about tasting this very luscious pastry in Salt Lake City, made by one of the first pastry chefs who made it in the US. It was decadent and dreamy and I’m happy you published the recipe, I might very well give it a try! Although, as you say, it’s clearly a “once in a while” dessert… so rich! But it’s very unique so I look forward to making it at home.

    Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to get to know you better through your blog.

  • Reply katy February 9, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    While this may seem like an extreme reaction, I love love love this post! I’ve been getting these cakes at a baking booth at a local farmer’s market and have long been wondering how I could possible capture the magic at home. Thank you for the step-by-step layout!

  • Reply culinarystorm February 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    So beautiful!
    Also, I think i have a crush on the chef’s fingers :)

  • Reply Rose (Magpie's Recipes) February 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    i just want to lie down on that slab of butter. Would love to make this but am petrified of laminated dough. Someday sigh!

  • Reply Marion February 27, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Wow! Those look tasty! I spent parts of my summer last year in Douarnenez, birthplace of the Kouign Amann, and the Kouign Amann there were sooo delicious! Thanks for the recipe! And I love your blog :)

  • Reply Sammie April 2, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Love your posts and the passion you have for baking. You have rolled your dough into a perfect rectangle in step 9. I have never been able to achieve this perfection and end up trimming the edges with a pastry wheel :).. Is the rolling pin marble?
    Keep fueling your passion..


  • Reply Tiong Bahru Bakery (SG) « May 26, 2012 at 3:39 AM

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  • Reply Jeannie May 30, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Looks so lovely and of course the taste must be really delicious with all those butter and sugar in it! Great photos!

  • Reply Marilyn September 12, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    What is bread improver it was in another Koiugn Amann Recipe i got from a french website? Yours looked beautiful and delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Eigentlich Kouign Amann | missboulette October 9, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    […] legen und Zucker darüber streuen. Falten/Tourieren: 3x einfache und 1x doppelte Tour – wie hier anschaulich erklärt. Jedesmal beim Einklappen etwas Zucker einstreuen. Den Teig wieder eine halbe […]

  • Reply zita October 11, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    looks great sounds great
    i read in a french cookbook the dough should rest overnight in the fridge?!?!?! Seems to have great Breton recipes

  • Reply Marbelva October 15, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Just returned from Paris yesterday and had Googled looking for Kouign Amann. Found a great neighborhood bakery “Ble Sucre” that made a scrumptious cake. Even got the recipe from them (ingredients only though) as they said its like making a crousaint , so I found your procedures as the ingredients were very similar. They’re in the oven as I write and look good so far.

  • Reply Lya Luna Becnel October 22, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipie and pictures. We make Kouign Amann at Tony Caputo’s Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. We fill them up with Chuao Amedei Chocolate Ganache and bake them every morning. I fell in love with them when my husban and I traveled to Vannes, a Kouign Amann town, that we decided to make them and sell them here in US.

    • Reply Alex Fenton April 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      Why don’t you make them at Tony Caputo’s Market in Salt Lake City any more. Are you still making them in the Salt Lake Area.
      Alex Fenton

  • Reply Reginald October 24, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Hello purple foodie! Thanks for posting this recipe. I have the temperature at 170 Celsius but can you give us some average baking times for both the 6 inch cake size and the smaller roll up size? Thanks

  • Reply Shredbetty January 3, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Thank you for posting the recipe. I made these this weekend and they were delicious. Here is an image of the finished product.

    I made a couple of teeny tiny changes based upon some research. First, I made a softer dough, reducing the flour by about 200 grams. And I used oil instead of butter in the dough to make a more pliable dough. Since I didn’t have those wonderful rings, using the muffin tins, and the bottoms and tops bake evenly, so I didn’t have to turn them. I used unsalted butter instead of salted and added fleur de sel.

    • Reply Lanie June 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      How many cups of flour did you use?

  • Reply Eddy van der Geest February 1, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Thank you all (but in particular to Purple Foodie) for giving your various renditions of this fabulously decadent pastry. My wife and I have enjoyed them from Bouchon in LA while visiting the West Coast and due to the lack of finding them locally on the UES of NY, I will try to copy your recipes! (I guess there is a bakery downtown and he apparently sells out everyday!)


  • Reply Denis & Johanne March 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Thank you for this awesome recipe. This recipe matches up with the best Kouign Amann in Paris…we’ve been to Georges Larnicol’s shop on rue Rivoli so we know of what we speak.
    I made some a few weeks ago (half of which I slathered a layer crunchy Biscoff spread on the last fold) & my wife has forbidden me from ever making these addictive treats again (haha but I’m making some for Easter).
    Cheers from Canada!

