Homemade Czech Kolaches are crumb topped sweet pastries with a variety of tasty fillings. Learn how to make these pillowy soft baked treats from the yeast dough to the easy kolache fillings including fruit jam or sweet cream cheese. No one can resist a freshly made Kolache for breakfast or brunch!
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How to Bake Kolaches
I believe anyone can learn how to bake if they want to learn badly enough. For years I was nervous about baking pies. However, I love pie so much I forced myself to try pastry recipes until I found one that worked for me every time. As a result, I can whip up a pie whenever the mood strikes.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘baker’, homemade Kolaches are so darn crave-worthy, you’re going to want to learn to make them. Once you try them, I guarantee you’ll crave the sweet, soft dough/filling combination.
Plus, your friends and family will be so impressed when you serve them these freshly baked breakfast treats. Everyone says they are so much better than kolaches you can get in bakeries and donut shops.
What are Kolaches?
A Kolach pronounced “KOH-lahsh or KOH-lahch” is a type of sweet pastry that holds a portion of sweet filling inside a soft sweet yeast dough. They originate from central Europe but were brought to the US by Czech immigrants in the late 19th century.
While a traditional Czech Kolach is sweet, savoury kolache variations (or kolaches; both plural forms are acceptable) containing sausages or ham and cheese exist in some parts of the US. The most popular is the Texas Sausage Kolache which is like a pig in a blanket or sausage roll. In Texas these sausage kolaches are more commonly known as Klobasneks.
Traditionally, Czechs serve these sweet pastries at feasts, important events, or holidays. However, in the US Czech immigrants regard them as an everyday comfort food. They enjoy kolaches for breakfast, brunch, and sometimes for lunch (Klobasneks).
Ingredients for Kolaches
The simple sweet yeast dough and variety of easy fillings make this one of the most enjoyable breakfast recipes you can bake.
- Cream Cheese
- Poppy Seeds
This recipe was tested with whole milk containing at least 3.25% milk fat and full fat cream cheese. As with most baking, use unsalted butter (with the option of adding salt), all purpose flour, and large eggs.
I use instant yeast in this recipe, as it can be immediately incorporated into the dough, but it still needs warm water or milk to get it nice and active.
The water or milk must be warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot or it will kill the living yeast cells. The ideal temperature for the warmed milk is between 105° and 115°F.
Let’s Make Kolaches!
In this kolache recipe, you will learn how to make the sweet yeasted kolache dough, the cream cheese and poppy seed fillings, and the streusel topping. Let’s begin with the dough!
Mixing the Dough
To make kolache dough, combine the warm milk, melted butter, and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Next, place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture a little at a time, until it’s all combined.
Set mixer to knead for 10 minutes or turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand. Test the dough by stretching it. If it breaks easily, keep kneading until the dough becomes softy and stretchy (15-20 minutes).
Rising and Dividing the Dough
Place dough in a bowl and cover it with a towel. Let rise in a warm, draught-free spot until doubled in size, about an hour. Pro tip: If the room temperature in your house is cool, heat your oven on lowest temperature for 5 minutes then turn it off. Leave the door open for 5 minutes, then place the dough in the oven and close the door.
*Make the cream cheese or poppy seed filling and the streusel topping while the dough is proofing.
Punch down the dough and divide into 18 equal portions. Roll them into balls and place them on a prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Make the Kolache Fillings
For the Cream Cheese Filling, use a hand mixer to beat softened cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest together.
To make the Poppy Seed Filling, place one cup of poppy seeds in a blender or spice grinder and pulse a few times. You want them to lightly chop, but not turn into a paste.
Next, pour the ground poppy seeds into a pan and add the milk, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer on medium low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon zest.
Finally, to make the Streusel Topping, place streusel ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well combined.
How to Shape and Bake Kolaches
Preheat oven to 350 F. To Shape the Kolaches, press your thumb in the middle of the rolls to make a nice deep indentation. Make the indentation deep enough to hold plenty of filling but not too much as it may overflow when the dough rises.
Next, brush the rolls well with the egg wash then fill the indentations with various prepared fillings. Get creative by adding cream cheese mixture to each roll and then add some poppy seed filling or jam. Sprinkle with streusel or poppy seeds before baking.
Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned. Let cool and enjoy immediately or store kolaches in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Kolache Filling Variations
Besides the savoury Klobasneks, there are a wide range of sweet filling options for traditional Kolaches. The simplest and quickest filling is fruit jam or jelly. You can use whatever fruit jam you have on hand or make your own, though raspberry, apricot, and prune are popular.
Other fillings include a sweet cottage cheese (similar to cream cheese), or sweetened ground poppy seed filling.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I’m the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. It is my pleasure to share easy-to-follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 cup Whole Milk; warmed between 105° and 115°F.
- 8 Tbsp Butter; melted
- 2 large Egg Yolks
- 3 - 3 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup granulated Sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Egg mixed with 1 Tbsp Water
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 6 oz Cream Cheese; softened
- 3 Tbsp granulated Sugar
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
FOR THE POPPY SEED FILLING
- 1 cup Poppy Seeds
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
FOR THE JELLY FILLING
- Fill Kolache with your favourite Jelly (strawberry, apricot, pineapple, blueberry)
FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
- 1 cup granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Butter; melted
- 2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
FOR THE DOUGH
- Warm milk to 105° and 115°F then combine it with melted butter and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a separate bowl.
- With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture a little at a time, until it’s all combined.
- Set mixer to knead for 10 minutes, or turn out and knead by hand. Test the dough by stretching it. If it breaks easily, keep kneading until the dough becomes softy and stretchy (15-20 minutes).
- Place dough in a bowl and cover it with a towel. Let rise in a warm, draught-free spot until doubled in size, about an hour. If your house is cool, turn the oven on lowest temperature for 5 minutes then turn it off before placing the dough in the oven to rise.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 18 equal portions. Roll them into balls and place them on a prepared cookie sheet. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm, draught-free spot for 30 minutes.
MAKE THE FILLINGS
- CREAM CHEESE FILLING - Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest together.
- POPPY SEED FILLING - Place a cup of poppy seeds in a blender or spice grinder and pulse a few times. You want them to lightly chop, but not turn into a paste. Pour the ground poppy seeds into a pan and add the milk, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer on medium low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon zest.
- STREUSEL TOPPING - Place streusel ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
SHAPE AND BAKE
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Shape the Kolaches by pressing your thumb in the middle of the rolls to make a nice deep indentation. Press the middle down well to fill! Add less filling if you don’t want it to overflow. Overflow happens as the dough rises as it bakes.
- Brush the rolls well with the egg, water mixture then fill the indentations with various prepared fillings. You can also add cream cheese to each roll and then add some poppy seed filling or jam. Sprinkle with streusel or poppy seeds.
- Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 574Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 4gSugar: 29gProtein: 13g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.