Before my husband and I pioneered up to the Pacific Northwest we had spent the better part of a decade in Houston. While there are some things I will not miss, such as the humidity, heat, and flying cockroaches, there is something that I miss dearly from the bottom of my heart. That’s right, kolaches.
What is a kolache, you say? This is a Texas modified version of a Czech pastry – it is sausage and cheese wrapped in a soft, pillowy dough. Pigs-in-a-blanket? No! While I can see why you may think so, kolaches are in another league entirely. Little secret? You use donut dough, just without the vanilla.
I need these kolaches in my life, and so do you. Let’s cut the small talk and get baking!
Ingredients you will need:
- 3 cups Bread Flour
- 1 cup whole milk, between 110-115F
- 3 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast (or 4 envelopes)
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- 3 Large Egg Yolks
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
- Cheese Slices (like Kraft cheese)
- Breakfast sausage, or hot dogs, or ham, or lunch meat. Almost anything!
- additional flour for work surface, and additional egg for egg wash
You will want to have your milk in a glass measuring cup, or in a medium bowl. Add the 1/2 stick of butter to it and microwave for 1 minute, taking out to whisk together. You may need to microwave it another 10 to 20 seconds, but what you’re aiming for is 110-115 degrees fahrenheit. It should be warm but not hot. I recommend a thermometer to be exactly sure.
Once your milk is at the correct temperature, add your sugar and yeast. Mix to combine and let it sit for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add your flour, salt, and egg yolks. Once your yeast and milk mixture becomes foamy and you confirm your yeast is active, add to the other ingredients and mix on low speed for 6 to 7 minutes.
At first you will think you have way too much liquid, then you will think you don’t have enough. After a few minutes it will start looking better. At the end of 6 minutes you should have a dough that is tacky but not sticky, and that partially comes off of the sides of the bowl. If your dough is super sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you feel it’s at the right consistency.
If you have one, use a dough scraper and scrape your dough out into a large, lightly oiled bowl. If you don’t have a scraper, a rubber spatula may help. Roll your dough around in the oil until it’s greased on all sides (you only need a couple teaspoons of a flavorless oil). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, but up to 12.
“But will it rise in the fridge?” You may be wondering to yourself. Yes, I assure you that if your yeast was active that your dough should be exploding out of your bowl by an hour’s time.
Flour your work surface and begin to roll your dough out to around 1/4 inch thick, or to about a 20″ x 15″ square. Or, whatever shape you want. Honestly? It matters very little as long as you roll it all out to the same thickness and it isn’t thin enough to tear.
Divide your dough into however many pieces as you have sausage. I cut my dough into 10 pieces because I may or may not have eaten two of my sausages already… *cough*cough*
I broke the cheese slices in half and laid a sausage on top. You can use more cheese if you wish, I just like to avoid the possible cheese-spilling-out-age that I always seem to have a knack for.
Wrap your pieces by drawing the opposite ends in and pinching down, then folding the other two sides over and making a seam. Or, however you manage to roll them up best. Honestly, once they rise and bake, your wrapping technique probably won’t be noticeable.
Lay your kolaches down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 375.
Cover with a lint free towel and let the dough proof for about 30 minutes. I like to put my baking sheet on top of the stove while the oven preheats so it gets some warmth – especially in the fall and winter.
Mix together your egg and a tablespoon or so of milk or water to make an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of your kolaches.
After 30 to 45 minutes, place your baking sheet (sans the towel cloth) into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and beautiful.
Move to a wire cooling rack and let cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Once cooled, just serve and enjoy! Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.