The kolache originated in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia. It is a sweet dough that has an indentation in the middle which contains a sweet filling that is usually made from fruit. The Kolache arrived in Texas along with the immigrants in the 1850s and has become part of the local culture and food scene ever since. In Texas, savory fillings like sausages and different types of meat are used in Kolaches as well but there is some debate with kolache purists about what the filling should be.
- The largest Kolache in the world was made in Prague, Nebraska. This kolache measured 15 feet in diameter and weighed over 2,600 pounds.
- The largest Kolache Festival in the world is also hosted in Prague, Oklahoma.
- Texas is considered the Kolache capital of the United States as the Kolache was brought to the country by Czech immigrants that ultimately settled down in Texas.
- Kolaches can be found in 7-Eleven stores, but only in Texas.
- The Kolache is pronounced as “Ko-lah-chee.”
Kolache Buying Guide
The Kolache is one of the newest food trends to hit the country, and people are even calling them the “new doughnut.” This popularity has led them to be sold everywhere from small bakeries to giant supermarkets.
Most of the kolaches sold in supermarkets come frozen and it has some sort of a sausage filling, making them reminiscent of “pigs in a blanket.” Technically, these are not kolaches but klobasniki, but both are locally accepted terms for the pastry.
While there’s nothing wrong with savory kolaches, frozen ones have plenty left to be desired. They are filled with chemicals and additives to make them last longer in supermarket freezers without losing whatever quality they have to start with. If you want to experience the true taste of Kolaches then you should go for freshly baked ones from bakeries or farmers’ markets.
Kolache Production & Farming in Texas
The Kolache, while being originally from Central Europe, has become as Texan as BBQ. Kolaches, even though they are staples in Czech immigrant communities, were mostly unknown to other folks. It started to gain traction when the word of the kolache was spread by traveling salesmen that have tried the treat and loved it. Over time, kolaches started to become commercialized and were sold in doughnut shops using doughnut dough.
This, in turn, has led many Texans of Czech descent to start smaller shops to preserve the traditional recipes that have been passed down through generations and to introduce people to the true taste of kolache.
In Texas today, kolaches can be found anywhere from small bakeries, convenience stores, farmers’ markets, kolache-specialty bakeries and have even been franchised outside of the state and across the country.
Preservatives, Chemicals, and Additives:
Frozen Kolaches, just like any other frozen pastry item, contain a lot of additives to protect them on the supermarket shelves. Here are some of the additives that can be found in frozen kolaches.
- Mono- and Di-glycerides.
- Annatto (for color)
- Calcium Disodium Edta
- Artificial Butter Flavor
- Monocalcium Phosphate
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (yes, still here)
- Apo-carotenal (coloring)
- Corn Syrup
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Smoke flavor
- Sodium Erythorbate
- Sodium Nitrite
Now in no way is this an exhaustive list of all the additives you can find in frozen kolaches, but this should be indicative of why buying from your local bakery of kolache shop is way better than buying frozen kolaches from the supermarket.
Commercial Kolache is usually individually frozen before being placed in a bag. Other manufacturers place them in trays before wrapping them in plastic bags or placed in a box.
Much like any other pastry, kolaches are best enjoyed hot (or at the very least, warm) from the oven.
Kolaches, whether home-made or purchased from artisan bakeries, can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. They can also be stored frozen for up to a month.
Making Your Own Kolache:
This is a recipe for a traditional Kolache that you can expect to find in artisan Kolache shops.
½ ounce active dry yeast
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm milk, 2% (100 to 115 temperature)
5 ¾ to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large egg white, beaten
Fruit filling of your choice (if you don’t want to make your own, there are a lot of artisan jam and jelly producers locally that you can get them from)
Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the warm milk and let it rest for about 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine two cups of flour, the remaining sugar, salt, butter, egg yolks, and the milk and yeast mixture. Mix until everything is well combined and smooth. If this is too sticky, add more flour until the dough is stiff.
Dump the mixture on to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. This should take around six to eight minutes. If necessary, add additional flour. Once smooth and elastic, place the dough into a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour or until the volume has doubled.
Punch down the dough and let it rise again. Roll out the dough into about ½ inch thickness and cut individual circles with a diameter of around 2 ½ to 3 inches. Allow to rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Probably the most important part of making the kolache. Press down the middle to make “well” or indentation. Fill with your choice of fruit filling. Brush down the exposed dough with the egg white. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the rolls are lightly brown.
Allow to cool down for a bit, then enjoy!