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Kolaches (and Project Pastry Queen)

July 11, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post

I am smitten with the Pastry Queen. Is that weird to say?? Sorry if that’s awkward for you, Rebecca, but I am. Shawnda of Confections of a Foodie Bride has a shared love of the Pastry Queen and her recipes, so we recently met up for one of Rebecca Rather’s cooking classes in Austin. It was a sit, eat & watch cooking class rather than a hands-on class which was perfectly okay since I get plenty of hands on kitchen experience at home. :-) I’ve been eyeing this kolache recipe, along with many many others, since this cookbook landed on my doorstep several years ago but I hadn’t ever gotten around to making the kolaches; this is the case with all my cookbooks as my ever growing collection continues to grow. But Shawnda & I have are going to change that — we’re going to cook our way through Rebecca’s first cookbook, The Pastry Queen! This is post #1 of Project Pastry Queen (I’ve also added a new tag so you can easily find all the recipes in the future). Are you a pastry queen fan and want to join in on the fun? Leave a comment or shoot me a message!

[The Foodie Bride, The Pastry Queen, and Me]

Now for these kolaches, one reason I’ve never made them is that all in all it calls for 9 cups of flour. Yes, you read that right. NINE. haha. Hello carbs!! :-) BUT these are ridiculous delicious and great for an occassional treat and of course they do make a lot of kolaches so you can share with your friends! Having been born & raised in Texas, I never realized that they don’t have kolaches everywhere. The origins of kolaches aren’t exactly clear — some say Polish though in my experience, most say Czech. Origins aside, if you’ve never had a kolache, then you must give them a try. They are a sweet & soft and filled with all sorts of wonderful fillings.

When we visit a kolache shop (there are a lot in Texas although one of the most famous ones is located in West, Texas), I almost always get the savory kolaches whereas hubby goes for the cream cheese ones. So deciding what fillings to use was easy — cream cheese, jalapeno sausage & cheese, and peaches. The first two were natural choices since they’re our personal faves and peaches were a must because (1) its peach season (2) The Pastry Queen resides in Fredericksburg, Texas — home of our hill country peach capital. They were all fabulously delicious and we couldn’t decide which were our favorites. Hubby even liked peach although he’s anti cooked fruit.

Experiment with fillings when you give this a try. You can use the peach filling recipe as the basis of try other fruit fillings (just substitute blueberries & blueberry preserve for instance). The fruit filling is easily halved, or even quartered, so you can try out multiple flavors when you whip these up. Don’t wait years to try this recipe out at home like I did. Its worth it! (Oh and don’t be discouraged by the lengthy recipe. Its really not too complicated!)

Kolaches
Yields 18 large buns (or 27 smaller buns)

Dough:
2 cups milk
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 batch of filling (see recipes below)

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

For the Dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat just until it starts to steam and a skin is formed – do not simmer or boil. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly – to about 110°F - 115°F. Meanwhile, dissolve the yeast in the water. Let it sit until it is foamy. If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, salt and melted butter. Add in milk and the yeast mixture. Add in the flour, 2 cups at a time, making sure not to overwork the dough. Keep adding flour until it is fully incorporated. The dough should be sticky, moist and light.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place and allow to rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough, recover, and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Grease a 12×17 inch baking sheet. With lightly oiled fingers, shape dough into balls – about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, about the size of small limes. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet – 3 across and 6 down. (I actually make mine 4 across and 5 down and use an extra cookie sheet for the remaining kolaches). Gently flatten balls of dough.

For the Filling: Make filling of choice (see recipes below). Use your thumb to make a generious indentation in each dough round. Fill each indentation with filling mixture, a heaping Tablespoon or two depending upon the size of your kolaches. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the Streusel: Meanwhile, to make the topping, use your hands, a food processor or a pastry cutter to mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. Scatter the topping over the kolaches right before they go into the oven. (Yes it seems like a lot of streusel, but don’t be shy!)

Bake the kolaches until lightly browned – about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm (or at room temperature).

Peach Kolache Filling

2 cups pitted, chopped peaches
1 cup good quality peach jam

Mix together the peaches and peach jam. Follow recipe above as directed.

Cream Cheese Kolache Filling

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Follow recipe above as directed.

Sausage & Cheese Kolaches

~ 1 1/4 lb Smoked Sausage (highly recommend using a Jalapeno sausage)
~ 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Follow directions for dough. Press dough into 5 inch circles. In center of rounds, add 1 Tbsp shredded cheese and medium-sized smoked sausage. Enclose sausage and cheese, pigs-in-a-blanket style. Place seam-side down on baking sheets. Allow to rise in a warm place ~1 hour. Bake as directed above.

Source: Adapted from The Pastry Queen

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

branny July 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

You look so thrilled in that pic!

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Amy (Sing For Your Supper) July 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I looooooove West!!! The sausage/cheese kolaches are my favorite!! Looks like you had a splendid time- I’m so glad!

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Tara @ Smells Like Home July 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I’ve never heard of kolaches before but they certainly look heavenly, Ashley! And I LOVE the idea about a peach filling. Count me in on cooking through The Pastry Queen! I guess this now gives me the excuse to finally buy it! I assume you’ll be posting details soon?

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ashley July 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Yay, we’re glad you’re gonna join us! We’ll email those who are interested. Next week’s recipe is the July 4th Fried Pies (pg. 47).

