Kolaches

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This homemade Kolache recipe is a perfect breakfast or brunch treat! Kolaches are made with a homemade yeast dough, and a variety of fillings to choose from! I made these Czech kolache pastries with a sweet filling made from cream cheese, and two fruit fillings from raspberry and apricot jam!

three kolaches on a plate


 

The first time I tried I kolache was during a vacation to South Carolina. There was this adorable bakery around the corner from our Air BNB we stayed at. And I saw these warm pastries in the display case that I had never tried or seen before! But I knew I had to try one. And boy was I hooked.

I was there for only a few days but I made sure to try all the varieties while I was there each morning. From the savory fillings to the sweet fillings. I loved the homemade sausage kolaches but I couldn’t help getting the kolaches with the sweet fillings again and again. Especially the cream cheese kolaches!

So when I got home I knew I wanted to try to recreate the hearty breakfast pastry in my own kitchen. I stumbled upon a homemade kolache recipe in this cookbook, When Pies Fly and figured this was a good starting off point. After a few trial rounds and playing with the different fillings I landed on this version today. 

This recipe starts with a sweet yeast dough made with lemon zest similar to my homemade cinnamon roll recipe. The dough is made with yeast so yes we have to patient here and let the dough rise and do its thing. 

While the dough rises I got to work on my two fillings – a sweet cream cheese filling made with ricotta cheese, and an apricot jam filling made on the stovetop from dried apricots.

I also made a few by simply using a store-bought raspberry cake fillinghttps://amzn.to/4a1ppko (but a seedless raspberry jam would also do the trick – you will just get a bit more leakage). I want some variety friend, don’t judge me. Usually kolaches are made with a fresh fruit filling, but you can definitely use a thick homemade jam and save a few minutes!

The dough once its risen will get divided and shaped (almost like shaping dinner rolls). To get the large indent in the center of each kolache where the filling will go, I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup. I wanted a BIG center to hold lots of filling. 

I could have stopped with the filling but I decided to make a quick streusel topping and sprinkle over the top. This is totally optional and you can skip this streusel if you want to save a few minutes. But hey it’s streusel, and in my book that’s always worth a few extra minutes.

These homemade kolaches are a bit time consuming but in the end worth every bite! Let me walk you through how to make these!

See Also:

  • Move over pumpkin! This butternut squash bread recipe is an easy loaf bread to make in the Fall.
  • For more whole grain goodness, try my whole wheat blueberry muffins. These are the best breakfast treat!
  • Sugar donuts are a fun breakfast treat to make with yeast! Dipped in sugar these donuts are light and fluffy.
  • For a traditional Swedish breakfast treat during the holidays try making these St Lucia buns flavored with saffron!
cream cheese kolache with bite taken out of it

What Are Kolaches?

A kolache, pronounced “koh-lah-shee” is a traditional Czech pastry that was brough over by Czech immigrants to Texas. The word kolache comes from a Czech word, kola, meaning rounds or wheels. Makes sense since the pastries are shaped into little rounds, and look like wheels when the pastry is indented to add the filling! Usually kolaches are served as an afternoon snack or for even during a celebration like a wedding in Czech culture.

A staple pastry now in the Lone Star state, these pastries usually filled with a sweet or savory filling (such as sausage like I saw on my honeymoon!). Fresh fruit, or frozen fruit can be used. Traditional fillings include a poppy seed filling as well as prunes (common in the Czech republic). 

The yeasted dough looks like a Danish, but eats more like a soft bread roll. And although they may resemble a donut from your local donut shops, they are indeed not a donut! Donuts are fried, whereas kolaches are baked. And this kolache dough recipe is not as sweet as donut dough. 

kolache cut in half

Why You Will Fall In Love With These Pastries

  • Can make the fillings and streusel ahead of time (in fact I recommend this!)
  • Ca shape and let the pastries rise overnight in the fridge if need be
  • Freeze wonderfully well!
  • A variety of fillings can be used (even store-bought to cut down on time)

Note: The entire recipe, with ingredient quantities and recipe directions can be found at the bottom of the page. Scroll to the bottom or click “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the post.

