Kouign Amann & The Great British Baking Show

Have I been the only one streaming old episodes of The Great British Baking Show (GBBS) of late? Gosh, I hope not.

I am the sort of person that likes a bit of background noise when I’m working in the kitchen, and GBBS provides perfect, soothing, baking white noise. It doesn’t even matter how many times I’ve seen a particular episode or season! I like that I don’t have to think about what I’m putting on, and that there are more than enough episodes to last through even my marathon cooking sessions.

Given the current state of affairs, I’ve been streaming A LOT of GBBS.

It has also been a quiet dream of mine (and so many others, I think), to one day attempt a bake from GBBS. I’ve had the recipe for Prue Leith’s Le Gâteau Vert (Netflix Collection 6, Episode 2) bookmarked for some time, as well as Sarah Jampel’s well recorded attempt at the technical challenge. But, aside from bread, I’m not really a practiced baker. So a multi-layered cake with marzipan and fondant icing probably wasn’t the best place to start. And have you ever really looked at the recipes on the GBBS website? Most of them require special ingredients that I don’t keep on hand, especially right now.

So, inspired by a colleague of mine, I decided to finally take on the technical challenge from Collection 1, Episode 7. It was pastry week, and the challenge was a little known baked good from Brittany, France called a kouign amann. It involved only flour, water, yeast, butter and sugar, so it seemed a reasonable place to start.

Folding the dough.

I had never made pastry dough before, at least not “full puff” as they call it. But after checking out a few recipes, I felt like maybe it wasn’t so impossible. Intimidating, yes, but not impossible.

I used the recipe from theKitchn.com, but Tasting Table also has a great recipe here. Since the episode aired, I think kouign amanns have gotten a fair amount of attention, actually. I’m sure there are a number of solid recipes out there. And, yes, I totally did stream this particular episode while I was baking – I actually found it helpful!

I prepped the dough and left it to rise around 11:30am yesterday morning. And I didn’t actually put them in to bake until nearly 4:30pm! Granted, much of that time was spent waiting for the dough to chill, or it was spent just figuring out if I was doing a step properly, but *phew* these little pastries truly were an afternoon affair.

Now, I definitely would’ve come in last place on the technical challenge. I wasn’t super confident about my pastry, and I made some errors when I rolled out my dough and divided it into individual pieces – they came out all different sizes and shapes! I also didn’t like how the edges caught a bit too much towards the end of baking.

But you know what? I learned a ton. They were still unbelievably delicious, and I can’t wait to try a professionally made kouign amann.

Paul Hollywood would not approve.

So, if you’ve been putting off an epic bake, maybe now’s the time to attempt it – I highly recommend giving kouign amanns a serious look. I’ll definitely be giving pastry another try, as long as I have the butter to fuel my bakes.

And I’d love some other food streaming recommendations, as well, if you have any!

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