Sourdough Kouign Amann | “The fattiest pastry in all of Europe”

sourdough kouign amann
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If you are a pastry lover, this one will most likely become your favourite with the first bite! Sourdough Kouign Amann is made with sourdough puff pastry and layers upon layers of butter and sugar, creating a flaky, buttery pastry with an irresistible crunchy caramelised exterior.

I’ve long considered an almond croissant to be my favourite pastry in the world. But it all changes in an instant when I first bit into one of these delicious Kouign Amann. Butter and sugar-rich naturally leaved puff pastry is made into something in between a croissant and a palmier.

Kouign Amann was traditionally made in a cake tin. Coming from Brittany, it is no surprise it is one of the richest pastries there is. So much so that New York Times named it “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe”. We know Bretons love their butter! As a matter of fact, kouign means cake and amann means butter in the Breton language.

I feel that Kouign Amann, like many good things, gained popularity in the UK after it was one of the technical bake challenges on the Great British Bake Off in 2014. I was instantly drawn to try the recipe and now, seven years later I feel that it has been made better by using sourdough puff pastry.

sourdough kouign amann

If you’ve ever made your own puff pastry, you will know that it can take patience, precision and a gentle hand when rolling. Yes, using sourdough adds time to your bakes, in the sense that the dough needs to be left for much longer to autolyse, ferment and prove. Having said that, sourdough puff pastry also has huge benefits. Not only it adds to the flavour (that signature sourdough tang!), but the long fermentation time makes the dough a lot easier to roll out.

Puff pastry, sourdough or not, does take a bit of practice, but I wouldn’t be discouraged to try making it, even if you are a beginner. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it is still a buttery delight and will taste great! And once you’ve mastered puff pastry, your opportunities are endless, think croissants, pain au chocolate, palmiers, delicious pie tops… the list goes on.

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Before we jump into the recipe itself, there are a few things I’d like to note specifically:

  • You may choose to make these Kouign Amann in either large muffin tin (I used this one for this recipe) or small muffin tin, like this one here.
  • Use strong bread flour to make your puff pastry for the Sourdough Kouign Amann. Firstly, the dough will be easier to roll out. Secondly, the Kouign Amann will hold their shape better in the tin. And the finished pastries will be puffier.
  • Use salted butter. Kouign Amann pastries were created with a true sweet tooth in mind! I feel that using salted butter cuts through the sweetness slightly and make them taste even better.
  • Leave the dough to rest in the fridge (ideally overnight) before laminating. The gluten in the sourdough will develop and the dough will be much easier to handle and roll out.
  • When laminating the dough, the butter must stay cold so it doesn’t ooze out the sides or assimilate into the dough. However, it’s also important to keep it pliable. Generally speaking, it should be of a similar consistency to the cold straight-out the fridge dough.
  • For my Sourdough Kouign Amann, I used 60% granulated 40% light brown sugar. However, brown sugar gives the pastry brownish colour that some may find less appealing. Whilst using all white granulated sugar produces beautiful delicious pastries, I find adding brown sugar adds to the flavour.
  • Once baked, take the pastries out of the tin as soon as they come out of the oven. All the sugar will caramelise on the outside of the pastry, so your Sourdough Kouign Amann will definitely stick if you leave them to cool in the tin.
  • Cool your Kouign Amann fully before digging in (yes, I am a massive hypocrite!). For me, they are too greasy if eaten warm. What is more, if you cut into your Sourdough Kouign Amann whilst still hot, it will create a gummy texture (just like with bread).

Ok then. Here we go! Get ready to make the best French pastry in the world (no exaggeration!).


How to Make Sourdough Kouign Amann?

The recipe takes two days to make (it’s worth it, I promise!). You will feed your starter, autolyse and prove your dough, before placing it in the fridge overnight for a second cold prove. On Day 2, it’s all about laminating and layering the pastry with butter and sugar. After a short final proof, your Sourdough Kouign Amann will be ready to bake.

Day 1: Feed your Starter And Make the Dough

First thing in the morning feed your starter (100% hydration) so that it’s active and at its peak when you’re ready to make the dough. A good starter should double within 4-6 hours when fed. At this stage, take 25g of butter out of the fridge, cube it and leave to soften for later.

When the starter has doubled in size, add it to 50ml of water and half of the strong flour (90g). Mix to a rough dough and leave covered with a tea towel at room temperature for about an hour to autolyse. During this process, the gluten in the flour will start to develop and starch will break down, creating a more elastic and smoother dough to work with.

After an hour, add the sugar, salt and the remaining flour (85g) to your dough and knead for a couple of minutes. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, but this isn’t necessary. The dough should feel quite firm and shouldn’t be sticky. You can easily knead it by hand. Bit by bit, work in your butter. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes.