    • Reply Shaheen March 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      I love the salted caramel one at Maison Larnicol! Happy Easter.

  • Reply carol shinker May 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    I just got back from Paris and tripped over the K.A. at Larnicol. I had heard of them from David Lebovitz’ site. They are incredible – of course, the salted caramel are the best ones. Any idea on how to accomplish that variation on the basic recipe? I can’t afford to fly back to Paris yet and I haven’t found them in the SF Bay area.

    • Reply Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:25 AM

      Hi Carol – I love the salted carmale ones at Larnicol as well, but I think warm kouign amann with this caramel sauce will be even better.

    • Reply Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:25 AM

      Hi Carol – I love the salted carmel ones at Larnicol as well, but I think warm kouign amann with this caramel sauce will be even better.

    • Reply Jamie December 21, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      Carol: Rainbow Grocers sells them, plain and chocolate. I just completed a chocolate one. It’s my current favorite dessert. I can’t imagine making them from scratch, though.

      • Reply carol December 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

        Ohhh, Jamie – do you mean Rainbow General store in SF???

        • Reply Jamie December 26, 2013 at 2:35 AM

          Yes, Rainbow; the worker-owned cooperative. It’s at Folsom & Division.

          • carol December 26, 2013 at 6:11 AM

            That’s the one. Thanks, I’ll look for them!

          • Jamie January 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM

            Terrible news! Rainbow no longer carries them!! The person in charge of bakery goods said they weren’t a big seller. :-(

  • Reply Cory May 31, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    this looked so amazing! So i did these just before, but when i did the second fold , my dough tears. all the butter comes out, and i can’t roll it into 1 cm , please help me!!! And do you know why my dough tears so easily?
    Thanks a lot:)) P.S. pardon my poor english

    • Reply Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Hi Cory, It could tear easily because you haven’t kneaded it well (poor gluten network formation) and/or not let it rest before rolling.

  • Reply david June 6, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    And the butter is…? Unsalted? Salted? With extra salt (as in one recipe). Breton?

    • Reply Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      Unsalted! (President butter was used here)

  • Reply Lanie June 13, 2013 at 9:26 PM


    I’d love to make this today! I’m having trouble converting the flour measurement! Is it 61/4 cups? Thanks

    • Reply Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      Sorry, Lanie, I didn’t make them but watched the deomstration (Where they measured the flour in grams). I’ve stopped using cups for years so I don’t want to give you an approximate that I can’t be sure of. Sorry!

  • Reply K June 14, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    I’m an intermediate baker at best, and tried this today. I combined the recipe of David Lebowitz and the single serve technique for this and… I failed! Haha, it may have been a combination of several factors, such as living in a tropical country (the butter melted through the dough), and not having used the best butter there was. I will try again, because it still turned out delicious, but did not look nearly as appetizing as these.

  • Reply Lynne September 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Oh my goodness, you made this look so simple I might even try this on now.
    looks like it would just melt in your mouth..

  • Reply Brown Butter Madeleines | The Purple Foodie December 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    […] when we’ve cleaned up after lunch service and the chef and I are making salted Bordier butter kouign amann. It’s a bit of a see-saw when I’m put in a spot to pick one over the other, but […]

  • Reply Marina | Let the Baking Begin! May 4, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    I had this at a french bakery in Portland, OR and it was sooo amazingly delicious that I will definitely use this recipe to try to recreate it at home. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply Carol May 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Oh, cool, Marina! Let us know how they come out. They are so incredibly good… I see we have a small peanut-gallery here paying attention. More highly evolved, perhaps!
    Good luck with them! I haven’t tried them here in Australia but it’s finally getting cool enough for me to attempt it! And I’ll never find them in a bakery around Tweed Heads…

  • Reply Kevin July 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Hi !
    Can I use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar?

    I’ve tried the recipe, and using granulated sugar. The most difficult part is when i dust the dough with sugar before folding it using single fold, then rolled it. The sugar seems to pierce the dough so the butter also melt. Resulting when i baked it, the middle part of my kouign amann was too doughy and soft like bread. Not like in your pic. looks delicious flaky and caramelized :( help me pls! thank you

    • Reply Shaheen August 12, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      You need to use caster sugar. You could powder granulated sugar, but caster is better.

  • Reply Kouign Amann | Food & Travel Blog The Purple Foodie December 23, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    […] (reduce to 170C halfway if it’s browning too quickly) for a good caramelisation. * I used this kouign amann recipe, but scaled it down to 25% and that made me 10 individual cakes that I baked in a muffin pan. * If […]

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