Grandma’s Kolache Recipe

I know it’s corny and trite, but I really do love the holidays.  I know it’s even trite to ADMIT it’s trite, but I’m saying it anyway.  I won’t bother blathering on why it is I like year-end holidays more than others, but suffice it to say that the standard family/gift-giving/food/happiness reasons apply.

But what’s specifically defines my Christmas experience?  I’m glad you asked.

Kolache definitely has something to do with it.

Poppy Seed Kolache

Poppy Seed Kolache

A Quick History Lesson (If TLDR, feel free to skip to the baking below.  Lazy.)

I’m descended from a mishmash of eastern european stock, specifically Hungarian and Czech from my grandmother and grandfather, respectively.  We’re not a super cultural family (meaning, we don’t partake in every single cultural tradition we descend from), but there are a few bits and pieces we keep that have been passed down.  As my grandmother got older, it started occurring to me that I should be spending more time getting to know her better and get what family advice and knowledge from her I could.  That can be tough when you’re living hundreds of miles away from each other, but all that really means is that Christmas becomes more important to you.  So one Christmas when I was still in college, I got my Grandma to give me her recipes for kifli and kolache, eastern-european cookies and pastries that had become a holiday tradition and dessert staple in our family.  Honestly, it’s just not Christmas without some Slovak-Hungarian desserts going on.

Kolache Factory

Kolache Factory’s Kolache (From kolachefactory.com)

I did a little Googling into kifli and kolache and found that kifli are basically dead-on with the ones I grew up with: small crescent-shaped cookies, in my case filled with either sweet nuts or poppy seeds.  Kolache, on the other hand, I’ve found vary drastically from what I’m familiar with.  When I think of a kolache, I think of a loaf of sweet bread with a delicious fat swirl of either sweet nuts or poppy seeds inside, but the ones I’ve found look more like a pizza or bun with fruit dumped on top (naturally, I feel that my Grandmother’s version is better.  Not that I’m biased).  There’s apparently a big Czech/kolache center in Texas; sounds like I need to do some traveling for science (or vicarious traveling…maybe I can find a Texan-baker willing to do some research…? >.>).

It actually took me awhile to warm up to these desserts since neither of them ever had chocolate in them when I was growing up.  But once my taste buds adjusted, it’s gotten really difficult to stop scarfing these down when I’m at Grandma’s.  Even if you’re a die-hard chocolate person, I’d stress the importance of trying these out if you ever have the chance.

Poppy Seed Kolache

Final Product: The Poppy Seed Kolache!

Back To Baking…

So, with the holidays upon us and my cravings for Grandma’scooking at an all time high, I thought I should break out the bread pan and give making kolache another shot.  The last (and only) time I baked a kolache I didn’t have a proper mixer, so the dough was a bit heterogeneous, and I ended up rolling it flat with a beer bottle as I had no rolling pin.  Hopefully this time with an actual mixer and a rolling pin, I can’t do any worse.

Slacker Tip: You can TOTALLY roll out dough with a beer bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin.  This works, it’s just a bit of a pain.  A lot of a pain. >.>

Grandma G’s Kolache Recipe

Yields 5 ~3/4 lb loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb butter (1 cup)
  • 6 egg yolks (save whites for glazing)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 packets yeast mixed with 1/3 cup warm milk
  • Filling (poppy seed, fruit preserves, or Nutella are some tasty suggestions)

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a pan, then add milk to cool it off
  2. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl.
  3. Add butter/milk mixture, egg  yolks, and yeast to the flour mixture.
  4. Knead until blended.
  5. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator covered by a towel.
  6. Cut into 5 pieces and roll out each to a square-like shape.
  7. Fill with whatever kind of filling you like, in my case, poppy seed filling.  Be careful not to over-fill or the filling will squish out when rolled.
  8. Roll dough into a log, spiraling the filling inside.
  9. Tuck in/fold down ends.
  10. Cover with egg whites.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until brown.
  12. Consume!
Kolache Dough with Poppy Seed Filling

Kolache Dough with Poppy Seed Filling

.

It actually took me awhile to warm up to these desserts since neither of them ever had chocolate in them when I was growing up.  But once my tastebuds adjusted, it’s gotten really difficult to stop scarfing these down when I’m at Grandma’s

Mary Gezo

Formerly of both n00bcakes and !Blog, the two magically become one on Spatialdrift; expect some lazy baking and serious nerditude. Also, I love semicolons.

13 thoughts on “Grandma’s Kolache Recipe


  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic):

    Your slacker tip made me giggle. Mostly because I’ve done the same thing with soup cans.

    A rolling pin seems like one of those things you’ve always had around right? And then you go to roll out some dough for cookies or kolache and you realize…holy crap, I don’t have a rolling pin? BREAK OUT THE BEER! Drunken baking then ensues.

    • It’s my favorite holiday dessert. If poppy seed isn’t your thing, I recommend using Nutella as filling. WAY good. 🙂

  2. That looks terrific…you are lucky your family members are sharing recipes..in my family, my elderly relatives purposely leave out a key ingredient to trip us up!

  3. Mmm, kolache!! Yours looks so gooood. It’s definitely popular down here, especially the meaty varieties. I would totally be up for the task of field reporter. 😉

    btw, I’ve got some Czech and Bohemian in me from my grandpa! His specialties were stuffed cabbage rolls and this flat bread that had cheese and mashed potatoes in it…have you ever heard of that bread? My uncle had some Czech name for it, but I can’t remember it.

    • Are you talking about pierogies? Those are dumplings filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, and other bits of delicious. I haven’t heard of just bread like that, though.

      And myes…I think you should totally do some kolache research. You know, for science. ^_^

  4. My Father, being 1/2 Hungarian and 1/2 Russian, always made our Christmas’es special. Him & Mom always made Kolache with the sweet nut mixure that you mentioned. The sweet dough recipe you have is very similar to the one we have. When us kids (there are 5 of us) were small, they would make Kifli for Christmas morning, along with Palachintas’. Dad would make the crepe’s (with an electric crepe’ maker) on Christmas Eve, while some of us went to Christmas Eve Services at church. By the time we got back home Dad was finished them. It took him a few years to figure out how to separate them without tearing them up the next day (plastic wrap). He would use different fruit preserves for some, rehydrated puree’d apricots for a few, and a mixture of cottage cheese & cinnamin for the rest. I recently talked to my cousin about these and her family uses cottage cheese and onion.
    We live in North Texas, and the Chech’s here just love thier Kolache, but the recipe they used was little sausages in bread like dough, I call them…..pigs in a blanket. My Dad & I oftened wondered where the Chechs’ (no offense intended) messed up when they were making Kolache, because they were very different from how we made ours, I would say…do you think that maybe they skipped a page in the recipe book.
    When I read your recipes it really took me back in time, especially when I wondered if you had a Kifli recipe, then there it was…My Mom & Dad recently passed away, but we still make & eat these wonderful treats during our Christmas celebrations.
    Your blogspot is the 4th website (but the 1st that I liked) that I have searched for the recipes and your memories brought to mind of Christmas’ past. Thank you for allowing me to share my remembrences,&
    Merry Christmas

    • Cindy, thanks so much for sharing! I love that your take on Texas kolache is like mine – I recently spent 3 months in Dallas for work and was falbbergasted when the “kolache” presented to me were basically pigs in blankets. I very politely munched on them (they were still tasty), but kept my “these definitely aren’t kolache” opinions to myself.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe; I love sharing the kolache concept with people since they’re a bit of a fundamental of my Christmas memories. For a much better version (and prettier pictures!), make sure you check out the 2nd version of these I wrote last year!

Comments are closed.