What you’ve just made is détrempe. Any puff pastry, sourdough or not, consists of two main elements, the dough (détrempe) and the butter/ other fat (beurrage), that is introduced in the process known as laminating (which will be done the next day).

For now, pop the dough into a large lightly-greased bowl and place it in a warm spot to prove for 5-6 hours. By the end, the dough should feel airy, soft and elastic.

Cover the dough thoroughly to prevent drying out or forming a crust. Place it in the fridge until the next morning.

Day 2: Laminate, Add Sugar Layers, Final Proof & Bake

Take the salted butter out of the fridge in advance to soften slightly. Place it on baking parchment, place another sheet of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, gently roll it out into a 20x20cm (8×8 in) square. Take care not to break the butter, leave it to soften further if it’s too brittle to roll. When rolled, wrap it in the parchment and place in the fridge for a short while to firm up. I like to draw a square on the baking parchment, flip it so the pencil mark is on the other side and then roll it to shape. Being precise at this stage means that you;ll end up with an exact square, and thus the butter will be distributed more evenly when rolling later.

Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Trying not too knock all the air out of the dough stretch and roll it out into approx. 25x25cm (10x10in) square.

Take the butter out of the fridge, unwrap it and place in the middle of the dough square. Stretching one side at a time, fold the edges into the middle creating a square envelope. Once you stretch and fold all four sides into the middle, pinch the edges together to fully encase the butter. You should now have a 20x20cm butter parcel.

Flour the top and using a rolling pin, very gently start rolling it out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet. Be careful and gentle with the dough, making sure your rolling pin doesn’t stick and expose the butter. Furthermore, you want the butter rolled into an even layer between the dough.

Move the pastry sheet so that the long edge is facing you. From the short edge, hold 1/3 of the sheet into the middle, then take the opposite short edge and fold it over the first one (like a letter or a pamphlet). If your butter is very soft and the dough is hard to handle, wrap it in baking parchment and pop in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. If your kitchen is cold and you’ve worked quite fast, you can continue with the next step.

Turn the dough so that the long open edge is closest to you. Roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet again. Fold the dough like a letter or a pamphlet (just like before). Repeat this process once again. Folded like a letter, wrap the pastry in baking parchment and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet again. Sprinkle the surface with 1/3 of the sugar and fold the dough like a later again. You can either refrigerate your pastry to firm up again or carry on if the butter hasn’t softened too much.

Once again, roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet, sprinkle with another 1/3 of the sugar and fold into a letter. Repeat once again. Wrap the pastry and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Assembly:

Generously butter your muffin tin. Put a bit of sugar in each muffin hole and swish it around to cover the sides in sugar.

Take your sourdough puff pastry out of the fridge and place it on a surface lightly dusted with caster sugar.

FOR 6-HOLE LARGE MUFFIN TIN: Roll your pastry into 24x36cm (5x15in) rectangle. Cut into six equal 12cm (5in) squares.

IF USING 12-HOLE SMALL MUFFIN TIN: Roll your pastry into 30x40cm (12x16in) rectangle. Cut into twelve equal 10cm (4in) squares.

It helps to use a silicone baking mat for the ease of reference to measurements. Also, if your kitchen tends to be very warm, working with a stainless steel rolling pin is recommended.

Gather the pastry squares by their four corners and place them into a muffin tin, so that the corners point upwards. Leave the Sourdough Kouign Amann to proof for 1 hour (don’t expect them to double at this point, but they will puff up slightly).

Preheat the oven to 190°C Fan.

Bake the pastries for 30-35min for the small muffin size and 35-40min for the large-muffin size until deep golden brown. Due to high sugar content, they may brown very quickly. Cover the pastries with foil towards the end to avoid burning, if needed.

When the Sourdough Kouign Amann are baked, invert the muffin tin onto a cooling rack (they will stick to the tin otherwise). Leave them to cool upside down.

Cool completely before eating! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days!


