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Authentic kolache recipe?

Crazy people all around me (not including my husband, thank goodness!) think that the Kolache Factory turns out good and authentic kolache... ick! I would like to make some authentic kolache for Christmas. Does anyone have any tried and true recipes? Thanks in advance!

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  1. My dad's Croatian and I'll be making a poppy seed filled kolache for him this Christmas. If you google "poppy seed Kolache recipe" you'll find one that sounds good from the St Anthony Croatian Catholic Church -- it's made its way to multiple websites. It's very similar to one I use from an old copy of "The Balkan Cookbook" which my dad pronounced to be just like his mother's. However, my dilemma is that the on-line recipes are for individual kolaches, while my family's tradition is a large breadlike confection rolled up jellyroll style. Are little 1 1/2" kolaches all the rage now? Here in Nashville, few people know what a kolache is, much less do we have a factory for them!

    7 Replies
    1. re: TNExplorer

      You are lucky to *not* have the factory- I don't have a lot of experience with kolaches, (my baby-sitter used to make them when I was younger) but I would imagine that they are a disgrace to the authenticity of them! Thank you for the recommendation- I wasn't sure what to look for in a recipe, I might just have to add them to my Christmas cookie tray!

      1. re: TNExplorer

        There is confusion as to what "kolache" or "kolachky" are... In Chicago, the Czech community called them kolachky, signifying a small size. In my Chicago Rusyn home, we used the word for the same pastry your dad did. That's more correctly called, at least in Croatia and Slovenia, potica or povitica. Kolachy, Kolachky are generic Slavic term for "cakes." The small, pillows of dough with a bit of sweet topping, like lekvar or cheese or apricot, is Czech in origin. I make my mother's jelly-rolled version with a walnut filling.... I haven't made the poppyseed version. Visiting my relatives in my father's village in Slovakia, my cousin's wife now rolls them with a chocolate filling for her grandchildren, along with the traditional poppyseed and walnut versions.

        1. re: gido

          Thanks so much for the clarification. Since he lived in a mixed Slavic farming community in NW PA, I wouldn't be surprised if they exchanged some of the names. Regardless of what it's called, he appreciated the effort when I served up the pastry. Since the poor guy married a Southern girl and has lived south of the Mason-Dixon line for 50 years +, I try to make him an old country dish every now and then. I'll ask him about potica.

          1. re: TNExplorer

            If he's from northwestern PA and used the word kolachky for the poppyseed roll, I'm betting he had some Rusyn blood.... Or maybe he went to a Byzantine Catholic/Greek Catholic parish?

            1. re: TNExplorer

              What is wrong with living south of the Mason-Dixon line? I'm from a long line of Czech culture that started in SW Texas. We dropped off the boats in 1836, from Galveston, and settled the Mid and SW areas of Texas thru the Northern area of Mexico. Thank my German Czech heritage for influencing Tejano music with the accordians. chuckle.

              Any way... While I like Kolache Factory, I agree.. it's not home. I can still taste grandma's fresh kolachky... mrmm. I am BLESSED to have True Czech bakery's in the Houston to Victoria area's. Run by.. yup.. Vacek's... When I cant get to the real placem The factory is like getting coffee at a gas station. While it's filling, it's just not my cappaccino. :)

              We are Moravian decendants and our Kolache/Kolachky family recipes still live on. My Czech boss knew I was truely a Czech raised when I brought in real poppyseed sweet breads. chuckle. I'm also a wine drinker. He splits the country/people by beer drinkers and wine drinkers.

              Now remember.. Slav's spread amoung about 5-6 countries originally. So if you are looking for Slav based foods, you will find an amazing mix of variety that you may or may not believe to be 'authentic'. I would doubt that the chicago foods were influenced more by Hungarian's who seem to think most of our Czech foods were created by them.

              1. re: bjohnson71

                Happy 2009 Hopefully you can help me with a Slav. recipe Growing up with Catholic Polish -Ukraine parents every Xmas Mum would lay on a large feast (Traditional Polish food), Anyway (my pal)Vera's Mum( known as Yugoslavia) would reciprecate in following January (celebrating St Lukes Day) with amazing Walnut & DobosTortes,Slices, Choc.Salami, & my fav."WHEAT"also had confectioners sugar VERY MOREISH.I kno WHEAT was soaked overnite, cooked till soft -after C.sugar added. Dana passed away taking recipes with her DOES anyone know wat I'm talking about?? Managed 2 get few recipes but not this I WILL B ETERNALLY GREATFUL 4 recipe Regards Krystyna

                1. re: bjohnson71

                  Yay Texas! On this particular dish I couldn't care less about "authenticity" - I want my kolaches full of sausage and cheese and jalapenos, which I'm pretty sure is not the way they make 'em in the Old Country. DC seems never to have heard of these delights, so I pack up a dozen every time I go back to Texas to put in my freezer. Not the same as fresh-baked, but a welcome taste of home.

