It doesn't get much more simple than mixing yeast, flour and an obscene amount of butter to form a cake. That's essentially what goes into Kouign Amann, the traditional butter cake from Bretagne. The cake is moist and delicious. Just enough butter dotted on top creates a carmelization that is to die for. A little extra sugar on top, and you have a perfect after dinner cake. I used powdered sugar on mine, but I think granulated sugar would work even better, and so I recommend that below. An extra benefit - baking this cake will make your home smell divine!
Kouign Amann - Breton Butter Cake
Adapted from The Barmy Baker
1/4 ounce (one packet) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter - cold
1/4 cup granulated sugar
extra sugar for dusting (or confectioners sugar)
- Combine the yeast in a bowl with 1/4 cup warm water. Once the yeast is dissolved and foamy, add 1/2 cup of the flour. Form the dough into a ball and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Add the remaining sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Combine everything together and add the warm water slowly until a firm ball of dough forms. You may need more or less water, so be sure to add the water slowly.
- Knead the dough about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put the dough on a floured surface. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about the size of a sheet of paper. Take the butter and cut into pats. Arrange the pats to cover two-thirds of the dough. Sprinkle the top of the butter with the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. With the shorter end of the dough facing you, fold the top third of the dough down towards you as if folding a letter. Fold the bottom third up. (Note: the dough may be difficult to roll because of the butter, but try to add only enough flour so that you can roll the dough out. When the dough cooks you want it to be buttery, and don't want to offset the butter with too much flour.)
- Roll the dough into a paper sized rectangle again. Fold the same way you did in the last step. Repeat the rolling and folding process one more time. Finally, roll the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter.
- Butter and flour a round cake pan. Put the dough into the pan. Fold the excess into the dough so that it fits evenly in the pan. Use a knife to cut a cross hatch pattern in the top of the dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Two or three times during that 20 minutes, brush the top of the cake with the butter that oozes out of the top of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with sugar and bake for another 10 minutes.
Ryan's rating of Kouign Amann - Breton Butter Cake - 3.