Introduction: Breakfast, Lemon Cheesecake, and Raspberry Kolaches
These Czech-style pastries are a crowd favorite that you can customize with sweet or savory fillings. You can make them small for gatherings or huge for a satisfying treat all to yourself. Serves 6-12.
The recipe for the dough has been adapted from this recipe from foodandwine.com.
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 (¼ -ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk ½ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon Cream Cheese: (optional)
1 package (8 oz.) room temperature cream cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 ½ cups raspberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3 slices of bacon or 3 links of sausage
Streusel Topping: (optional but great over all types of sweet kolaches)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
⅛ teaspoon salt
Oven and burners
Frying pan (optional)
Food Processor (optional)
Step 1: Mixing the Dough
Begin by adding 1 cup flour, ⅓ cup sugar, and 1 envelope active dry yeast to a medium sized bowl. Whisk until they are thoroughly mixed.
Warm 1 cup milk in a saucepan until it reaches 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure with, the milk should be pretty warm, but not hot to the touch. Once the milk is warmed, mix it into the dry ingredients and whisk until it is smooth.
Melt 1 stick (½ cup) butter in the now empty saucepan that you used to warm the milk. You will want to heat the butter until it is just melted, but not boiling hot.
Take 3 eggs and separate their yolks and whites into two separate bowls. Set the egg whites aside for the egg wash, which you will apply to the kolaches before baking.
Whisk 1 teaspoon salt and the ½ cup melted butter into the egg yolks. Mix the butter mixture into the bowl with your flour and yeast mixture until smooth. Mix in 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a kneadable dough.
Step 2: Forming and Kneading the Dough
Note: If you plan on making a cream cheese filling, now would be a good time to remove the cream cheese from the fridge so that it is ready by the time you prepare your filling.
Flour your counter and knead the dough for 3–4 min. Add a little flour (small handful at a time) as you knead if the dough is too sticky. Try to avoid adding too much flour so that the pastry remains soft, sweet, and supple. When finished, the dough should not be too sticky, but should remain slightly tacky.
Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let it rise for 1-1 ½ hours until the dough roughly doubles in size. If possible, place the rising dough somewhere warm. The dough will rise faster in a warm, humid environment.
While you wait for the dough to rise, it’s a good time to clean all those dishes that have started to pile up. You’ll be happy later to have them done! If possible, it’s also a good idea to get someone to do the dishes for you in exchange for some of your delicious kolaches!
Step 3: Forming the Kolaches
Divide the dough into 6-12 pieces, depending on your preference for size. Keep in mind that if you make six, each kolache will be large enough to serve two people.
Shape the dough pieces into small ball shapes. Push on the center of the dough with your thumbs while pulling the sides back to turn it “inside out.” This will help you achieve a nice, clean shape. The above images display this process.
Cover the shaped dough balls and let rise on a greased baking sheet or jelly roll pan for another 45 min. While the kolaches are rising, get started making your fillings.
Step 4: Making Fillings
One of the best things about kolaches is the variety of flavors they can produce. I’ve provided three of my favorites here: from slightly tangy, to very sweet, to breakfast-savory, there’s a kolache filling for any craving!
We’ve listed a few options here, but kolache fillings are limited only by your imagination! If you’re feeling a little lazy, any canned pie filling should do the trick.
Step 5: Lemon Cream Cheese (optional)
Use a zester to remove the zest from your lemon. If you don’t have a zester, you can use a knife to trim the zest off and mince it. Just be careful that you don’t cut too deep into the rind as the inner white albedo has a bitter flavor.
Mix the lemon zest, package of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1 egg yolk together for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth. This is easiest to do in a food processor, but can be done by hand. If you want a little more lemon flavor, feel free to squeeze a little bit of lemon juice into the mixture. Do this to taste. (Don’t throw this lemon away if you want to make the raspberry filling listed below!) My favorite way to eat this lemon cream cheese filling is with a spoonful of the raspberry filling on top!
Step 6: Raspberry (optional)
Combine 1 ½ cups raspberries, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the mixture has thickened roughly to the texture of warm honey. If you’d like a slightly thicker mixture, add a little extra corn starch. This should make enough raspberry filling for about half a batch of raspberry kolaches or a whole batch of kolaches if combined with the lemon cream cheese filling.
Step 7: Breakfast (optional)
Whisk three eggs together in a small bowl with 1/3 cup milk and salt and pepper to taste. (The number of eggs will change depending on how many savory kolaches you make. The ingredients listed here are sufficient for 6 savory kolaches)
In a greased or nonstick frying pan, scramble eggs over medium-low heat, continually stirring until eggs are fluffy. Remove from heat. In another pan, fry bacon, turning over every few minutes until both sides are finished. Drain out the grease. Once cool enough, chop bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to eggs.
Step 8: Streusel Topping (optional)
Stir 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt together in a small bowl until crumbly. Set the topping aside until the butter solidifies.
Stir the mixture again to create finer crumbles.
Step 9: Cooking the Pastries
Set the oven to preheat to 375 while you do the following steps.
Use your thumb to put large indentations in the middle of the dough balls, leaving a small ½ inch rim. It’s best to press the bottoms fairly thin, because if there’s too much dough there, it will expand when cooked and the fillings may spill out
Brush the dough in the egg whites that you set aside earlier. This egg wash will create a more golden finish and sheen on the dough. If you’re making fruit kolaches, spoon in fillings, being sure to leave a small lip at the top to avoid overflowing. Generously sprinkle with streusel topping.
For savory kolaches, spoon the filling into the indentations and pull the lips over to cover the hole well, being careful not to rip the top. Set on a baking sheet with the covered hole facing down.
Bake all kolaches at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 min. The tops may not reach golden brown, but you will know they’re done when the bottoms are just done, but not browning or turning crispy.
Place on plates and enjoy warm, cool, or reheated for later.