          2. "Authentic" might mean "just the way we like them" so could you please describe the kolachky you are looking for? I have a bunch of recipes in church cookbooks from Chicago's Slavic churches and they vary widely. Some use yeast, some not, and some use melted vanilla ice cream instead of shortening. Imitating what I had bought in Chicago bakeries, I always made kolachkies with a yeast dough done like puff paste (dot with butter, fold, roll, repeat xxxx, then chill). All depends on what result you want. If you can say, I'll be glad to look up recipes and post them.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Querencia

              Well, I don't really know- that's the problem! I vaguely remember them from my childhood, but I'm sure they were authentic because my baby-sitter was of Polish descent. I just know that the ones at the Kolache Factory *cannot* be authentic! I know, I'm no help! :-)

              1. re: Katie Nell

                Was the item you vaguely recall from childhood a kind of a yeasted roll with the filling in a depression on top, or was it a cookie kind of thing with the filling inside? (Or something different from either of those?)

                If the crazy people around you are promoting the Kolache Factory I'm assuming the former (what I know from my trips through TX as "Czech-style") but there are really quite a lot of different things that all get called kolache, each quite authentic to a different cuisine. For instance, TNexplorer's Croatian-style rolled pastry is new to me, and I think that the Chicago style is not what those used to TX kolache are likely to be looking for (Polish style vs. Czech, maybe?)

                1. re: Allstonian

                  A yeasted roll with the filling in a depression on top definitely... that much I remember! It seemed like maybe she made an apricot one and a poppyseed one, maybe raspberry.

                  The ones at the Kolache Factory are that type too, but just bland dough with pie filling in them... really icky! They also have yeast ones with like bacon, egg, and cheese or bbq-ed chicken in the middle... definitely bastardized versions!

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    Those "bastardized" versions have been around south central Texas at least since I was a little kid, and that was much longer ago than the Kolache Factory. Specifically, a favorite of mine from the Hill Country is kolache dough wrapped around a jalapeno smoked sausage, kind of like a Czech/Mexican version of an English sausage roll. In fact, I have some New Braunfels Smokehouse cheddar-jalapeno sausages in the basement freezer that I'm going to turn into sausage kolaches for the New Years Day open house, now that I think of it...

                    Tell a person from the Hill Country that those aren't "authentic" kolaches and I'm not sure their answer will exactly be full of sweetness and light.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      I'm not so sure I wouldn't mind a bastardized version if it were better quality, but the ones I've had have not been good, period.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        Those aren't authentic kolaches.

                        Kolaches don't have meat. Klobasneks/klobasnikis do.

                        And I'd happily tell "a person" from the Hill Country or anywhere else that very fact. And if "a person" wasn't full of sweetness and light, oh well, the truth hurts.

                        1. re: KM3

                          In tx thats just what we call a kolache (meat,cheese, and sometimes peppers), because frankly that's all we know. And what we grew up to love. If u want the "real deal" more power to you. But tx kolaches rock!

                    2. re: Allstonian

                      Yes, All of the coutnries surrounding the Slav cultures. From Polish, to Czech, Romania, to hungry.. all have different varieties of what they 'feel' are true kolachky.

                      The Texas bakery's revolve mainly around the Czech, either Moravian or Bohemian, and even those can vary a little. Chicago I bet has Polish and Hungarian blends. Ohio probably revolves around Hungarian since my EX-mother-in-law is Hungarian and she called my Czech family recipes knock offs. She pissed me off a lot stating that everythign was always her cultures creations. No wonder the Bohemian - Hungarian wars last so long. :)

                      New York or the Far North Eastern New England states likely have truely blended styles but I would doubt if most of the different cultures blended and I would have no clue as to which cultuures 'authentic' won out the bakers war. :)

                      Remember, bakers used what they could get their hands on. What fruits, fillings, toppings could be gathered in their local area and turned into a pastry for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Ergo.. Authentic? The bread and style of creating is the authentic. What goes in or on the sweet bread is what makes it a taste of 'home'. Are you trying to maintain a cultural heritage, or merely looking to enjoy a kolache/kolachky. Find the fillers you prefer, and you have a taste of home.

