Fluffy Duck Café’s Indulgent Kouign Amann

There are few greater pleasures than biting into the crackly shell of a croissant and feeling it give way to the fluffy, generously buttery, layers inside. That is, until you’ve tried a Kouign Amann.

Ben Woods, Fluffy Duck Café’s owner and head baker, is particularly fond of making this pastry. He begins with a laminated dough, which consists of many thin layers of dough separated by butter and formed by continuous folding and rolling. The pastry is then baked slowly until the dough puffs up and the sugar browns. The result is similar to a muffin-shaped, caramelized croissant.

“Kouign Amann originated in Brittany, France, so it’s a classic, Old World pastry that we finish with sea salt,” Ben says. “They take all day to make, so when they come out nice it’s a satisfying feeling. It took me a while to master them in a new space with all new equipment, but now I’m really happy with what we’re putting out.”

Kouign Amann are just one of many items Ben’s learning to perfect at his new café, located in University Circle near Cleveland Clinic. Other artisan treats include a variety of muffins, scones, and croissants.

Fluffy Duck Café offers breakfast and lunch fare including pastries, soups, sandwiches, and salads that feature local ingredients when possible.

The Painesville native and Culinary Institute of America graduate has worked in kitchens throughout the US—including Savannah and Portland—and even in England, which inspire his café creations.

“Really, I just kind of travelled wherever I wanted to go and baked as I went,” he says. “But when I was ready to open my own place, I knew I wanted to come home to Cleveland.”

Ben has begun wholesaling to locations such as Ohio City Provisions and Pour Cleveland and hopes to expand this line of business in the coming months.

“There’s so much cool stuff happening in Cleveland right now, it just seemed like the right time to come back and put my dreams into action,” he says. “This area is developing so much, and I think it’s good to start somewhere that’s building, rather than somewhere that’s already established. We’ve been getting good feedback and a lot of return customers so far, and we plan to keep building from here.”

Fluffy Duck Café is located at 10001 Chester Ave., Cleveland. For more information, call 216.218.9447 or visit FluffyDuckCafe.com.

— Beth Phillips