AND THEY'RE OFF! ROSE LEVY BERNANBAUM'S BAKE ALONG FOR HER NEWEST BOOK THE BAKING BIBLE.

 

February 1, 2015

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Here's how it works, 25 Alpha Bakers commit to baking their way through the newly published The Baking Bible each week, and each week they post their experiences on Rose's Blog. The recipes are scheduled in advance so that everyone is baking the same recipe. I am not an Alpha Baker yet; I'm on the alternate list in case someone drops out. No matter, I'm going to bake along side them and post my link on Rose's blog. The first recipe will be posted to Rose's site on Monday, December 1st. We are making the cover recipe Kouigns Amann (pronounced keh-WEEN-ah-mahn). It is "simply" a sweet brioche. The publisher will not allow us to post the recipe, just the experience of baking.

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Instructions

MAKE THE DOUGH

  • The dough went together beautifully. I used Robin Hood Bread flour with a protein percentage of 13% according to Customer Service. It was everything dough should be: incredibly soft and pliable.

MAKE THE BUTTER SQUARE

  • Living in Canada, the land of a highly regulated dairy industry, high butterfat butter is not as easy to find, even living in Montreal. In the end, I purchased an 82% French butter (at a nominal charge of $15.95 for 250 grams!!!). Needless to say, it was beautiful and performed perfectly. After shaping the butter square with the palms of my hands, the temperature naturally came to 68 degrees.

MAKE THE DOUGH PACKAGE

  • I've made puff pastry several times before, so this step was familiar to me. The dough package went together very nicely.

Preparing to make the dough package.
Preparing to make the dough package.

MAKE THE FIRST TURN

  • As I said earlier, the dough was incredible to work with. Since the butter and dough were virtually the same temperature, the two combined easily. There was almost no need for the rolling pin. Once I got it started, my hands moved the dough to the correct size. The dough didn't blister, but the butter poked through just along the edge. Covering it with flour made it disappear.

Rolling out the dough for the first turn.
Rolling out the dough for the first turn.

  • The feel of the dough and butter in my hands was very beautiful. It folded easily, and went into the fridge without a complaint.

The dough was beautiful. This was the first turn.
The dough was beautiful. This was the first turn.

MAKE THE THIRD TURN

  • At about the third turn, I started to feel uncomfortable. I was concerned the butter hadn't properly incorporated into the flour because I noticed several small squares of butter in the dough (visible in the picture below). Also, as the sugar absorbed the moisture from the dough, it became sticky and syrupy. Still I was surprised at how much sugar was absorbed.

Working with the sugar in the third turn.
Working with the sugar in the third turn.

ROLL AND SHAPE THE DOUGH

  • After sitting in the freezer and refrigerator, the dough was really sticky and uncomfortable to work with. As it began to warm up, I was nervous that I was moving too slow. Rose didn't indicate whether the dough, at this point, needed to be kept cold. Again, I was noticing the pieces of butter in the dough that hadn't incorporated. I motored on anyway, working as fast as possible. Below is a picture of how everything was looking.

Rolling and shaping the dough
Rolling and shaping the dough

  • Fortunately, I have an oven with a defrost setting which gave me a temperature of 75 degrees. I was extra nervous about high temps because I didn't want the butter to leak out of the dough, so I laid a probe onto the tray to double check. Just as Rose explained, the dough filled up the rings and expanded nicely.

BAKE THE KOUIGANS

  • OMG. The moment of truth. I was a nervous Nelly, turning the oven light on and off. The dough was releasing a lot of butter, but I later noticed that there was just as much sugar too. I left them in the oven a few minutes longer to ensure the internal temperature come up to 215 degrees. I kept thinking of the butter squares in the dough. I finally took them out of the oven. I thought they looked great.

Just out of the oven.
Just out of the oven.

  • I have never tasted anything more delicious. Wow, wow, wow. It's amazing what butter, flour, salt, yeast and sugar can become. This is reason why I bake. And the success I had with this recipe is why I am so devoted to Rose. She is an absolute Godess.

Baked and ready to eat.
Baked and ready to eat.

  • Only one of the Kouigns didn't bake well. It oozed butter when it was cut open. I suppose it was one of those butter squares? Or maybe it would have resolved with more time in the oven? Does anyone know?

The only Kouigan that didn’t bake all the way through. Sniff.
The only Kouigan that didn’t bake all the way through. Sniff.

TAGS:  BAKING BIBLE       LABELS: Alpha Bakers 

Comments

8 Comments

Sarah K   2017-01-08

I love your blog! I can't believe you're not an alpha baker. Your writing is engaging and I like the pictures.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thank you Sarah! It wasn't long after that there was room in the group for me to jump in. You can follow the adventures by checking out my Alpha Bakers Blog archive or see the list in the Recipe Index. Happy that you stopped by.

Kristina   2017-01-08

Yay! A fellow Canadian in the baking group! Even without the reference to Montreal, I recognize your struggle with finding high fat butter and the use of Robin Hood flour. :) I found my butter at Sobeys, since there's a local-ish (Ontario) creamery that makes some specialty small batch butters (Stirling Creamery), and Sobeys is cashing in on the locavore market lately. I also have been able to find high fat butter at my local euro food store. If you've got one nearby, it might be worth a trip.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Yah! Thanks for the tip on Stirling Creamery. I'll check them out. It's crazy how unavailable some things are here, especially in this European city I live in. There are lots of euro specialty food stores nearby. We're so lucky in this respect, and I can get almost everything under the sun, EXCEPT high fat butter and straight cake flour. In the end, I go to the states for some of the dairy items, and flour. BTW, King Arthur will ship to Canada. It seems to be a very fluid process. Anyway, let's keep in touch.

Catherine   2017-01-08

Hi Kimberlie, I don't see any problem with oozing butter :) Your layers look very impressive, not to mention delicious. Catherine

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thanks Catherine! Flattery will get you everywhere!

Mendy   2017-01-08

What is an alternate baker but an actual baker with more hope in their heart. Glad to have you baking along. Your KA's loog great.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

So true Mendy. Made me smile

Jenn   2017-01-08

I think your Kouign looks beautiful. They are so tall. I'm so glad you're baking alongside us!! :)

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Oh Jenn, how sweet are you for saying that. Thank you so much. It's so nice to share this experience with people who get Rose's approach. She is a wonder. I look forward to the fun ahead.

Michele Simons   2017-01-08

They look great and your photos are terrific! I was also surprised by how much sugar was absorbed into the dough. When I first put it out on the counter top it just seemed impossible! My taste testers (aka husband and best friends!) agreed it was just the right amount of sugar without being overly sweet. Visit me at www.artfuloven.com !

Maggie   2017-01-08

I love your pastries they look wonderful and puffy your step by step pictures are really nice to you did a great job ,I am one of the new girls in the back along

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Honestly, what magic the simplest ingredients can be. These KA's are especially magical

Marie Wolf   2017-01-08

These look beautiful! My guess is that a few more minutes in the oven might have helped the one kouign, but they look so perfectly done on the outside that I think I'd have been afraid to leave them in longer. Great job!

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thank you Marie. I suspect you are correct about the baking time. No matter, it was eaten with as much enthusiasm as all the others. I look forward to the fun ahead.

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AND THEY'RE OFF! ROSE LEVY BERNANBAUM'S BAKE ALONG FOR HER NEWEST BOOK THE BAKING BIBLE.

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