Skip to content

Kolache

February 17, 2011

 

Salami, tomato, feta Kolache with black pepper

During the five years that I lived in Houston, I would often escape back to Austin for mini-visits that mostly included general recharging and some specific thrift-store shopping. I found comfort and solace in basking in all that is weird and slow in Austin. Even if, for a few days, it was refreshing to leave the bustling smog- saturated Houston and run into classmates from childhood who never managed to depart the river city..I always felt like you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting someone you knew. Or someone one of your friends used to date.

Growing up in Austin (all my life), I found Houston a fun, out-of-town getaway. Bigger than Austin and more culturally diverse, a place where I could venture off and explore the museums for a few days. A place I could get lost in and explore anonymously. I can also recall a few spontaneous hour and a half (depending on your speed) trips to Houston to see many a colorful concert. And wait in a colorful line. Always around dark-thirty. As the saying goes: The grass is always greener. Indeed this is true.

I do know that scenic drive well. From either direction. Along with seasonal wild flowers, winding roads, speed traps, you’ll also find Kolaches along Highway 71.

There is some debate on who has the ‘best’ Kolache in this area. Many say that it is Weikel’s. Others that it’s Hruska’s. I happen to like them both. My mother prefers Weikel’s and would usually put in a request for a few of the assorted, when I would be coming in from Houston. Though I do like the Peach variety at Weikel’s, I have a particular fondness for the Sausage variety at Hruska’s. Hruska’s also has a great bathroom and a certain nostalgic familiarity that I prefer. But that’s a whole other conversation entirely. Lets just go ahead and thank the Czech influence for contributing Kolache to Texas. Thank you, Czechs.

I had a craving for Kolache. I’m sure you understand. I often have cravings. Last year when I had said craving I made some Kolaches (see above). With that batch of dough I baked off a few salami (it’s what I had) and a few peach (in season at the time). Both turned out nice. Neither were  exactly a good match against the Czechs.

So I made them again last week. I had a craving, you know. This time I decided to go traditional, simply for the fact that I never do traditional. I figured it was about time I tried.

Kolache dough rising with poppy seed filling

I used the same recipe again, adapted from the Kolache recipe by Rebecca Rather in her wonderful book, The Pastry Queen.

But this time I was in luck. I ran out of A.P. Flour, so was forced to use Bread flour to make up the difference. I also let the dough rise overnight. Let me just say the result was beautiful.

The Kolache has that slightly crisp golden exterior, but maintained a soft and pillowy interior. Almost in the same vein as brioche. The poppy seed filling (though  traditional) is definitely an acquired taste. They were certainly liked by all. For those who enjoy poppy seed rolls, that is.

And me? I’m happy to make Kolache again. I just wish Peach season was around the corner.

Rustic poppy seed filled Kolache with streusel

Kolache; adapted from recipe by Rebecca Rather

Dough:

1 c. milk

.125 oz active dry yeast

1/4 c. lukewarm water

2 oz. unsalted butter

2  eggs

5 oz. sugar

1 tsp. salt

24 oz. A.P. flour

10 oz. Bread flour

Streusel topping

1/2 c. A.P. Flour

1/2 c. sugar

3 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)

*Use your hands and crumble ingredients together

Directions for Dough:

warm the milk in a sauce pan over medium until it steams and forms a skin. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Should cool to about 110 degrees.

Dissolve yeast in milk. Set aside until foamy.

Melt the butter, and let cool.

In a large bowl, hand whisk the eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter. Add the cooled milk and yeast mixture.

Gradually add the flour a few cups at a time.

*It is suggested by Chef Rather that you use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine the flour into the wet ingredients. The first round (salami) of Kolaches I used a mixer, but this recent time (poppy seed) I followed her instructions and mixed it the old-fashioned way.

Keep adding the flour until it’s completely mixed and the dough holds together.

Use a light touch; don’t pound or over work the dough. This will produce tough kolaches. Tough kolaches are no good.

The dough should be sticky and moist.

Lightly grease a large bowl with oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm draft-free zone for a few hours. The dough should double in size. Punch the dough until it deflates. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night. (I refrigerated over night this last time and I feel it made a difference with the dough. In a good way.)

The next day, remove dough from the bowl. With lightly oiled fingers shape the dough into 2  1/2 inch balls. Arrange evenly on a greased baking sheet that is 12 x 17. There should be about 3 across and 6 down.

To fill the kolaches, use your thumb to make an indent in the middle of each dough ball. Do not pierce the bottom of the dough. Add a generous tsp. (tbsp in my case) of poppy seed filling in each dough ball. You may also use the same amount of another filling. Cover the rolls with a clean towel and leave out at room temperature (draft-free) until doubled in size, about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle streusel over the kolache buns and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before eating. If you can wait that long.

*A note about poppy seed filling. No judgement please.

I decided to use canned poppy seed. I checked the ingredients and they were basically the same as the recipe I had. Poppy seeds, milk, corn syrup, vanilla salt. I just had a bit of time finding bulk amounts of poppy seeds. Whole foods was last on my last. I opted to use a canned English poppy seed brand.

Next time I will hopefully  be using peaches. Naturally they will be fresh and in season.

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 10

    Cannot WAIT for the peach version!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: