I have hemmed and hawed about posting this homemade Kolache recipe. It’s not that I don’t want to share it with you…I do! But it’s one of those recipes that I have been working on perfecting and have made many, many times in the process. I feel like I’ve finally got them exactly right and with the holidays approaching, I figured now would be a good time to share it with you. These homemade kolaches are perfect for a Christmas morning breakfast, to share over a Thanksgiving weekend or to make for a family brunch. You don’t even have to frequent a bakery to get the tender crumb and sweet or savory filling.
What is a Kolache?
Traditionally Kolache has its origins in the Czech Republic. I lived there as a child and my Czech Babicka would make kolach which I inhaled as a kid. Kolach is basically a pastry that holds fruit surrounded by puffy dough. My Babicka would cut her Kolach into slices with a plum filling and a streusel topping. It was my favorite Czech pastry and I have many fond memories of this delicious treat.
Czech Kolache was brought to Texas by Czech immigrants and over the years has become “Americanized.” Now you can find kolache in bakeries throughout different parts of the United States that specialize in these little filled pastries. Kolaches can be filled with anything you can dream up, but the traditional filling is fruit. I use homemade jam in the center of my kolaches. Some I make with plain jam and others I add a cream cheese layer and then the jam. We also love a maple pecan kolache that is reminiscent in flavor of a cinnamon roll. Many kolache shops will add seasonal fillings. These fillings should give you a good starting point if you want to create a bakery-style kolache of your own.
What is the Difference Between Kolache and Klobasnek?
Kolache are technically a pastry with fruit and surrounded by fluffy dough. If you want to fill your kolache dough and enclose the filling inside the dough, then you are actually making a klobasnek. Klobasnek are typically filled with meat and are an Americanized version of a Czech sausage roll with kolache dough. Klobasnek are absolutely delicious and I am including a recipe for my favorite breakfast Klobasnek as well. It is probably one of my favorite foods…ever!
Overnight Kolache Dough
Kolache dough is enriched with A LOT of butter and A LOT of egg. It is a pretty sticky dough and because of that, I find that it benefits from a long overnight rise in the refrigerator. This makes the dough much easier to handle, shape and work with so that it is not over-floured and tough. I actually prefer this method because I can whip up the dough the night before, sleep while my dough rises and then shape and bake in the morning. The overnight rise is one of the keys to the success of this recipe.
Shaping the Dough
Once the dough has risen overnight, pull it out the next morning and cut the dough into 24 pieces. Yes this makes a lot of kolache. Yes, it is worth it! The kolaches freeze well or they are perfect to share with loved ones or neighbors. Once you have your 24 pieces of dough, decide which you will make into kolache and which you will make into klobasnek. I usually split them into 8 klobasnek, 8 jam filled kolache and 8 cinnamon maple filled kolache. The recipes for the filling below reflect that. The processes for shaping kolache and klobasnek are different as outlined below.
How to Shape and Fill Bakery-Style Kolache
Roll the kolache into a ball and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rise until just about doubled in size. While they rise, mix up the fillings for your kolache. I like to put the cream cheese mixture in a piping bag, prepare my egg wash and get my homemade jam or cinnamon sugar mixture ready. Once the kolache have risen, take the bottom of a jar (I’ve found a 16 ounce Ball jar to work really well) and press down in the center of each kolache. The sides will rise up a bit and it will form an indentation for you to put the filling in. If using the cream cheese mixture, take your piping bag and pipe a circle on the inside of the outer edge of dough. Fill the center of the dough with jam or cinnamon sugar. Brush with egg wash and bake.
How to Shape and Fill Klobasnek
If you are planning to make klobasnek, you will want to make the filling mixture before pulling your dough out of the fridge. I will often make my fillings the night before along with the dough and refrigerate them. Then I just have to pull them out the morning of and fill my dough. Roll each klobasnek into a ball and then, using a lightly dusted surface and rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle. Add a scoop of filling to the middle of the dough, and then bring the sides up and pinch them closed, completely encasing the filling in the kolache dough. Set each klobasnek on a parchment-lined baking sheet to rise. Once risen, brush with egg wash and bake.
My Takeaway Tips
Let the dough rest overnight in the fridge. It makes for a night and day difference when working with the dough.
Make the fillings the night before. This saves time when assembling them in the morning and the Klobasnek filling is best when used chilled.
Save your egg whites! This recipe uses a whole lot of egg yolks. Save the egg whites and use them in the Klobasnek filling.
Don’t forget the egg wash at the end. I’ve done this many times because I’m so excited to bite into one of these amazing pastries, but the egg wash really does give it a finished, golden color that will remind you a bakery-style kolache. You will want this. Trust me!
If you don’t have homemade jam, use a favorite jam or make your own fruit filling (though this may take a little bit longer)
Fruit Filling Recipe: Blend or mash 2 cups of strawberries (or other berries). Add them to a saucepan on the stove and over medium to medium-low heat, simmer the berries with ½ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, a pinch of salt, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice until thickened and jam-like (about 15-20 minutes). Cool in the fridge before using.
So without further ado: the best Bakery-Style Kolache recipe (better than kolache from a bakery and totally worth the overnight chill in the fridge). Enjoy!
