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Kolache Recipe

I was 7 or 8 years old when I baked my 1st Kolache. These soft pastries filled with plum lekvar and sweet cheese topping originated somewhere in the Czechoslovakia (Czech/Slovakia) a long time ago.

Today I’m going to share with you how to prepare 3 types of Kolache and variety of fillings.

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Updated recipe from 2013.

HOW TO MAKE KOLACHE

Slovak/Czech Kolache were 1st served as wedding pastries. Over the years kolache became very popular breakfast bread. Traditional kolache are made with farmer’s cheese and plum/apricot lekvar (and my grandmother always added 3 raisins on the top of the cheese). Nowadays sweet and savory fillings are being used to make these tasty treats. Apricots, plums, poppy seeds and walnuts are also very popular. Read about filling options in the recipe card.

SWEET BREAD DOUGH

Prepare Yeast Bread Dough following the recipe in the recipe box or use my favorite Sweet Bread Dough Recipe. Both recipes work equally well for Kolache. Recipe I used today has oil and butter, my other recipe uses only butter.

Dump the freshly kneaded dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it with your hands till it comes to together into a soft, smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap. Let rise for 60 minutes, in a warm and draft free spot.

QUICK TIP : HOW TO RISE DOUGH IN THE OVEN

Rise the dough in the oven. Here is a little trick: bring 3-4 cups of water to boil, pour boiling water into a shallow dish. Put the dish with boiling water on the bottom rack in your oven. Place the bowl with the yeast dough on the middle rack, just above the dish with boiling water. Close the oven door and let the dough rise for 60 minutes.

FILLINGS AND TOPPINGS

You can use variety of fillings and toppings. Though the most traditional filling/topping for Slovak/Czech Kolache is sweetened Farmer’s Cheese and Plum Lekvar. Some grocery stores carry Farmer’s Cheese and some don’t. Don’t worry you can make your own cheese.

Since it’s super easy to make your own curled cheese at home I make my own, too. Here is my recipe How to Make Farmer’s Cheese.

1. CHEESE FILLING

CAN I USE CREAM CHEESE OR RICOTTA TO MAKE KOLACHE?

While I encourage you try Farmer’s cheese I understand that you may not have time to make your own cheese. Or you can’t find farmer’s cheese at your local store. If that’s the case you can use cream cheese or ricotta instead of Farmer’s cheese.

Both, cream cheese and ricotta work. However, you need to be aware that both of these result in fillings that are more fluid, less dense than Farmer’s Cheese. And even though you can use them for both Kolache styles. It can be a little tricky to use them as filling for Kolache that are filled and have a topping as well. As runny fillings are harder to use for a filled bun.

With a fork combine Farmer’s Cheese, egg yolks, vanilla extract and sugar. Set aside. You can also add 1tbsp flour. It helps to absorb liquid.

2. FRUIT KOLACHE FILLING

You can use fresh or frozen fruit. Process blueberries, sugar, water and corn starch in a chopper until blueberries are broken up into smaller pieces. Cook mixture on medium heat, stirring, until simmering and thick. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. JAM FILLING

Commercially produced jams are usually made with pectin. There are few exceptions. And as you know pectin doesn’t hold up well in baking. It becomes very watery and often leaks out from the buns. To help remedy this issue I cook store bought jam with starch dissolved in little bit of water until thick. Bring mixture to boil and cook for 5 minutes until thick, stirring. Then let it cool to room temperature before using.

You can also use store bought Plum Lekvar. In my experience it doesn’t contain pectin and works great in baking.

4. STREUSEL TOPPING

I think streusel topping makes everyone happy. It’s easy to make and you can freeze leftovers for later. And it’s a delicious topping for Kolache.

In a bowl whisk together flour and sugar, add cut up butter. Press butter between your fingers and into the dry ingredients. Until you have a coarse texture formed. Set aside.

Streusel topping in a bowl.

FILLINGS/TOPPING I USED :

  • Sweetened Farmer’s Cheese – most commonly used
  • Blueberry Filling
  • Apricot Jam Filling
  • Plum Lekvar – has no pectin and doesn’t liquify in baking. It has tart/sweet taste and pairs nicely with sweet cheese.
  • Streusel

KOLACHE WITH FILLING AND TOPPING

My grandmother made Kolache with jam filling and cheese topping with raisins on the top. My friend’s mom makes them with cheese filling and jam – streusel topping. And my in-laws make them with a topping only. So you see there are number of ways you can make Kolache. My grandmother also used the same yeast dough to make variety of Kolache slab breads.

My personal favorite are Kolache with filling and topping. Let me show you how to make them.

Dump risen yeast dough onto a work surface dusted with flour. Roll out dough into about 3/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel cut it up into approximately equal squares 2×2 inch.

Place heaping teaspoon of filling onto each little square.

HOW TO SHAPE KOLACHE BUNS

Stretch each square piece of dough, pull the corners apart. Then press 2 opposite corners together. Next, press 2 remaining corners together in the middle. Continue the same process with the sides, until you have a little pouch formed. Press the ends well to seal the pouch. Turn the pouch and flatten it slightly with your hand. Transfer each filled bun onto a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper.

Gently press the center of the bun to make a wide well or use a small measuring cup. At this point you can brush buns with egg wash, if using. My grandmother never used it. Though I have to say I like the shine in lends to baked Kolache. I seldom use it myself.

Fill each well with a generous tablespoon of topping of your choice. Dust fruit/jam topped kolache generously with a streusel topping. Let rise for 30-45 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven at 350F for 18-20 minutes, until edges are golden.

KOLACHE WITH TOPPING

Dump risen yeast dough onto a work surface dusted with flour. Roll out dough into about 3/8 inch thick. Cut-out rounds using 2.5 to 3 inch round cutter. Transfer rounds onto a baking sheet.

Gather scraps into a ball and knead until soft ball is formed. Cover for 15 minutes until dough becomes more relaxed. I will be using it to make a small slab bread with savory filling.

Make a wide well in each round. Use a measuring cup or a glass with a flat bottom. After you make the wells you can brush each round with an egg wash, if using.

Fill each well with a generous amount of cheese and/or other fillings you are using. I used my cookie scoop to fill the kolache. Use a spoon to spread the filling evenly as needed.

Sprinkle generously with streusel and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, until edges are golden.

SAVORY CREAMY SLAB BREAD

This easy to make savory creamy topping consist of cream, sour cream and salt.

Remember dough scraps? They have been resting for a little bit. Now I’m going to make savory slab bread. Roll out a piece of yeast dough into a small rimmed baking pan lined with parchment. Spread a generous amount of savory cream topping over the bread slab. Let rise again for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350F until edges are golden. Let cool before serving

MAKE A QUICK SLAB INSTEAD OF KOLACHE

If you are running low on time instead of individually shaped Kolache buns make a quick slab bread. From this yeast dough you can easily make one large 1/2 sheet slab bread.

Get creative divide bread into section and use variety of toppings. Use toppings generously over the whole slab and bake just like you would bake Kolache. Below is picture of a quick Peach Streusel Bread.

Baked peach slab bread in a baking pan.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER STREUSEL?

Freeze it of use it for delicious Blueberry Babka or Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle Muffins.

KOLACHE BRUSHED WITH EGG WASH

Brushing buns with and egg wash is an optional step. My grandmother never used it and so I rarely use it, too . Though, I have to admit they look so pretty with an egg wash. Look, how shiny they are!

KOLACHE FLAVOR IDEAS

  • Sweetened Cheese topping sprinkled with a cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar. Or my Slovak friends can use Granko (dry cocoa mix) instead.
  • Ground walnuts mixed with powdered sugar sprinkled over fruit/ plum lekvar
  • Fresh or Frozen Fruit – such as apricot, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, plums generously dusted with streusel.
  • Use cinnamon and chopped nuts with apricots and peaches
  • Add fruit on top of the cheese filling and sprinkle with streusel.
  • Plum Lekvar with ground poppy seed topping, or use fresh plums. Be sure to dust fresh plums with little bit of sugar before adding poppy seed topping. Don’t know how to make poppy seed topping? Check out my recipe for Slovak Lokshe/Potato Tortillas.

MY TOPPINGS SLIDE OFF THE BUNS DURING BAKING, WHAT TO DO?

