Have you ever heard of a kolache? I hadn’t until I moved to Houston a few years ago. One morning my father-in-law went to get doughnuts for breakfast he also came home with some ham and cheese kolaches and sausage and cheese kolaches.
I had no idea what to expect but decided to give the ham one a try. It seemed like a strange thing to have for breakfast, but I’ve learned that a lot of things are done differently in Texas. Ever since that first try, though, I always opt for a fresh kolache whenever we go to the doughnut store!
Having never heard of them before, I decided to look up the history of kolaches. Texas had a large community of Czech immigrants settle in the area. These started off as a treat from the European country, and traditional kolaches were made with fruit. Technically, they call the Texan version a Klobásník, but everyone here still just calls it a Kolache (pronounced koh-la-chee).
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about trying to make my own kolaches at home, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot. The recipe was for ham and swiss cheese but we used cheddar cheese instead. We also made a few with breakfast sausage and cheese, but they can be made with almost any filling. I’ve seen them filled with eggs, bacon, potatoes, ranchero, brisket, spinach, chicken, jalapenos, pepperoni… the list goes on and on!
I didn’t realize how much it takes to make the dough for the kolaches. You have to make part of the dough and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, then work it again in the morning and let it rest for another hour. Then make the kolaches. Overall, it took so much longer than I thought, and won’t be something I make all the time because of it, but it was fun to try, and they tasted very similar to the store-bought ones.
Start by making the “sponge” the night before you want your kolaches. This is made by mixing yeast and flour, then combine that with warm milk, sugar, eggs, and melted butter. Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, start by gently mixing the sponge and add a bit of salt. Then slowly start adding in flour until it forms a dough that you can work with. When I made it, I used about 3 cups of flour.
Once you have your dough let it rest for about 20 minutes, then knead it on a floured work surface for about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, turning to make sure the dough is covered with oil. Cover the bowl and let it rest on the counter for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare your fillings. We made ours with ham torn into small pieces, breakfast sausage cooked and broken up, and cheddar cheese cut into small squares.
Punch down the dough. This isn’t as rough as it sounds, gently use your fist to push the air out of the dough. Divide the dough into 36 pieces.
Flatten each piece of dough into about a 3″ circle. Add about one tablespoon of your filling on each piece and fold it over until it is completely closed and sealed. Preheat your oven to 375 while letting the kolaches rest for a few more minutes. Brush the dough with melted butter and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until they just start to get golden. If they start to get too brown, the dough will dry out.
Supposedly you can freeze these after they’ve been cooked, but ours didn’t last long enough to test this out.
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup milk (warmed)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 links breakfast sausage
- 4 oz ham
- 8 oz cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup butter (melted)
- Mix together yeast and flour
- Add remaining sponge ingredients and mix until combined
- Cover and refrigerate overnight
- Remove the sponge from refrigerator and gently stir, adding the salt
- Add flour until it forms a dough
- NOTE: you may not need all 3 cups of flour, depending on the humidity where you live
- Once the dough forms a ball, let it rest for 20 minutes
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes
- Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside, making sure to coat the dough with oil
- Cover and let rest for about an hour or until doubled in size
- Cook breakfast sausage and crumble into bite-sized pieces
- Chop or tear ham into small pieces
- Shred cheddar cheese
- When dough is ready, gently punch down by using a closed fist to slowly push the extra air out
- Divide the dough into 32 pieces
- Flatten the pieces into circles about 3 inches in diameter
- Add a bit of the filling (either ham and cheese or sausage and cheese) to the dough
- Fold the sides up to close and pinch together to seal
- Continue until all dough has been used
- Preheat the oven to 375 while the kolaches rest
- Brush kolaches with melted butter
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes until they start to turn golden
- Don't let them get brown or the dough will start to dry out