- 2 cups milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar about 115 grams
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
- 6 large egg yolks about 130 grams
- 1 cup unsalted butter 226 grams, melted
- 2 teaspoons salt about 16 grams
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk reserve the white to use later if making Klobasnek
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup favorite fruit jam
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1-2 teaspoons water as needed
- 24 pecans if desired 3 for each kolache
Sausage Egg and Cheese Klobasnek Filling
- 1/2 pound breakfast sausage
- 6 egg whites leftover from making the dough
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 -2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- To a liquid measuring cup, add the milk. Warm it in the microwave (or on the stovetop) in 30 second increments. Stick your finger down into the middle of the milk to check the temperature. If it is the temperature of baby’s bath water, you are good to go. If it’s too cold, warm it a little longer. If it’s too hot, stir it until it is warm and not hot.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let it sit while you crack the eggs.
- Using two bowls, crack and separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. One bowl should hold the yolks and the other holds the whites. Set the whites aside to use later on.
- Add the egg yolks to the yeast mixture in the stand mixer. Pour in the melted butter (make sure it’s not too hot! You don’t want to kill the yeast). Then add the salt.
- With the stand mixer running, add the flour a cup at a time and mix. Once the dough comes together, continue kneading the dough for about 7-10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let the mixer do its thing while I start preparing the fillings.
- After the dough is kneaded, it will be very sticky. This is normal. Don’t worry and don’t add more flour (unless you feel it needs just a few extra Tablespoons).
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container that has room for the dough to at least double in size. Cover the container and stick the dough in the fridge to proof overnight. The overnight proof will help solidify the butter in the dough, which will make it easier to work with the next morning.
Cream Cheese Filling
- Using a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk (you can add the white to your bowl of egg whites from making the dough), flour and vanilla extract. Whip until completely incorporated and thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Stick a piping bag (or ziplock works too) into a glass and fold the edges over the glass. Transfer half of the cream cheese mixture into the piping bag.
- To the other half of the cream cheese mixture, add maple extract and ground cinnamon. Mix together. Stick a second piping bag or ziplock into a glass and fold over the edges. Transfer the rest of the cream cheese mixture into the piping bag and close.
- Refrigerate the piping bags of mixture overnight and pull out the next morning to come to room temperature when you pull your dough out of the fridge. If you want to make the filling the morning of shaping, there is no need to refrigerate the filling.
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Put the softened or melted unsalted butter in a small bowl. Add the powdered sugar, brown sugar and ground cinnamon and mix together with a fork. It may be a little crumbly. Add a teaspoon of water until it forms a thick paste. Cover and let sit at room temperature before using.
Sausage Egg and Cheese Klobasnek Filling
- To a skillet, brown the breakfast sausage. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Transfer cooked sausage to a medium-sized bowl.
- To the reserved egg whites, add two eggs with their yolks and scramble in the same pan as the breakfast sausage. Season to your preference with a little salt and pepper. Pour the cooked scrambled egg on top of the sausage.
- Add 1 ½ -2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the scrambled eggs and sausage. Using a large spoon, mix it all together until the cheese, egg and sausage are evenly distributed throughout.
- Cover the mixture and stick in the fridge until ready to use. It should be cool before being used to fill the Klobasnek.
Shaping (8-12 hours later)
- After an 8-12 hour rise in the fridge (overnight), pull the dough out and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Go ahead and pull the fillings out of the fridge at this time too.
- Separate the dough into 24 pieces using a bench scraper or sharp knife.
- Line three baking sheets with parchment paper (you may be able to get away with two if making all kolaches but if you are also making the Klobasnek, you will want three baking sheets).
- Shaping Klobasnek: Lightly flour the surface and a rolling pin. Roll one piece of dough into a circle shape, about 5-6 inches round. Take about ½ cup of the sausage, egg and cheese filling and place it in the center of the circle. Pull the sides of the dough up and around the filling in a circular manner and pinch together, enclosing the egg mixture in the dough. If any filling seeps through, patch it with dough from the bottom of the Klobasnek. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with seven more balls of dough. Let rise until puffed up about an hour.
- Shaping Kolache: Roll each piece of dough into a ball using a little pinch of flour if needed. Place the balls of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 8-12 balls of dough per sheet. Let them rise in a warm place for about an hour until puffy and almost doubled in size. Using the bottom of a 16 oz canning jar, press down firmly on top of each ball of risen dough, forming a large circle indentation and higher sides. Fruit Filled Kolache: Take the cream cheese mixture and snip the end off the piping bag. Pipe a circle around the outer edge of the kolache dough, repeating until eight kolaches are filled. Using your favorite jam, place about a teaspoon of jam in the center of the cream cheese mixture. Cinnamon Maple Kolache: Take the cinnamon cream cheese mixture and pipe a circle around the outer edge of the remaining eight kolaches. To the cinnamon maple kolaches, place about a teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar filling in the center of the kolache.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Egg Wash: Crack an egg in a small bowl and whisk it with a teaspoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the outsides of the kolaches with the egg wash.
- Bake the Kolaches for about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly. Add 3-4 pecans on top of each cinnamon maple kolache when they come out of the oven. For the Klobasneks, bake about 18-22 minutes until baked all the way through. Enjoy warm!