This can happen with filled and topped kolache. My grandmother used a tootpick to prick risen buns just before baking them. This old trick is suppose to allow steam to escape from the buns and keep the topping on the bun.

This can also happen when cheese topping is too runny. Try adding 1 to 2 tbsp of flour to cheese topping to make it thicker.

CAN I USE THIS YEAST DOUGH RECIPE TO MAKE A WALNUT ROLL?

Yes.

CAN I FREEZE KOLACHE?

Yes, as a matter of fact I always freeze kolache as soon as they cool, right after I bake them. Freeze them for up to 2 months. Let them defrost on the counter. I often speed up the process by microwaving them for 30 second at 50%, until thawed.

TOOLS YOU NEED TO MAKE KOLACHE

MORE DELICIOUS BREAD RECIPES :

Kolache Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Rising of the dough
1 hr 45 mins
 

Makes about 20 kolache, using a round cutter about 2.5-3 inch across. Kolache can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Czech, German, Slovak, Texan
Keyword: cheese kolache, czech kolache, filled buns, kolache
Servings: 20
Hanielas.com: Hani Bacova
Ingredients
Sweet Bread Dough
  • 4 cups flour
  • 7 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp tbl butter – soft butter ( not melted)
  • 2 packages of dry yeast ( 1 package = 2tsp and 1/4 tsp )
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp honey or pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp flour
Cheese Filling
  • 2 cups Farmer's cheese room temperature (make your own cheese, recipe in the notes)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Blueberry Fruit Filling
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, blueberries, cherries, apricot etc
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water, or lemon juice
Jam Filling
  • Plum Lekvar
  • 1/2 cup jam
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water
Egg Wash – optional
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
Streusel
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
Savory Cream Topping – optional
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Line the 3 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Yeast Mixture
  1. Prepare yeast mixture: into a small dish add warm milk (1cup), honey(1tsp) and dry yeast(2 packages, 1 pkg equals to 2 1/4tsp) and 1tsp flour. Whisk together and set aside for 5 minutes, until foamy on the top.

Dry Ingredients
  1. In the meantime, into the bowl of your mixer measure flour (4cups), granulated sugar (7tbsp) and salt (1/8tsp). Whisk well to combined.

Eggs and Melted Butter
  1. In a small dish melt butter (4tbsp), let it cool slightly, then add oil (4tbsp), then whisk in egg yolks (2 egg yolks), one whole egg (1 egg) and Vanilla Extract (1tsp).

Sweet Bread Dough
  1. Into the flour pour foamy yeast mixture and egg yolk butter mixture. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until combined and flour is thoroughly moistened through.

  2. Transfer bowl into your stand mixer and knead on low speed with a hook attachment. Knead for about 2 minutes or so, before the dough forms the ball add soft butter(2tbsp) and knead until the dough gathers on the hook and pulls away from the sides of the mixer.

  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead if with your hands for about 1-2 minutes until it comes to a nice smooth ball.

Let Yeast Dough Rise
  1. Spray a bowl with a nonstick spray or brush it with oil, place shaped dough ball into a bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour in a warm draft free spot.

Quick Yeast Dough Rising Tip – Rise the dough in the oven
  1. Bring 3-4 cups of water to boil, pour boiling water into a shallow dish. Place the dish with boiling hot water on the bottom rack in your oven. Place the bowl with the yeast dough on
    the middle rack, just above the dish with boiling hot water. Close the oven door and let rise fro 60 minutes.

Cheese Filling/Topping
  1. Stir together Farmer's cheese (2 cups), sugar (1/2 cup) and egg yolks (2 egg yolks). Combine with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

Blueberry Fruit Filling/Topping
  1. Quickly process fresh fruit (1cup), granulated sugar ( 1/2cup), and corn starch (2tbsp), 2tbsp water, in a chopper until chopped into smaller chunks. Cook on medium heat, bring to simmer and cook for one minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. You can prepare number of fruit fillings this way

Jam Filling/Topping
  1. I like to use Plum Lekvar often referred to as Plum Butter.