                      1. re: bjohnson71

                        Plenty of Czechs immigrated to Ohio (like mine)...and of course the Bohemians who moved to Vienna and influenced baking with their recipes and skill :-)

                        A great cookbook on pastry and the traditions of cafe culture from the Austro-Hungarian empire is Kaffeehaus by Rick Rodgers. It's worth a look for his Dalmatian four-flavor kolacky recipe, which has typical Czech fillings like apricot, prune/plum, poppy seed, and farmer's cheese.

                    3. re: Katie Nell

                      The Kolache Factory's 'faqs' describes them as being Modern varieties of the eastern european bakery techqniques.

                      They are a franchise, and thus, will never be like a true small family bakery when it comes to 'authentic', but they do create a sweet bread and fill it with a variety of ingredients. Much like our ancestors did. So whose to say that they dont follow in the footsteps of giants?

                      They are not grandma's cooking, but they are tasty when I need a quick fix. :) I cant always spend hours in my kitchen making my own treats. :)

                  2. found one in the 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking; they call it Sour Cream Roills or Kolatchen. Check the library for a newer edition?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: toodie jane

                      Hhmmm... I wonder what edition my mom has? Guess I better find out!

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        Kolatchen is a Dutch version of the Kolache/Kolachky.

                        Left over from the remnents of the Austrian Empire that spanned eastern europe and spread the culture around.

                      2. For a yeast kolachky "with a depression on top" I have used this recipe for fifty years: Liquify 1 cake yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar. Add 1 egg, 2/3 cup milk at room temp, and 1/4 tsp salt. Add 2 cups flour. Roll dough on floured boar., Divide 3/4 stick butter into 4 parts and dot dough with a quarter of the butter. Fold over like puff paste and roll. Repeat three times. Let rise in refrigerator for 2 hours to 2 days. Roll out. Cut into small circles. Lay close on cookie sheet. Make depression in center with fingers and fill with jam or any desired filling. Brush with a little egg beaten with milk or water. Let rise. Bake @ 400 10-12 minutes or until faintly golden. Dribble with powdered sugar icing. (Best to double or triple recipe.)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Querencia

                          Thank you very much... I will try them soon and report back!

                        2. katie.........i just read your request and had to reply. first of all, you will need to know what part of czechoslovzkia you are talking about. and, of course, now it is separated again. my maternal grandparents were from slovakia........bratislava area and came over on the boat around 1910. the kolaches with the thumb print are traditional from the czech or bohemian region, but from slovakia the kolaches are a raised sweet dough rolled out like a jelly roll, filled with either ground nuts(over seas it would be black walnuts) or ground poppy seeds. my grandmother was unfortunately always changing her recipe and it went with her to the grave. i do own a czechoslovak cook book isbn# 0-517-505479. my daughter has my grandmothers cookbook and it just says slovak cookbook, but i must say i haven't googled it. getting back to the rolls, they are baked, cooled and sliced crossways, then sprinkled with powdered sugar for serving. i have found a bakery in sault ste.marie,ontario called Superior Bakery that makes them ONLY at Christmas. they do take orders, but i don't know if they ship.............the problem would be customs and the time.(there is a large Croation population there). hope i was some help.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: patti

                            Patti, thanks for the information! I had forgotten I even asked this question, Christmas was overwhelming with too many family functions! I have absolutely no clue what area of Czechoslovzkia, but I'm certain that they were the thumbprint variety and not the rolled variety. I think I will just have to test out some of the recipes above and see what I can come up- perhaps on a rainy/ snowy day. Of course, my memory is so foggy that anything will probably be a good result!

                            1. re: patti

                              a correction - "czechoslovakia" does not exist and has not existed since 1993.

                              Also a clarification regarding the disctintion between 'kolace' and 'kolacky' only in so far as far as Czech cuisine is concerned.

                              Kolacky refer to small cakes (about the size of a peppermint patty) made of risen dough and topped with various sweet toppings - prune butter, tvaroh which can be best described as a farmer's cheese that is then flavored with lemon rind and raisins (my favorite), or a sweet poppyseed topping.

                              Kolace are very similar in that they are made from the same dough and use the same toppings as Kolacky - but are much larger in size - almost like the size of an individual-size pizza.

                              1. re: patti

                                tonihatch - Well, if I am not mistaken, the county fair date was changed from summer to autumn, and that is when the ZCBJ ' ers started selling their kolaches.

                                My mother died in 1973 and I know when she made kolaches she also used lard; later in her life she switched over to Crisco because my brother-in-law had trouble digesting lard.

                                I moved to Virginia Beach, VA when my husband was deployed there. Since his ship (the Enterprise) was in the Gulf of Tonkin the last 15 months of the Vietnamese war, i celebrated Christmas by getting up early and making prune kolaches for my neighbors (mostly Navy families) for brunch.