Recipe: Rather Sweet Bakery Kolaches and Variations (2024)


"Soft, sweet, and utterly addictive, kolache yeast buns are big all over Texas. Some say the recipe is Polish; others claim it originated with the Czechs. I’ve seen it spelled in at least three different ways, but around here at least there seems to be consensus on its pronunciation: rkoh-lah-chee."

Recipe: Rather Sweet Bakery Kolaches and Variations (1)

"I started with a recipe given to me by my customer Charlie Stenicka and tweaked it with a little more sugar and a little more yeast until I got it where I wanted it. Kolaches can be flavored in myriad ways with both sweet and savory fillings. My breakfast kolaches are pressed into muffin tins, filled with an omelet mixture, and baked. It’s Rather Sweet’s answer to that ubiquitous portable breakfast, the Egg McMuffin. Of course, I think ours (see the egg kolache variation below) beats theirs by a mile.

Extra kolache dough can be kept in the refrigerator, well wrapped, up to 3 days."

2 cups milk
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 ounces poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup* or light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

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

Warm the milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until it begins to steam and form a skin; do not boil. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes until it registers 110 to 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a microwave or a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Add the cooled milk and the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour to the batter, 2 cups at a time. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix the flour with the wet ingredients. Keep adding the flour until it is completely incorporated and the dough begins to hold together. Use a light touch; don't pound or overwork the dough or you'll get tough kolaches. The dough will be sticky, moist, and light.

Lightly grease a large bowl with vegetable oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours (a dent should remain when the dough is touched lightly).

Leaving the dough in the bowl, punch it down until it deflates (1 or 2 punches with your fist will do). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook at medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently; do not let the mixture simmer or boil.

Add the sugar, syrup, vanilla, and salt; cook on medium- low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes before filling the kolaches.

Grease a 12 by 17-inch baking sheet with butter or cooking spray.

With lightly oiled fingertips, shape the dough into 2 1/2-inch-diameter balls, about the size of small limes. Arrange the balls evenly on the baking pan, 3 across and 6 down. Use your thumb or finger to make a generous indentation in the middle of each dough ball, being sure not to pierce the bottom of the dough. Mound about 1 heaping teaspoonful of poppy seed filling in the indentation.

Recipe: Rather Sweet Bakery Kolaches and Variations (2)

Cover the rolls with a clean tea towel and let the rolls rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Use your hands or a food processor fitted with a metal blade to mix the flour, sugar, and butter until crumbly.

Scatter the topping over the kolaches just before baking.

Bake the kolaches until lightly browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the kolaches for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 16 to 18 buns


Follow the directions above to make the dough. Press it into 5-inch circles. Place 1 tablespoon grated Cheddar in the center of each circle. Roll a medium-size Texas smoked sausage in each round, pigs-in-blankets style. Set on baking sheets, seam side down. Let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Bake as directed above.

Combine one 14- ounce carton dry-curd cottage cheese with 1/4 cup sugar, the grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 egg yolks. Make the kolaches as directed above, substituting the cheese filling for the poppy seed filling.

Combine 1 (8- ounce) can crushed pineapple in its own juice with 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Make the kolaches as directed above, substituting the pineapple filling for the poppy seed filling.

Combine 2 cups pitted, chopped peaches with 1 cup good- quality peach jam, such as our local Fischer & Wieser, in a medium bowl. Make the kolaches as directed above, substituting 2 tablespoons of the peach mixture for the poppy seed filling.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a Texas-size muffin pan (each muffin cup is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter at the top and 2 inches deep) with butter or cooking spray. Pinch off golf ball—size pieces of dough and flatten them into 1/4-inch-thick disks large enough to line the bottom of each muffin cup. (Unlike the previous recipes, the dough does not need a second rising once it is pressed into the muffin cups.) Fill each dough-lined muffin cup almost to the top with the Individual Baked Omelets mixture (see page 19). Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the egg mixture is set. Makes 6 egg kolaches.

*Lyle’s Golden Syrup, imported from Britain, is a pure cane sugar syrup with a mild caramel flavor. It is widely available in grocery stores.

Source: The Pastry Queen: Recipes from Rather Sweet Bakery and Cafe by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman

Recipe: Rather Sweet Bakery Kolaches and Variations (2024)
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