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Natalie (The Sweets Life) July 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I have a friend who is obsessed with kolaches and yet I have never seen one. I might have to surprise her and make these :)

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Josie July 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Those look awesome! I had never heard of kolaches until I bought her cookbook, but I’ve been wanting to make them ever since. Peach would definitely be my flavor of choice! And I’d love to join you and Shawnda for Project Pastry Queen! I’m pretty smitten with her as well!

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Cate July 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Never heard of koaches before, but they look AWESOME and that class sounds like a lot of fun! I just might have to give these a try…

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Amy July 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

These look absolutely fantastic! How can I be from TX and never have had a Kolache before? The different fillings sound exactly like ones me and the hubby would choose.

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Amy @ The Nifty Foodie July 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

Oh my gosh! That looks delicious!

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Kira July 12, 2010 at 8:34 am

I miss kolaches so much from Texas, and I haven’t found them anywhere here in TN. Guess I’ll just have to make my own!

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Christy July 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

I have never had a kolache. Your pics make me want to try one asap!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) July 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

oh my goodness i miss kolaches SO MUCH! no one here has had them that i’ve ever seen!

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themilkmanswife July 13, 2010 at 8:16 pm

How fun! Looks like you guys had a great time! My grandma is Czech and I know my mom has her kolache recipe somewhere. You’ve inspired me to find it! These look awesome! I love kolache!

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JoAnn Jacobs July 14, 2010 at 12:23 am

My family is from Croatia & both my grandma & mom made kolaches. Apricot & peach in the summer, brings back great memories.

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Heidi July 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I’m a big fan of the Pastry Queen books too! And many times I have stopped and considered this kolaches recipe. I have never heard of kolaches in my life before I picked up this book. Never. I guess they aren’t a common thing here in Seattle. Yours look delicious and they sound like they are pretty easy to make. I can’t quite figure out how to classify them in my mind??? Are they like a breakfast pastry? Kind of like a danish? Do people eat them for desserts or breakfast?

I think I’m going to take another look at the recipe in my book. Maybe that will be my baking project for the weekend.

Thanks for sharing,

Heidi

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ashley July 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I believe its intended more as a breakfast pastry, at least that’s when most people seem to eat them. :-)

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Linda July 18, 2010 at 6:35 am

LOL on being smitten with The Pastry Queen–I guess that’s a good way to describe the way I feel about it too! I have all Rebecca’s cookbooks and would love to meet her someday! I love her style and the non-intimidation factor of her cookbooks. I’ve never tried the kolaches, although they do look delicious. I’ll be following your project and might have to join in the fun!

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Heather July 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

I’ve been looking for a good Kolache recipe since I visited my in-laws in Houston, and your recipe is outstanding. I made a batch over the weekend to send with my future-husband on a bachelors weekend. They got great reviews from all of the guys and from my in-town in-laws. Thanks so much!

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ashley July 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

Glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe too!

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Lisa! July 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

These turned out great! I made the cream cheese version, and spooned a bit of homemade apricot jam on top before the streusel.

I’ve never made, nor eaten, these divine morsels…. so glad you shared the recipe!

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ashley July 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Glad you liked them!

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Ginny July 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

Delicious! I love the Pastry Queen… I’ll join in with you… let me know the details! :)

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ashley July 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

Ginny,

Check it out! http://projectpastryqueen.wordpress.com/about/

Looking forward to having you join us!

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grace July 28, 2010 at 6:26 am

what a treat! I would enjoy a cinnamon-laden version, but both the peach and cream cheese fillings are appealing. 9 cups of flour and beaucoup carbs? worth it. :)

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Betty Canavan April 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Heads up girls! My mother always made a HUGE batch of kolache dough and, although she made some into pastries, she covered the remainder and refrigerated it until after our holiday dinner (Easter, Christmas…). She would bring the dough out the next day and make snack kolaches by using a slice of ham, turkey or lamb; a few small bits of potato or sweet potato and asparagus, spinach, cabbage, etc. She might add a dab of cranberry sauce on the turkey or bread & butter pickle on the ham, etc. Then, she would seal them up tightly and we never knew exactly what was in each one. But, they were delicious and my dads coworkers were always envious when he opened his lunchpail. My mom gave her dough recipe to a neighbor when she moved to TX and, that gal made them with sausage, cheese and jalapeno slices for a Superbowl snack. So, just improvise. You will find which work the best. :D

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Betty Canavan April 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Oops, I forgot about the Easter leftover ones with a piece of ham and a wedge of hard boiled egg. :D

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Sue in CA September 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

I have that 9 cup flour recipe from my MIL and my hubby loves the dry cottage cheese filling she uses, I’m gonna love the cream cheese filling. We also use a nut filling or poppy seed filling. Your recipe is gonna be SOOOOOO much easier. Thank YOU

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Soldering Gunslinger January 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

I made Kolaches with my Great Grandmother as a very young child. I do not have her recipe, but use my Sister-in-Law’s which is very similar.

Gr.Grandma Ousler used to say that the reason us Bohemians are so crazy is because of all the poppy seeds we eat. I’m only 1/8 Bohemian/Czech, but the love of poppy seed Kolaches (Oh Heck! Any Kolache) must be held in a very dominant gene…and we’re still crazy after all these generations.

I remain,
The Old Solderinggunslinger

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