Ingredients Needed

For the dough:

kolache ingredients

For the cheese filling

cream cheese filling ingredients for kolache

For the apricot filling

  • Dried apricots
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Orange juice
kolache ingredients for apricot filling

For the streusel topping: 

  • Granulated sugar
  • Flour
  • Butter

Egg wash: 

  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
streusel topping ingredients for kolache

How To Make Kolache

Make the kolache dough:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, add ¼ cup of the water and sprinkle the yeast over. This will allow the yeast to proof. In 5-10 minutes you should see the yeast begin to foam and bubble. If it doesn’t discard and get a new packet (make sure the yeast isn’t expired and the water is too warm.)

yeast proofing in bowl

Add the sugar to the yeast mixture and stir together.

Add the remaining 1 cup water, flour, eggs, butter, salt and lemon zest. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough together on medium speed and knead the mixture for 7 to 10 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Knead until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl (dough will still be sticky and clinging to the bottom of the bowl). You may need to add up to an additional 3 Tablespoons of flour if the dough is not coming together.

kolache yeast dough in a bowl

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or wipe down with a little bit of oil. 

Dust a work surface lightly with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the work surface. Using a bench scraper, lift and fold the dough a few times until it moves freely. 

Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning once to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap.

kolache dough in bowl being covered with plastic wrap

Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Or you can refrigerate the dough for up to 16 hours and bring to room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding with the kolache.

kolache dough that has doubled in size

Make the ricotta filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat together the ricotta, cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

ricotta filling stirred together for kolaches

Make the streusel topping

In a bowl stir together the sugar, flour and melted butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.

streusel topping in a bowl for kolaches

Make the apricot filling. 

Combine the chopped apricots an water in a small saucepan over high heat. 

chopped apricots in a saucepan

Bring to a boil and cook stirring continuously until the liquid has nearly evaporated. The fruit should still be slightly loose. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and juice. Let cool. 

apricot filling in a saucpean

To shape and bake the kolache:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Generously flour a work surface. Scrape the dough onto the work surface. 

kolache dough and bench scraper on a floured work surface

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 45 g each).

kolache dough divided into balls

Place 12 pieces of dough on each parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your hand (each dough ball should be about 2 inches in diameter).

Let rise until puffy, about 30 to 45 minutes. 

kolache dough balls that have risen a second time

Near the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC) and arrange a baking rack in the top and lower third of the oven. 

Using the bottom of a ¼ cup dry measuring May press a deep indentation in the center of each ball. If the indentation is too shallow, and the fillings will spill out as they bake. If the cup is sticking lightly spray the bottom of the cup with cooking spray. 

kolache dough being shaped with measuring cup

Add 2 teaspoons of Filling, (either cheese or apricot).

Crumble  the streusel mixture over each.

kolaches being filled

Brush dough edges with egg wash.  

Bake the kolaches for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking from the top to the bottom of the oven . Remove them from the oven and cool before serving.

kolaches being egg washed and baked

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t use too hot of water for yeast. I use water around 110oF. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise. Read more here about how to proof yeast.
  • Make sure your yeast isn’t expired! You can read more here about what is active dry yeast.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm place
  • Chop apricots easily in your food processor.
  • Drain ricotta in a strainer set over a bowl overnight covered in the fridge. 
  • Prepare fillings and streusel the day before if needed.
  • Can make one or both of the fillings (if making both halve each filling recipe)
  • If using instant yeast rise times may be shorter.
  • Can also use a thick preserves (Solo cake and pastry filling is best). You want it to be a thick preserves so it doesn’t leak out. 
a stack of kolaches on a wooden cutting board

Recipe FAQS

How do I store these Texas kolaches?

You can store the fruit filled kolaches at room temperature covered in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I recommend storing the cream cheese kolaches in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you have added the streusel I find it can get a bit soft and soggy as each day goes on. 

Can I freeze these kolaches?

Yes you can freeze baked kolaches for up to 3 months. I would recommend thawing overnight in the fridge. Then letting come to room temperature before serving.

Can I make these kolaches ahead of time?

These pastries can be a bit time consuming! I like to make the streusel and fillings up to two days ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge. Especially the cream cheese filling since the ricotta cheese has to be drained the night before anyway. You can also make and shape and fill the pastry dough the day before and keep the baking sheet covered in plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking. 

Can I use a store-bought filling or jam?

