Best Kouign-Amanns in Melbourne

Updated 2 months ago


There are just five ingredients in a kouign-amman (just pronounce it “queen ah-mahn” and that’s close enough). Flour, salt, yeast, butter and sugar. That’s it. Doesn’t sound like much, right? So why is this pastry from a sleepy Breton town in northern France showing up in cake cabinets across Melbourne?

It’s less about the ingredients, and more about the proportions. A kouign-amman is about 30 per cent sugar and 30 per cent butter – the dough’s only really there to keep the whole thing together – making it one of the sweetest and fattiest pastries out there.

Take a slab of butter, place it in yeasted bread dough, roll out and fold it repeatedly, then cover it with a mixture of sugar and salt. As the kouign-amman bakes, the butter steams the dough on the inside, which separates it out into airy layers. On the outside, the sugar and salt combine to make a glossy, crisp, caramelised exterior. The result is a muffin-sized miracle of crunch, fluff, salt and sugar.

It’s buttery, it’s sweet and it’s dangerously good with a coffee. So head to one of these bakeries and give one a try. Your mornings might never be the same.

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  • Of course Lune, Australia’s most famous croissant-maker, also has a kouign-amann in its repertoire. Here the dough is formed into a spiral, different to the more common puck- and muffin-shaped creations found across Melbourne. All shapes have their charms, but we appreciate how easy this is to crunch through and devour.

  • In typical Wild Life fashion, these kouign-amanns have an exquisitely textured exterior, consisting of star-shaped pleats caramelised to perfection. While you're here, make sure to pick up a loaf of sourdough too.

  • Bortis Portnoy’s Northcote and Thornbury bakeries specialise in lesser-known Eastern European baked goods, but this dense, knobbly puck is also a hit. If you find most kouign-amanns overwhelmingly sweet and fatty, this breadier, less-intense entry could be for you.

  • This tiny bakery, from a former All Are Welcome pastry chef, hasn’t been around all that long, but Carlton North residents are pretty bloody enamoured with it. (One Broadsheet editor can’t stop thinking about its croissants). The cinnamon-spiked kouign-amann, meanwhile, is one of the darkest and most caramelised we’ve come across, which is a plus if you like a deeper, almost toasty flavour. Occasional flavours include mandarin and jasmine with mascarpone.

  • This lo-fi operation bakes an eclectic range of goods, including sourdough and paczki (Polish doughnuts). The kouign-amann, available Wednesday and Thursday, is a stand-out, perfectly balancing caramelised crunch with moist, buttery interludes. Order ahead or come early – this spot is very popular with locals and Ovens Street only makes a small number of kouign-amanns a day.

  • Less of a puck or disc and more of a slightly squished ball, Agathé's kouign-amann goes heavy on the exterior sugar, resulting in a brittle shell that's ready to crack under the pressure of your teeth. Pastries rarely sound this good.

  • It might have quite an Italian-sounding name, but this patisserie does excellent pastries from across the culinary canon. The kouign-amman here is a ripper: a shimmering little pastry with enough crunch and sugar to leave any sweet tooth satisfied.

  • Kouign-amanns aren't a constant at this backstreet bakery. When they're on, though, you'd be wise to seek one out. In contrast to the crisper entries on this list, this version is almost gooey, dripping with darkened sugar.