These fluffy kolaches with a cream cheese filling were originally made in honor of my grandmother who called margarine "oleo". The first time I made them, I used margarine to see if it would have any affect on the texture. In some recipes, margarine actually makes things softer and fluffier.
In the end I found that margarine did have a bit of an effect on the texture. It made the texture softer and the crust thinner. We liked the butter version better, but the margarine version was still good.
Chill Dough or Not
This recipe can be made all at once or you can make the dough and let it rise overnight. The kolaches made without the overnight rise rose perfectly and the kolaches looked like the ones in the first and second pictures. The kolaches made with the dough that had chilled overnight took a lot longer to rise (almost two hours), but still baked up nicely. As a bonus, the chilled dough was extremely easy to roll out.
The texture of these fluffy kolaches is somewhere between a soft dinner roll and a yeast raised glazed doughnut. I like the convenience of being able to chill the dough overnight as well.
Update: I can no longer find the Platinum yeast so I just use fast rising instant. Update 2: I now use Saf-Instant yeast for almost everything! I particularly like the SAF gold which is for doughs with higher sugar ratios. It also seems to work well in breads that have only a little sugar.
I posted this recipe a while back. Since posting this one, I've tried a lot more recipes and the one I use most is called Small Batch Kolaches.
Soft and Fluffy Kolaches with a Thin Crust
- 8 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup milk I used whole but whatever you have should work
- 4 cups bread flour (could be more like 3 ½ cups, so go by weight) (I usually use a total of 504 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast (fast rising)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream gently warmed
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons flour bread is fine
- ⅛ tp ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons melted butter
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- Pinch of lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Optional: Assortment of fruit pie fillings or preserves
- Soften the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan so that it’s not cold, then add the milk and heat them both together until the milk starts to boil and the butter melts. I did this in a Pyrex 2 cup measure in the microwave, but a saucepan is fine. Let mixture cool down to 130 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the flour (between 250 and 280 grams), sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture, then add the warm sour cream and eggs and stir until well mixed. Add the remaining flour by ½ cups until the dough is soft, but still a bit sticky. If you weighed the flour, most likely you will use it all. Don't be tempted to add more, the dough should be a little sticky.
- Using the dough hook attachment, knead until dough is soft and elastic -- though it does get smooth, it's still a little sticky (though elastic) and you have to kind of scrape it off the side of the bowl. Transfer to another bowl that you've rubbed liberally with butter. At this point you can let the dough rise for an hour and proceed with the recipe, or you can refrigerate the dough overnight and let it rise slowly. It will not rise very much if you refrigerate it.
- Next day (or in an hour, after dough has risen), remove the dough from the refrigerator or wherever you’d set it to rise and punch it down. Divide it into about 20 pieces. Alternatively, you can roll it out into a rectangle and cut it into square pieces.
- Place the pieces on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets or 9x13 inch pans, leaving about an inch between them. Brush with melted butter or whatever fat you prefer. Cover with a greased sheet of plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour or until they’ve risen. Note: If you are working with chilled dough, it may take the shaped rolls up to two hours to really rise.
- Make filling while dough rises. For the topping, just mix dry ingredients together and toss with butter until crumbly. For cheese, just beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then beat in yolk, zest and vanilla.
- Press a small indentation in the center of each roll and add a spoonful of cheese filling or canned pie filling. Brush with a little more butter and sprinkle with crumb mixture. Let sit while oven preheats to 350F
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 18 to 20 minutes or until very lightly browned.
- Serve the fruity ones hot, but let the cheese ones cool down a bit.