Yes you can. With a regular jam you want it to be very thick so it doesn’t leak out during baking. I found that the SOLO cake fillings were the best and didn’t leak at all! You can get a raspberry, apricot, or poppyseed filling.

apricot kolache with streusel topping

More Recipes To Try

a stack of kolaches on a wooden cutting board

Homemade Kolaches

This homemade Kolache recipe is a perfect breakfast or brunch treat! Made with a homemade yeast dough, and a variety of fillings to choose from! I made these Czech kolache pastries with a sweet filling made from cream cheese, and two fruit fillings from raspberry and apricot jam!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 24 kolaches
Calories: 210kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) lukewarm water divided
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 cups (600 g) all purpose flour plus more for kneading and forming
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter softened and cubed
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the cheese filling (makes enough for 24)

  • ½ cup (113 g) ricotta cheese drained
  • 6 Tablespoons cream cheese softened
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Topping (makes enough for 24)

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter melted

For the apricot filling (makes enough for 24)

  • 9 ounces dried apricots finely chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh orange juice warmed

Egg wash

  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

Make the dough:

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, add ¼ cup of the water and sprinkle the yeast over. This will allow the yeast to proof. In 5-10 minutes you should see the yeast begin to foam and bubble. If it doesn’t discard and get a new packet (make sure the yeast isn’t expired and the water is too warm.)
  • Add the sugar to the yeast mixture and stir together.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup water, flour, eggs, butter, salt and lemon zest. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough together on medium speed and knead the mixture for 7 to 10 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Knead until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl (dough will still be sticky and clinging to the bottom of the bowl). You may need to add up to an additional 3 Tablespoons of flour if the dough is not coming together.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or wipe down with a little bit of oil.
  • Dust a work surface lightly with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the work surface. Using a bench scraper, lift and fold the dough a few times until it moves freely.
  • Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning once to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Or you can refrigerate the dough for up to 16 hours and bring to room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding with the kolache.

Make the ricotta filling:

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the ricotta, cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Make the streusel topping:

  • In a bowl stir together the sugar, flour and melted butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.

Make the apricot filling.

  • Combine the chopped apricots an water in a small saucepan over high heat.
  • Bring to a boil and cook stirring continuously until the liquid has nearly evaporated. The fruit should still be slightly loose.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and juice. Let cool.

To shape and bake the kolache:

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Generously flour a work. Scrape the dough onto the work surface.
  • Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 45 g each).
  • Place 12 pieces of dough on each parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your hand (each dough ball should be about 2 inches in diameter).
  • Let rise until puffy, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Near the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC) and arrange a baking rack in the top and lower third of the oven.
  • Using the bottom of a ¼ cup dry measuring May press a deep indentation in the center of each ball. If the indentation is too shallow, and the fillings will spill out as they bake. If the cup is sticking lightly spray the bottom of the cup with cooking spray.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of Filling, (either cheese or apricot) and crumble the streusel mixture over each.
  • Brush dough edges with egg wash.
  • Bake the kolaches for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking from the top to the bottom of the oven . Remove them from the oven and cool before serving.

Notes

  • Storage: You can store the fruit filled kolaches at room temperature covered in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I recommend storing the cream cheese kolaches in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you have added the streusel I find it can get a bit soft and soggy as each day goes on. 
  • Freezing: Yes you can freeze baked kolaches for up to 3 months. I would recommend thawing overnight in the fridge. Then letting come to room temperature before serving.
  • Make ahead: These pastries can be a bit time consuming! I like to make the streusel and fillings up to two days ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge. Especially the cream cheese filling since the ricotta cheese has to be drained the night before anyway. You can also make and shape and fill the pastry dough the day before and keep the baking sheet covered in plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking. 
  • Store-bought fillings: With a regular jam you want it to be very thick so it doesn’t leak out during baking. I found that the SOLO cake fillings were the best and didn’t leak at all! You can get a raspberry, apricot, or poppyseed filling
  • Chop apricots easily in your food processor.
  • Drain ricotta in a strainer set over a bowl overnight covered in the fridge.
  • Prepare fillings and streusel the day before if needed.
  • Can make one or both of the fillings (if making both halve each filling recipe)
  • If using instant yeast rise times may be shorter.
  • Can also use a thick preserves (Solo cake and pastry filling is best). You want it to be a thick preserves so it doesn’t leak out.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love kolaches, so I had to try this recipe. SO. SO. GOOD! Thank you so much for the easy to follow directions.

    1. Thank you, Ned! So glad that you enjoyed them and found my recipe easy to follow too!

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