  2. If using store bought jam thicken it. Whisk together water (2tbsp) and corn starch (2tbsp). Whisk corn starch mixture with jam (1/2 cup). Cook on medium heat until simmer. Simmer or 5 minutes until thickened, let cool to room temperature.

Savory Cream Topping
  1. When I make kolache I always make a this savory bread with cream topping. I reserve a small piece of dough for it. Try it, you might like it. In a small dish whisk together cream (1/4cup) and sour cream(1/2cup) or Greek Yogurt. Season well with salt (1/2tsp) and whisk well. Spread over a small slab of bread dough. Let rise 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350F until edges are golden brown. Let cool.

Egg Wash (optional)
  1. In a small dish whisk together 1 egg and 1tsp of water. Set aside.

Oven Temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

Make Kolache with Topping Only
  1. Kolache with Topping: This is probably the most popular version of kolache. It's also easier to make than filled kolache. You can try and make both from the yeast dough.

    Dump risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch it down and roll it out to about 3/8 inch thick. Cut out rounds with 2.5 to 3 inch cutter. Transfer rounds onto and baking sheet lined with parchment. Using a bottom of a small glass or a measuring cup press the bottom into the dough rounds, creating a deep and wide well. Brush each dough round with an egg wash if using (optional). Fill the well with cheese, fruit filling or both. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.

  2. Gather left over bread dough and knead if for 30 second to come together. Dough will most likely appear stiff, this is normal. Cover it for 15 minutes and it will become more relaxed. You can roll it out again and make more kolache or try my savory topping instead and make a small slab bread. It's super yummy.

Make Kolache with Filling and Topping
  1. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it dough to about 3/8 inch thick.

  2. Kolache with Filling and Topping , my grandmother used to make these : cut out rounds from the dough. Then stretch the rounds a little and put the filling (cheese, jam, fruit filling, may favorite is thick plum lekvar) in the center, gather 2 opposite sides of the round and press them together meeting in the middle. Repeat until you have a small pouch formed. Flatten bun slightly with your hand.

  3. Place it onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the center down carefully with you fingers or use a bottom of the small dish. Brush with an egg wash, if using (optional). Fill the well with a cheese topping, fruit topping, or both.

  4. Sprinkle generously with a streusel topping, especially if you are using fruit fillings. Let rise for 30-45 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven at 350F, for 18-20 minutes, until edges are golden.

  5. Alternatively you can cut rolled out dough into squares and make small buns using squares instead of rounds. As seen in the picture tutorial in my Kolache blog post.

Storage and Freezing
  1. Store Kolache at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to a week. However I prefer to freeze kolache as soon as they cool after baking. Then I just take out as many as I need and let them defrost on the counter. Or if I'm in a hurry I microwave them for 30 seconds on 50% power until defrosted.

Recipe Notes
TOPPING SUGGESTIONS
  • Sweetened Cheese topping sprinkled with cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar. Or my Slovak friends can use Granko (dry cocoa powder)
  • Ground walnuts mixed with powdered sugar sprinkled over fruit topping or jam.
  • Fresh or Frozen Fruit – such as apricot, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, plums generously dusted with streusel.
  • Add fruit on top of the cheese filling and sprinkle with streusel.
  • Plum Lekvar with ground poppy seed topping, or use fresh plums. Be sure to dust fresh plums with little bit of sugar before adding poppy seed topping. Don’t know how to make poppy seed topping? Check out my recipe for Slovak Lokshe/Potato Tortillas.
MY TOPPINGS SLIDE OFF THE BUNS, WHAT TO DO?

This can happen with filled and topped kolache. My grandmother used a toothpick to prick risen buns just before baking them. This old trick is suppose to help steam escape from the buns and keep the topping on the buns.

When cheese topping is too runny this can happen, too. Try adding 1 -2 tbsp flour to a runny cheese topping.

CAN I USE THIS RECIPE TO MAKE A WALNUT ROLL?

Yes.

CAN I FREEZE KOLACHE?

Yes, as a matter of fact I always freeze kolache as soon as they cool right after baking them. Feeze them for up to 2 months. Let defrost on the counter. I often speed up the process by microwaving them for 30 second at 50%, until thawed.

 

 

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I updated this recipe with new step by step process photos and written text.

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