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Kouign amann

Since work is canceled, well to be honest everything is canceled, I've decided to try some of the recipes that I've been meaning to do but haven't had the time. I started with kouign amann. I saw it for the first time on The Great British Baking Show as a technical challenge. It is a yeasted, laminated pastry from France (hence the name I can't pronounce). This is the first time I've tried laminating dough and its been awhile since I used traditional yeast. But its fun to experiment so here it goes.

First step is to make the dough. In the mixer add 300 grams of bread flour, 5 grams of yeast and teaspoon salt (make sure they are on different sides of the bowl). Turn on the mixer, using the dough hook, and slowly mix in 200 ml of warm water and 25 grams melted butter. After two minutes and good bowl scrape, turn the mixer up to medium and beat for six minutes. This is your kneading to get the gluten developed, but since its an enriched dough it doesn't need much. When the six minutes is up, pull it out, form into a ball and set in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour.

I found that making the dough the easiest part of this whole thing. The next step was tricky. Take 250 grams of butter and flatten it into 14 cm square, in between two sheets of wax paper. The original instructions have you using a rolling pin. That makes sense if you use a wooden one. I have a marble one. I am not going to beat on things with that. So I pulled out a sauce pan and used that. Now the trickiest part of this is the butter should be relatively cold while you do this. Meaning its hard and it takes quite a bit of bashing. Or like what happened at my house, my husband come through and did it for me so the banging stopped. Which works too. Once it was flattened I returned the butter to the fridge.

At the end of rise place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 20 cm square. Place the square of butter on the dough so corners of the square point to the sides of square underneath. Fold the corners of the dough over to encase the butter. Now this is where I struggled and I want to give you a heads up. Roll the whole thing out into a rectangle. Now this sounds easy, but what I found is with cold butter and warm dough it doesn't want to behave. The dough slips around and butter just sits there. Rather then doing a traditional rolling action, after some trial and error, I found that "bouncing" the rolling pin along worked better. What I mean by that is that I would press, pick up the rolling pin and then press on the next spot. Once you have the dough in a rectangle fold it the same way you would fold a letter. Wrap it in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Do this two more times. These folds will become the laminations or flakiness of the finished product.

Pull the dough out of the fridge after the last folding. Roll it out again into a large rectangle and sprinkle with 100 grams of castor sugar. Fold like you did before, with time with the sugar on the inside. I found the sugar prevented the dough from sticking to some extent but try not to over work it or the butter will melt which isn't good. Take a muffin tin with at least 12 holes and make sure its greased. Roll the dough out in a rectangle and sprinkle a little castor sugar over the top. Cut into 12 pieces. As you place them in the tin, pinch the four corners toward the center, kind of like a little parcel. After they're all in, sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. Set the pan to rise for half an hour, covered with a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat the oven to 425F. At the end of the rise put those pastries in the oven. Make sure to watch them like a hawk. The sugar will burn in a nanosecond. After like 15 minutes I covered them with foil to prevent too much damage. Some still got a little dark. It took about 33 minutes to bake, but could take up to 40 depending on your oven.

When they're done don't leave them in the tin too long or the sugar will stick them in hard. So it might be hot, but its best to get them out quick. Given them a little to cool and then give them a try. So yummy! Like a sweet croissant. Enjoy!

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