One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to bake up pastries from different countries. I just love tasting dishes from other cultures, especially the ones that are so special to them. Since I have been living in Germany I am becoming more and more familiar with surrounding delicacies. This particular treat, the kolache, is a part of Czech culture. Our family is actually planning on visiting Prague in a few months so I can’t wait to see how my attempt at the kolache compares to the real thing. I’m sure it doesn’t hold a candle to the authentic pastry, but I applaud my effort. And personally, I think they came out absolutely delicious!
A kolache is basically a rich, pillowy, yeasted dough. They remind me very much of what a doughnut might taste like if it were baked. But of course, the filling in this case is nestled on top. I have also seen them made into a type of pinwheel shape with the filling tucked into the center. There are SO many different types of fillings you can use. Most commonly they are made of fruits. I wanted to do a poppyseed filling because I just find the way they use poppyseed’s in traditional European desserts intriguing. You don’t find poppy seeds used a lot in America. The taste is definitely something I’m not used to. Kind of nutty… but with it’s own distinct flavor that is hard to pinpoint.
These do require a little bit of effort since they are yeasted, but I promise they are totally doable and definitely worth it if you’re a pastry eater. And at the sake of offending the Czech culture… I think the dough would be incredible fried like a doughnut. Then glazed. Just sayin’.
As you can see, I put much too much filling on top of these kolaches… I can’t help it. I got carried away in the deliciousness. So you might want to restrain yourself while filling these. Or just stretch the indentation a little thiner rather than just pressing it down. Although this doesn’t make much of a difference in taste, mostly just helps with the appearance.
As with all yeast recipes, the very first thing you will want to do is dissolve the yeast.
If using active dry yeast you need to let it actuate for about 10 minutes or until foamy.
I used instant yeast which does not require any extra actuation time.
It’s the way to go.
While your yeast is doing it’s thing, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Then add the milk and warm until between 105 to 110 degrees F.
I heated my milk too much so I had to transfer it to a cool container and then add the sugar to help it cool down faster.
Obviously, if your milk is heated properly you can just do this in the saucepan.
So anyways, when your yeast is ready and your milk mixture is the right temperature,
go ahead and add the milk mixture to the yeast.
Now you should drop in the egg yolks.
Make sure they are room temperature! That’ll help them incorporate into the mixture better.
Go ahead and give that a quick mix to combine.
The final ingredients are the flour and salt.
You want to try to add the salt as late as possible when working with yeast doughs.
FACT- Salt inhibits the work of yeast.
Knead in a mixer on low for about 10 minutes or until nice and elastic like.
See. Like this : )
Knead it into a tight ball on the counter and set it inside an oiled bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in size, about 1 hr.
Once the dough has risen it’s time to shape the kolaches!
Roll out the dough to about 1/2″ thickness.
Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the kolaches, then place them on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper.
Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour.
When the kolaches have risen, press down the center with your fingers.
Scoop some filling into the center and gently press it down.
Brush with some melted butter and bake @ 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
While the kolaches are baking, whisk together the glaze.
Just some heated milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.
Once the kolaches come out of the oven immediately brush them with the glaze.
Heavily. And all over.
Now your DONE! Finally… haha
Sometimes I feel like these “how-to” photos get tedious. I hope they are more helpful than tedious to you.
And after all that work, don’t they just look wonderful?
They really are. They’re the perfect morning treat with your coffee.
I made them for Christmas morning. They were a great addition to an already fantastic day!
- 1 pkg dry yeast (2½ tsp)
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 2 Tb warm water
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 3 cups flour, sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Poppy Seed Filling:
- 1¼ cups confectionary sugar
- 200 ml milk, about ⅔ cup
- 1¾ cups ground poppy seeds (250 g)
- 1½ tsp lemon zest
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- For Kolaches: In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1½ tsp sugar and let stand.
- Melt butter in saucepan then add milk and heat to 105 to 100 degrees F. Add ¼ cup sugar to the milk mixture. Then add milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix in egg yolks.
- Dump in all but ½ cup of the flour. Mix on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add more flour as needed so that the dough does not stick to the sides.
- Knead on counter to form a ball. Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 hr or until double in size.
- Roll out dough to about ½ inch thick and cut into individual kolaches with biscuit cutter. Place on sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.
- Make indention in each and fill with filling of your choice. Bake in 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove and brush with glaze.
- For Glaze: Melt butter in a small saucepan then add milk to warm (alternatively use the microwave). Mix together with powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- For the Poppy Seed Filling: Ground the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder. Heat the milk. Put the confectionary sugar into a large bowl. Add the heated milk and mix until smooth. Add the ground poppy seeds, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.