Pronounced 'queen-a-mahn,' kouign-amann wouldn't be one of the world's greatest pastries if it also weren't a legendary labor of love. The irresistible combination of sweet, salty, sticky, buttery, crispy, flaky, and tender is something you must experience to believe. Made with bread flour, the dough is a little different from croissants or puff pastry. Salt is also key here; the authentic ones are about as savory as they are sweet.

Recipe Summary

prep:
40 mins
cook:
25 mins
additional:
3 hrs 30 mins
total:
4 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
12 kouign-amann
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Dough:
For the Seasoned Sugar:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes.

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  • Add melted butter, 2 cups flour, and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a very sticky dough. Dust your work surface with remaining 1/2 cup flour.

  • Turn dough out onto the floured counter. Knead, folding in the excess flour as needed, until dough is soft, slightly sticky, and elastic. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Combine sugar and most of the sea salt together in a bowl. Mix, taste, and add more salt as needed.

  • Butter a 12-cup muffin tin. Spoon some of the seasoned sugar into the cups and shake to coat. Turn tin over and return excess sugar to the bowl.

  • Transfer dough onto a floured surface and press into a rough rectangle. Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Grate cold butter onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Flatten butter using lightly floured hands. Fold rectangle widthwise into thirds. Press gently to square out the edges. Place dough onto a silicone-lined baking sheet. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • Roll dough into a large rectangle again, pulling and stretching the corners as needed. Grate the second stick of butter over the surface. Pat down with floured fingers and fold into thirds. Roll back out into a rectangle and fold into thirds. Repeat rolling and folding one more time. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of the seasoned sugar onto your work surface. Place dough onto the sugar and sprinkle more sugar on top. Roll into a large rectangle about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, turning and topping with sugar between rolls.

  • Use a pizza cutter to trim away uneven edges. Cut dough into 12 even pieces. Sprinkle more sugar on top. Lightly pinch each pastry into a crown shape by bringing all four corners to the center; place into the muffin cups. Sprinkle more sugar on top. Let rest for 10 minutes.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until browned and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer onto a cooling rack while still hot. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Chef's Notes:

Substitute sea salt with kosher salt if desired.

Shape dough trimmings and place on a separate baking sheet if desired.

Nutrition Facts

291 calories; protein 3.3g 7% DV; carbohydrates 30.4g 10% DV; fat 17.7g 27% DV; cholesterol 45.7mg 15% DV; sodium 470.3mg 19% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (50)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/08/2019
These. Are. PHENOMENAL! I’ve made them twice now. This second time, I made a triple batch to bring to an event. I used the croissant method of locking in a slab of butter rather than grating, because it seemed easier to me. I made the dough and shaped the pastries the night before, then let them proof overnight in their muffin cups, topped with greased plastic wrap, in the fridge. I baked them the next morning, just letting them rest at room temp while the oven preheated, and it worked perfectly. For the big batch, I had to use every muffin tin I had in the house, which included a silicone pan and individual silicon muffin cups: they all baked fine. (Don’t forget to put the trays on baking sheets to catch any butter drips.) I could eat these pastries every weekend. They taste best at room temperature, if you can wait that long. Oh, and be sure to bake them until they’re a deep golden brown so that they’re fully baked through in the centers and the sugar has a chance to caramelize. Read More
(20)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/11/2020
Way too salty. I used unsalted butter and less than the amount of salt called for and they were too salty to eat. The method was great though and the texture of the finished pastry was perfection. Read More
(3)
58 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 49
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
05/08/2019
These. Are. PHENOMENAL! I’ve made them twice now. This second time, I made a triple batch to bring to an event. I used the croissant method of locking in a slab of butter rather than grating, because it seemed easier to me. I made the dough and shaped the pastries the night before, then let them proof overnight in their muffin cups, topped with greased plastic wrap, in the fridge. I baked them the next morning, just letting them rest at room temp while the oven preheated, and it worked perfectly. For the big batch, I had to use every muffin tin I had in the house, which included a silicone pan and individual silicon muffin cups: they all baked fine. (Don’t forget to put the trays on baking sheets to catch any butter drips.) I could eat these pastries every weekend. They taste best at room temperature, if you can wait that long. Oh, and be sure to bake them until they’re a deep golden brown so that they’re fully baked through in the centers and the sugar has a chance to caramelize. Read More
(20)
Rating: 5 stars
05/28/2019
I followed the instructions to a "T", with one minor exception - I used salted butter vs unsalted butter because that's all I had in the house. I thought the results were perfection, but my wife thought they were just a tad too salty, although she ate them with relish. So, next time I will make them with unsalted butter to keep harmony in the marriage. But really - these are FANTASTIC! They weren't as hard to make as I had thought. Using the cheese grater to grate the frozen butter is pure genius - way easier than beating cold butter and rolling it out. I will henceforth make these whenever I really want to impress someone - they are beautiful and delicious. PS - I baked at 350 convection - took 29 minutes. Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
06/27/2019
These are absolutely amazing. The only change I make is when I make the dough, i put it in the fridge to rise overnight and finish the next day. Read More
(7)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/01/2019
The recipe is simple to follow but definitely time consuming since there is a lot of downtime while you waitFor the dough to chill. I’m always willing to try a recipe once before I decide if it is worth it and my conclusion is that it is definitely worth it! My family thoroughly enjoyed these treats and wouldn’t let me give them away Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
07/27/2019
This recipe was a hit with everyone! I stopped part way through at the step before adding the sugar/salt to the dough and left this in the fridge overnight. It worked out great since I had a fresh batch with breakfast the next day. Read More
(4)
Rating: 3 stars
01/11/2020
Way too salty. I used unsalted butter and less than the amount of salt called for and they were too salty to eat. The method was great though and the texture of the finished pastry was perfection. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/13/2019
These came out *perfect.* My one note would be to make sure you de-pan them quickly, before the caramelized sugar hardens! I made a double batch and pulled them all out at the same time, lesson learned! This was surprisingly easy though. I used a food processor to grate frozen butter, and only used a little more than half of the salt for the sugar mixture. This one's going in the recipe book! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2020
No changes to the recipe, I will make this again & again. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
11/15/2019
By far easiest method grating the butter in. I actually found them needing more salt and sugar (next time I will use Kosher & not fine seasalt). I used Kerry Gold butter (higher fat lower water). They also took MUCH longer to bake than stated - used a light aluminum coloured muffin tin but better long and unburnt. The layers turned out beautifully well next time will layer the sugar/salt mix between the last fold and turn steps. Tried other methods and recipes this is by far the friendliest. Read More
(2)