There’s nothing like these easy homemade kolaches. Soft, billowy clouds of buttery sweet dough cup the sweet filling of your choice. Most people don’t know it but these traditional Czech pastries vie with bbq and pecan pie for the title of the most beloved food in Texas.
For this recipe you’ll need: yeast, ground ginger, sugar, milk, unsalted butter, bread flour, kosher salt, instant potato flakes, egg, fruit pie filling (homemade or canned), cinnamon
First of all, I have to say that I found out there is some minor drama as to whether Texas’ or Texas’s is correct. Being from Texas I’ve heard Texas’s FAR more often than Texas’ so that’s what I used in the title. Just sayin’.
Most people don’t think of an Eastern European community when they think of Texas. They picture cowboys, and rich oil men with boots and big hats, and Hispanics. You may even imagine someone like JR Ewing of the old show, Dallas. It may surprise you that we have a huge Czech community. In fact, it’s had a lot of influence on what we eat and drink. We have huge Oktoberfest celebrations complete with polkas and some of our good Texas beer.
Most of all we have kolaches.
To the uninitiated a kolache is nothing but a sweet roll. Once you’ve bitten into the pillowy, sweet softness of a good kolache you know the truth. It’s not a sweet roll at all, it’s a little bite of heaven.
About halfway between Dallas and Austin on I-35 is a small town named West. Yep, we have west Texas as well as West, Texas. Anyway, West is known for it’s Czech bakeries and especially kolaches. Those kolaches have so many different fillings that it takes longer to decide what kind to get than it does to eat it.
How I Finally Got the Dough Right
The hardest thing about making these is to get the dough just right. It is super soft and for years I was frustrated because that airy, pillowy interior eluded me. One day I picked up an old cookbook in a bookstore and the kolache recipe called for a hot oven. Back in the wood burning stove days they didn’t have temperature controls. The instructions called for a cool oven, or a hot oven or whatever. Old recipes can be confusing unless you happen to know things like a hot oven is 400F to 425F.
Most recipes call for the homemade kolache to be baked in a 375F oven. The first time I nervously put kolache dough in the 425F oven I worried that it would burn. I watched the kolaches through the door and when they were golden I checked the interior with my insta-read thermometer. 180 degrees which is exactly the temperature the interior of bread products should be when they’re done. It only took 10 minutes!
The previous owner of the cookbook liked to make notes. She also wrote on the edge of the recipe “whip the dough to make it light”. So the second time I made these kolaches I kneaded the dough on high speed for a minute at the end of the kneading time. Worked like a charm.
These easy homemade kolaches come out perfectly every single time. The dough is fluffy, soft, and slightly sweet. Bread flour isn’t necessary, all purpose flour will do. Keep in mind that you’ll get a softer, fluffier result with the bread flour, though.
You May Need…
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I buy a large amount of yeast at a time. A one pound bag is almost the same price as the small jar in the store! Parchment paper keeps the bottoms from burning, keeps the homemade kolaches from sticking, and helps give the crust the texture that is a sign of a good kolache.
Easy Homemade Kolaches Recipe
Easy Homemade Kolaches: Texas’s Best Kept SecretPrint Add to Collection Go to Collections
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast, or 1 packet
- Pinch of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm milk, 110F
- 1/2 cup warm whole milk, 110F,
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 2 1/2 cups to 3 1/2 bread flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup instant potato flakes, unflavored
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 can fruit pie filling – your choice
Crumb Topping (Posipka)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Add the yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and ginger to the 1/4 cup milk and set aside.
- Put the remaining milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until the butter melts.
- Let cool to 110F. It should feel comfortably warm to when you drop a few drops on your wrist.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine 2 cups of the flour with the salt, sugar, and potato flakes.
- Add the yeast mixture and the cooled milk mixture and stir until blended.
- Add the egg and blend it in.
- Add another 1/3 cup of flour. The dough will be sticky.
- Switch to the dough hook.
- Add flour a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. It will still be a little sticky especially on the bottom.
- Remove from the mixer bowl and form into a ball.
- Rub the ball with melted butter then place it in a greased bowl.
- Turn the ball over once.
- Cover the bowl loosely with a clean tea towel.
- Let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces
- Roll into balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Brush with butter, cover loosely with tea towels or plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour.
- Make indentations in the buns and fill with cheese mixture or fruit filling.
- Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
- Bake at 425F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Watch carefully.
Crumb Topping (Posipka)
- Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
- Stir in the melted butter until the mixture forms crumbs.