A kolach (also spelled kolache, kolace or kolacky /kəˈlɑːtʃi, -tʃki/, from the Czech and Slovak plural koláče, sg. koláč) is a type of pastry that holds a portion of fruit, surrounded by a puffy cushion of supple dough.
Originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe, they have become popular in parts of the United States. The name originates from the Czech, and originally Old Slavonic word kolo meaning “circle”, “wheel”. The word kolache may also be used to describe a meat filled pastry (esp. in some parts of Texas). However, this probably refers to a klobasnek. A klobasnek is often thought to be a variation of the kolach (koláče); however, most Czechs hold the distinction that kolache are only filled with non-meat fillings. Unlike kolache, which came to the United States with Czech immigrants, klobasniky were first made by Czechs that settled in Texas.
- Electric Mixer
- Large Bowl
- Medium Saucepan
- 2 Baking Trays
- 4 cups plain flour (all-purpose flour), up to 4½ cups
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- poppy seed filling, see below
- raisins , optional
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
For poppyseed filling
- 1 cup poppy seed
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup honey
- ⅓ cup chopped dates
- ⅓ cup chopped nuts
- dash ground cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and nutmeg or mace; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan heat and stir the 1 cup milk, the ½ cup butter, the sugar, and salt just until warm (50°C to 55°C) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the two eggs and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (for 1 - 1½ hours).
- If you are making the poppy seed filling from scratch, combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until it thickens, stirring often. Set filling aside to cool.
- Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Grease 2 baking trays.
- Roll each dough half into a 20 x 40 cm rectangle, about an 2 - 3 mm thick. Cut each rectangle into eight 10 x 10 cm squares. Place a large, heaping tablespoon of poppy seed filling onto the centre of each square. If you want, add a few raisins to the top of the filling. Brush the four corners of each square with water. Draw the corners up and gently press together. Secure with a toothpick. Place on well greased baking sheets, 5 cm apart. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 35 minutes).
- Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk. Bake in a 190°C/170°C fan-forced (375°F ; Gas Mark 5) oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Remove toothpicks.
Several cities, including Verdigre, Nebraska; Wilber, Nebraska; Prague, Nebraska; Caldwell, Texas; East Bernard, Texas; Crosby, Texas; Hallettsville, Texas; Prague, Oklahoma; St. Ludmila’s Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Kewaunee, Wisconsin hold annual Kolache Festival celebrations.
Montgomery, Minnesota, is the “Kolacky capital of the world” and holds an annual festival known as Kolacky Days. Verdigre, Nebraska, stakes the same claim with their Kolach Days. Prague, Nebraska, claims to be known as the home of the world’s largest kolache. Both Caldwell and West, Texas, claim the title of “Kolache Capital” of the state.
Haugen, Wisconsin is the Kolache Capital of Wisconsin. The village is a Bohemian settlement that celebrates its Czech Heritage during an annual festival (Haugen Fun Days). Kolaches are a staple of the village’s festival with Kolache sales, bake-offs, and tastings.
Still, other communities in the United States hold Czech-American festivals, where kolache may be found.
It was the sweet chosen to represent the Czech Republic in the Café Europe initiative of the Austrian presidency of the European Union, on Europe Day 2007.
A related dish is a klobasnek, which is popular in central and southeast Texas. It often uses similar bread but is filled with a link of sausage or ground sausage. Some people also refer to these as kolache, but they are more accurately referred to as a “pig in a blanket“. They may also contain ham, cheese, jalapeño, eggs and bacon/sausage, potato, etc., and resemble a “pig in a blanket”. Czech settlers created klobasniky after they immigrated to Texas.