Following is the
Kolache recipe for my family.
How the written recipe came to be as recounted
by Patricia Rektorik
"In the spring before my wedding, I started
collecting things I
thought I would need for my kitchen. One of them was a recipe for
kolaches, of course. I asked my Grandma, Johanna (Jennie) Mrazek
Rektorik, but she did not have a written recipe. Grandma made her
kolaches without measuring anything! A few months later, she told me
she had found a recipe about like what she did in the Progressive
From the recipe in the Progressive Farmer,
I developed a "novice's
version" of the recipe for those who are just starting to make
Kolache--A Guide for the Novice by Susan
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Packages of yeast
1/2 Cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 Cups milk
1/2 Cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Egg yolks
1/2 Cup sugar
6 1/4 Cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 Sticks of melted butter
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the yeast and
dissolve in lukewarm water. Set aside to rise.
[The Betty Crocker Cookbook states that the water used to dissolve
granular yeast should be 105 to 115 degrees...Use a thermometer or
test drop on the inside of the wrist (the water should feel very warm
but not hot).]
Heat the milk in a small saucepan; add the
shortening to dissolve. Allow to cool to lukewarm; then add salt,
slightly-beaten egg yolks,
[It is only necessary to heat the milk until the shortening melts. Any
additional heating just requires more cooling time. Butter may be
substituted for the shortening. Butter not only adds a more rich flavor but
also melts at a lower temperature so it does not take as long to melt. Use a
thermometer to gauge when the milk is cool enough to add to the yeast
mixture without killing the culture. May chill in refrigerator if closely
watched and frequently stirred.]
Combine milk-egg mixture and yeast mixture. Add
flour gradually and
work dough by hand or with a mixer until glossy. Keep it a little
sticky, if at all possible.
[Use bread flour if at all possible. Bread flour creates a much more
airy result than all-purpose flour. About the first three cups of
flour can be added in the beginning. Stir with a wooden spoon until too
heavy to handle. Gather dough
together with clean, floured hands, and knead. If the dough sticks to
your hands or the surface, a little more flour is needed. Add flour by putting
a slightly thicker coat on hands and surface. Continue to knead until
the dough acquires a sheen.]
Cover, place in a warm, draft-free place, and
let rise until double
in bulk, about 45 minutes to an hour.
[You can tell if the dough has doubled by pushing two floured fingers
into the top of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. If the impressions
remain, the dough has doubled.]
After the dough has risen, punch down the
dough, and lightly knead.
Divide into egg-sized portions with a spoon and form balls. Place in
well oiled baking pans about an inch apart and butter well; half
margarine may be substituted, but some butter is essential for the
[One may also "pinch off" the large egg-sized portions from the dough
mass. It is best if the "raw" edges are kept to just one or two. Work
the portion into a ball shape by pushing the raw ends down and under.
Pinch any openings together and roll the ball between your hands to
shape and smooth.]
Let rise (about 15 minutes), then make
indentions in the dough balls
for the fruit filling. Fill each indention with a large teaspoon full
of fruit filling.
[Use your thumb and forefinger to spread the dough and make a deep,
round hole. The indention must be firm and deep or the filling
will "pop out" while rising or when in the oven.]
Butter each kolache well. Over the fruit
filling, generously sprinkle
Place pans of kolache in a warm, draft free
place, and allow to
double in bulk again, about 45 minutes to one hour.
Place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake
until golden brown.
[Some recipes say that the kolaches will brown in 20 to 40 minutes.
Browning time can vary by the type of pan used. It is best to avoid
dark pans. Check the bottoms of the kolaches to ensure they do not
Remove the kolaches from the oven and slather
with melted butter.
Cool slightly, remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Recipe makes
3 to 4 dozen.
Linda Conrad's Prune Filling
1 large package of dried prunes (the pitted ones cost more but are
easier to use.)
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon vanilla
3/4 Cup sugar
Cover the prunes with water in a medium-sized
saucepan and simmer
until tender. Drain the liquid. Mash the prunes until smooth if the
pitted type is used. If using prunes with the pits still in them,
remove the pits with your fingers. then add the cinnamon, vanilla,
and sugar. This recipe makes enough filling for one batch of
kolaches, 3 to 4 dozen.
Other Fruit Fillings
A variety of fruit fillings can be used for one
batch of kolaches.
Common fruit used are apple, apricot, peach, and prune. The following
recipe works well for most fruits...if using dried fruit.
1 1/2 Cup of dried fruit
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon vanilla
Note: Some cooks prefer to use almond extract
instead of vanilla
extract. It is all a matter of taste.
Place the dried fruit in a medium saucepan and
cover with water until
the fruit is covered by about an inch of water...about 2 inches if
using dried apples. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook
until tender (about 35 - 45 minutes or until the fruit falls away
freely when skewered and raised on a dinner folk.
Remove the pits, if present. Mash the fruit
until smooth. Add the
cinnamon and vanilla. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and taste. More sugar may
be added, if desired.
Virginia Atkinson's Cottage Cheese Filling
1 (24 ounce) container cottage cheese,
drained 1 Cup
1/2 Teaspoon Almond
3 egg yolks
all ingredients together well.
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
Combine all ingredients until the mixture
resembles a course meal. A
fork and then fingers are useful in breaking up clumps.
Original recipe: Kolace.
Progressive Farmer, December 1963.
Remember that this a forgiving dough. It is
easy to work and
The scents and texture are glorious to me.
Have fun baking!
Susan Rektorik Henley