Homemade Kouign Amann (DKA)

Inspired (and obsessed) with Dominique Ansel's signature pastry DKA, I made homemade kouign amann for the first time with his recipe from Food Arts. (You may have to register to be a member of the website, but the recipe is so great, it will worth that.)

The original recipe on the above website says "for 80 kouign amanns", but it is actually for 8-12 kouign amanns. I made four with the half amount of the recipe, and baked two of them while keeping the other two in the fridge for baking tomorrow. (This recipe is for 8 large kouign amanns, or 12 small ones.)

The changes I added were: Instead of using fleur de del, I used a half amount of sea salt. I rested the dough in the fridge for overnight before folding the butter block. I also made a butter block mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour in a food processor, then shaped it to 5x5 square on plastic wrap, then put in the fridge for 30 minutes before folding (this is Peter Reinhart's method to make croissants). I used a muffin pan instead of round rings for baking.

The amount and ratio of all the ingredients seem to be just right, so my kouign amann tasted almost exactly like Dominique Ansel's DKA - really delicious. It is almost like a miracle or a magic that you can make such an incredibly tasty pastry with just simple 6 ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, salted butter). For me, it was like a life-changing experience to encounter this deliciousness - DKA is the best pastry I have ever had in my life.

You can see the video of Dominique Ansel making DKA here.

The following website is also helpful for making DKA at home (though I recommend you to find Dominique Ansel's original recipe, which is much better than the ones mentioned in this website.)

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My second try of making Kouign Amann (DKA)

Still obsessed with DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann), I made another batch today for the second time. This time, I used the same Dominique Ansel's DKA recipe from Food Arts, but made 8 smaller kouign amanns instead of 6 large ones. I baked 4 of them today, and saved the rest in the freezer before shaping.

I used a muffin pan for baking, but I think it must be better if I use 3-inch pastry rings like this (which Dominique Ansel seems to be using for his DKA), since more surface of the dough should be exposed to be caramelized enough in the oven, so the outside shells will get more crispy. I will try to use pastry rings next time.

This time, I rested the final individual doughs in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking, but it made the pastry a little bit sticky with melted sugar on the surface. The actual Ansel's DKA has more crispy surface with some sugar grains left on, which must have resulted from immediate baking after shaping the dough with some extra sugar that are rubbed on both sides of the individual dough and proofing for not longer than 30 minutes.

I baked them at 350F for 25 minutes, but the baking time should be longer like 30 minutes for a better caramelization.

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My third try of making Kouign Amann (DKA)

I baked the rest of the DKA dough which I have kept in the freezer. I used the same method as my previous post, but baked them 5 minutes longer (30 minutes in total) inside the pastry rings instead of muffin pan. This time, the caramelization on the bottom and the top worked really well, and the inside layers were baked perfectly. Very happy with the result, which was closer to Dominique Ansel's DKA. The bottom was slightly burnt this time, so next time I will bake them for 28 minutes in 3-inch pastry rings to make them more perfect.