Kolache (aka kolace, kolach, or kolack) are Czech pastries that come in the shape of soft squares or circles and have fillings of fruit, cheese or meat. Here in Texas they are very popular, and my friends all seem to have their favorite Kolache hot spots. Mine is Weikel's in La Grange, where they make their kolache dough very soft. My goal it to make pastries as soft as theirs.
The pastries I made yesterday weren't as soft as Weikel's, but this is only the second time I've made them, and in looking at the varieties of recipes, I have a lot of experimenting to do. Some recipes use more egg, others call for mashed potatoes, and some recipes probably use soft flours such as White Lily. I also noticed that the recipe I made yesterday didn't call for any kneading, while the recipe I made 3 years ago did.
Either way, these were pretty good. While I’m not much of a yeast bread baker, I found this recipe very streamlined, easy to put together and loved the results. The recipe is adapted from a cookbook called A World of Cake. If you're an expert Kolache maker and have any tips to share, I would be very appreciative (as would Todd's co-workers who get to eat the experiments).
Here's the kolache recipe I made a while back (and have since updated). It's adapted from Texas Monthly where it was featured in the “The Ranch,” November 1998. It's from the Dorothy Bohac, Ph.D, who says “the quality of a kolache is in the texture of the dough. The kolache should be soft to the touch and the dough should be elastic.”
- 1 cup milk warmed – whole is probably a better choice
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 ½ cups 1 pound all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
- 8 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- Combine ⅓ cup of the milk and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the remaining ⅔ cup of milk, remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt and the yeast mixture into the well and mix until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size – about 2 hours.
- Make the posypka. Combine the butter, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Make the filling. Beat together softened cream cheese and sugar. Beat in lemon juice. Reduce speed to low and beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
- Bake. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two baking sheets (I just used parchment). Punch down the dough to get rid of air. Scoop out 2-inch balls of dough (mine were larger) and drop them onto a floured work surface. Roll each scoop of dough into a ball, then press them down into a disk or a square. Press a finger into the center of each disk and fill the indentation with 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling. Place the disks on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Let rise for 10 minteus Brush tops lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle the posypka on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from sheet and let cool. Makes about 15 to 20, depending on how big you make the rolls.