If you don’t yet have a sourdough starter, we have a simple step-by-step guide here. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next Sourdough adventure, have a look at:

sourdough kouign amann

Sourdough Kouign Amann

If you are a pastry lover, this one will most likely become your favourite with your first bite! Sourdough Kouign Amann is made with sourdough puff pastry and layers upon layers of sugar, creating a flaky, buttery pastry with the irresistible crunchy caramelised exterior.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Fermenting, Chilling & Proving: 22 hrs
Total Time 1 d 40 mins
Course Baking, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Breton, French
Servings 6 pastries
Calories 478 kcal

Equipment

  • 6-hole large muffin tin or 12-hole small muffin tin

Ingredients
 
 

For the Dough:

  • 190 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
  • 50 ml lukewarm water
  • 175 g strong bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 15 g caster sugar
  • 25 g butter cubed, room temperature

For Laminating:

  • 180 g salted butter
  • 180 g caster sugar see notes on sugar in the text above

For the Tin:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

Instructions
 

Day 1:

  • First thing in the morning feed your starter,(100% hydration) so that it's active and at its peak when you're ready to make the dough. A good starter should double within 4-6 hours when fed.
  • When the starter has doubled in size, add it to 50ml of water and half of the strong flour (90g). Mix to a rough dough and leave covered wit ha tea towel at room temperature for about an hour to autolyse.
  • After an hour, add sugar, salt and the remaining flour (85g) to your dough and knead for a couple of minutes (you can easily knead this dough by hand as it should be quite firm and not sticky). Bit by bit, work in your butter. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes.
  • Pop the dough into a large lightly-greased bowl and place it in a warm spot to prove for 5-6 hours. By the end, the dough should feel airy, soft and elastic.
  • Cover the dough thoroughly and place it in the fridge until the next morning.

Day 2:

  • Take the butter out of the fridge in advance to soften slightly. Place it on a baking parchment, place another sheet of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, gently roll it out into a 20x20cm (8×8 in) square. Take care not to break the butter, leave it to soften further if it's too brittle to roll. When rolled, wrap it in the parchment and place in the fridge for a short while to firm up.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Trying not too knock all the air out of the dough streatch and roll it out into approx. 25x25cm (10x10in) square.
  • Take the butter out of the fridge, unwrap it and place in the middle of the dough square. Stretching one side at a time, fold the edges into the middle creating a square envelope (see photos). Once you stretch and fold all four sides into the middle, pinch the edges together. You should now have a 20x20cm butter parcel.
  • Flour the top and using a rolling pin, very gently start rolling it out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet. Be careful and gentle with the dough, making sure your rolling pin doesn't stick and expose the butter.
  • Move the pastry sheet so that the long edge is facing you. From the short edge, hold 1/3 of the sheet into the midle, then take the opposite short edge and fold it over the first one (like a letter or a pamphlet). If your butter is very soft and the dough is hard to handle, wrap it in baking parchment and pop in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. If your kitchen is cold and you've worked fast, you can continue with the next step.
  • Turn the dough so that the longer open edge is closest to you. Roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet again. Fold the dough like a letter or a pamthlet (just like before). Repeat this process once again. Folded like a letter, wrap the pastry in baking pachment and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet again. Sprinkle the surface with a third of the sugar and fold the dough like a later again. You can either refrigerate your pastry to firm up again, or carry on if the butter hasn't softened too much.
  • Once again, roll the dough out into a 20x60cm (8x24in) sheet, sprinkle with another fird of the sugar and fold into a letter. Repeat once again, then wrap the pastry and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Assembly:

  • Generously butter your muffin tin. Put a bit of sugar in each muffin hole and swish it around to cover the sides in sugar.
  • Take your sourdough puff pastry out of the fridge and place it on a surface lightly dusted with caster sugar.
  • IF USING 6-HOLE LARGE MUFFIN TIN: Roll your pastry into 24x36cm (5x15in) rectagle. Cut into six equal 12cm (5in) squares.
  • IF USING 12-HOLE SMALL MUFFIN TIN: Roll your pastry into 30x40cm (12x16in) rectagle. Cut into twelve equal 10cm (4in) squares.
  • Gather the pastry squares by their four corners and place them into a muffin tin, so that the corners point upwards. Leave the Kouign Amann to proof for 1 hour (don't expect them to double at this point, but they will puff up slighty).
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C Fan.
  • Bake the pastried for 30-35min for the small muffin size and 35-40min for large-muffin size until deep golden brown. Due to high sugar content, they may brown very quickly. Cover the pastries with foil towards the end to avoid burning.
  • When the Sourdough Kouign Amann are baked, invert the muffin tin onto a cooling wrack (they will stick to the tin otherwise). Leave them to cool upside down.
  • Cool completely before eating! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days!

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 414mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 1gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 757IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
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sourdough kouign amann

4 Replies to “Sourdough Kouign Amann | “The fattiest pastry in all of Europe””

  1. Could the last 2hour rest be overnight? That way they get cut, 1 hour rise, and baked baked first thing in the morning?

    1. Yes, it can. Once you’ve laminated the pastry, you can keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days before using it, but at least 2 hours! Happy baking!

  2. For the 12 hole muffin tin, I believe you meant “cut into 12 pieces”, right?

    1. Yes, that’s right! Well spotted and thanks for letting me know!

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