Happy September! Hope you are doing well considering how 2020 is shaping up to be thus far! Hang in there! 😉
I made these three times. I wasn’t planning to, but somehow “third time’s the charm” always seems to apply whenever I’m trying out a new recipe. This utility pole with a “3” sign on it is on the way to where I’ve been foraging fruit in Seattle for the last few weeks. It’s also where I’ve picked rosehip and my new favorite fruit, Italian plums! There are still plenty of blackberries to pick, probably for the next few weeks.
I suppose that since I only used half and quarter recipes at different times, I still only made the total number of kolaches I would’ve made if I used the full recipe at one time. Doing smaller batches of one recipe at different times allows me to tweak and adjust the recipe to my liking. Being that it is a yeast dough, I needed to keep it mostly all-purpose flour, but I wanted to sub in some cake flour. I wanted them to not be as dense and bread-like, and so subbing in some cake flour to the all-purpose flour seemed to do the trick. I believe that’s close to what pastry flour would be, anyway. I also put slightly less sugar in all components–the jam, the cream cheese filling, as well as the dough itself. The first two times I made it, the indentations were not as deep, and so the filling spilled out and while they still tasted good, I really like that I was able to put more jam and cream cheese filling into them the third time.
Obviously Kolaches are not things I grew up with, but I’ve seen them a lot on the internet lately, and I knew I’d eventually make them. They are like softer, smaller and lighter bagels but the dough is enriched with milk, butter, sugar, and egg yolks, (sort of like dough for cinnamon rolls) plus with an indentation in the middle instead of a hole.
A sweet filling goes into the indentation, but if it’s a savory meat filling, it’s called a klobasnek, or klobasniky (plural). They originate from Central Europe (Czech) and have made their way all over the World. They are especially popular in Texas, where Czech settlers made their way starting in the 1800s. For some reason in Texas, the terms klobasnek and klobasniky are not commonly used and instead people use the term kolaches interchangabley for both kolaches and klobasniky. You can also spell the word kolache in 3 different ways: kolach/kolache/kolace. Are you confused yet?
There may be questions about how best to spell, pronounce and to use the terms, but one thing there is no question about is that they are delicious–and addictive! You can use almost any fruit jam you want. You can skip the cheese filling, or use ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese. I’ve also seen some recipes that include a streusel topping on top of the jam and cheese! Overall, they kind of remind me a donuts, but may be just a tad healthier because they aren’t deep fried.
blackberry cream cheese kolaches (makes 12 kolaches, adapted from this recipe from Taste of Home)
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup whole milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons butter, softened, each tablespoon cut into four
-about a cup of your favorite jam (I halved this recipe for the blackberry jam)
–for the cream cheese filling: 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
-fresh blackberries for topping each kolache after baking
In a medium to large bowl, add the milk and a teaspoon of sugar (from the 3 Tablespoons sugar) and stir to dissolve it. Milk should be about 110 degrees F. Add the active dry yeast and stir gently to the sugared milk and wait ten minutes until frothy and bubbly.
Combine the cake flour and all purpose flour into another bowl and add the salt and the remaining sugar to the flours and stir with a whisk several times.
When the yeast/milk mixture is frothy, add one cup of the flour mixture to it and and also the 2 egg yolks and the softened butter. Stir together until all the ingredients are moistened and the mixture is smooth. Add the rest of the flour mixture and stir more until a dough starts to form.
Scrape all the contents on a lightly floured clean surface or counter and knead about 4 minutes or so. Resist the urge to add more flour, but if you must, just add as little as you can to make the dough less sticky. You don’t knead to need it too much, but kneading helps make it less sticky. If you knead it too much the dough might get a little bit dense and chewy.
After kneading, shape into a ball and place into a well-oiled bowl, turning the ball of dough once to coat the entire surface with oil, then cover the bowl and leave it undisturbed in a warm place of your kitchen without a draft for about an hour.
While dough is rising, make the jams and fillings, if needed. To make the cream cheese filling, simply beat all ingredients or stir with a whisk until smooth. Set aside.
After an hour of rise, the dough should be doubled in size. Go ahead and punch the dough down and divide into 12 equal parts. I used a scale to do this because I wanted them to be all equal in size, but if that isn’t a priority, just divide them equally as best you can. Roll each dough into a ball.
Place each ball of dough on a greased baking sheet, or one that is lined with parchment paper. I used two small baking sheets, holding 6 kolache balls per sheet, because I didn’t want to crowd them into one baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap loosely, and leave undisturbed for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm or cold your dwelling is. You want the dough to be larger and when you poke it with your finger, it springs back but slowly, not rapidly.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
When dough has sufficiently risen a second time, use a small round clean measuring cup or a bottle that is about 2″ in diameter at the base. Grease the cup or bottle liberally with vegetable oil so that it doesn’t stick to the dough and use it to press down hard on the centers of each ball of dough until a very deep indentation is made. After doing it once, I pressed them all down again to make sure that there was adequate room for the fillings. The dough on the bottoms where the indentations were made were very thin.
Brush the outer edges around each indentation of each kolache with egg white. I just used a clean finger to do this.
Add a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese and spread it with a small spoon or butter knife so that there is a small space in the center of each for the jam. Add about a teaspoon of jam to each center.
Bake in the oven for about 22-25 minutes until the sides are golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees. F. If using two baking sheets, rotate at middle of baking time to ensure even baking.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly on wire rack. Top each kolache with additional blackberries on top of the jam if desired. you can also freeze them if wrapped well in plastic or in an airtight container. Reheat slowly in oven wrapped in foil for 25 minutes or about 20-30 seconds in microwave.
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