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Jul 16, 2023

Czech Kolaches

Kolaches are a pastry brought to the American Midwest by Czech immigrants during the mid and late nineteenth century and made popular throughout the region, especially in Texas. 

Czech Kolaches on a quarter sheet pan.

This version is comprised of an enriched brioche-like yeasted dough filled with a lemon-scented cream cheese and ricotta filling. 

You can also fill these kolaches with a fruit or poppyseed filling. For the fruit filling, just cook some fresh or frozen fruit, sugar, and cornstarch until you have a thickened filling. For a poppyseed filling, cook poppyseeds with sugar, milk, salt, and flour until thickened. 

You can also layer the cheese filling with some fruit filling before baking for a delicious treat. 

Czech Kolaches on three small plates.

Kolache (pronounced koh-lah-chee) actually have their own festival in Caldwell, Texas in September every year, where thousands of the pastry are sold by an amazing number of vendors. 

In fact, several towns in the midwest claim to be the "kolache capital of the world," but the "Texas Czech Belt" is best known outside of the Midwest for their kolache bakeries. 

Czech Kolaches on a cooling rack.

By the way, in Czechoslovakia, the singular is kolach (or kolāč), and the plural is kolache. Once the pastries became popular in the U.S., the plural term kolaches was adopted by many. Feel free to use either term. I've kind of been using both, so the grammar police might show up at my door. 

How to Make these Kolache:

First, make the dough by combining flour, instant yeast, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. 

Next, whisk together melted butter, milk, sugar, and eggs and add the mixture to the flour and mix until everything comes together. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and stick to the bottom. This should take about ten minutes. 

I added an additional tablespoon of flour to the dough and probably could have added one more, but I didn't want to add too much. 

You can let the dough rise at room temperature at this point or refrigerate the dough overnight, which is what I did. For one thing, the colder dough is easier to shape. 

Czech Kolaches shaped by being pressed with a measuring cup.

When you are ready to shape the kolaches, divide the dough into eight pieces and form each into a ball. Cover them and let them rise for about 90 to 120 minutes. Smash the centers of the dough balls down with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to create the cavity for filling. 

Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese or fruit filling into the center, brush the outside with some egg wash, and sprinkle the prepared kolache with a streusel (posypka). 

Czech Kolaches before baking.

The filling is a mixture of cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar, flour, and ricotta. 

The streusel (posypka or drobenka) is just flour, sugar, and butter. You can use unsalted or salted butter. I used salted butter because I love how salt brings out the flavor of ingredients. Just make sure the butter is chilled. 

In fact, I recommend chilling the streusel after mixing to make it easier to sprinkle. 

Czech Kolaches stacked on a plate.

Equipment You May Need:

For creating the indentation in the dough, I used the 1/3 cup piece of the Amco stainless steel measuring cups. I love these measuring cups for their accuracy, and the 1/3 cup just happens to have the right dimension on the bottom (2 1/4 inch diameter). You can also substitute a drinking glass. 

You will also need a stand mixer for the dough. Hand kneading is a bit much for this extra buttery dough. I love my KitchenAid

Another tool that was super helpful was a mini food processor. Yes, you will have to wash it, but it worked great for mixing the streusel. 


These kolaches are delicious warm from the oven and are best the day they are made. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for a few minutes. 

If you make a fruit-filled version, you can store them at room temperature for about three days. 

Czech Kolache cut in half on a small plate.

These pastries are amazingly light and fluffy, especially for such an enriched dough. They aren't too sweet either. 

Serve these for breakfast, dessert, or as an afternoon snack. 

The Bread Baking Babes are baking Kolaches this month. Our host is Judy of Judy's Gross Eats, who provided the recipe. Be sure to visit her site to learn more about her sources. 

After the recipe, be sure to check out the posts from the participating BBBabes. 

Czech Kolaches on a plate.

Czech Kolaches

Czech Kolaches
Yield: 8 pastries
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 8 HourTotal time: 9 H & 25 M
Kolaches are a pastry brought to the American Midwest by Czech immigrants during the mid and late nineteenth century and made popular throughout the region, especially in Texas.


For the Dough
  • 250 grams (8 3/4 ounces / 1 3/4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) milk
  • 72 grams (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 33 grams (1 1/6 ounces / 1/6 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 large whisked egg (25 grams) plus one egg yolk, room temperature. Save the other half of the egg for the egg wash
For the Filling
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) ricotta cheese
For the Streusel
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon very cold butter, cut into small pieces
For the Egg Wash
  • 1/2 whisked egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water


To Make the Dough
  1. Whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. In a two cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, melted butter, sugar, and the eggs. With the mixer, fitted with the dough hook, on low, slowly add the milk mixture and mix for about a minute.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium low (speed 4) and mix for ten minutes, until you have a smooth dough that clears the sides of the bowl and clings to the bottom. I added one additional tablespoon of flour.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough by hand for a minute or two and form it into a ball. Place the ball into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 8 to 16 hours. Remove the dough from the refrigerator one hour prior to assembling the kolaches.
To Make the Filling
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and lemon zest until smooth.
  2. Beat in the ricotta and mix until just combined.
  3. Chill until ready to use.
To Make the Streusel
  1. Combine the flour and sugar. Add the butter pieces and work them into the flour mixture with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Assemble and Bake the Kolaches
  1. Degas the dough and divide it into 8 equal sized pieces (about 2 1/4 ounces each). Form each into a ball and place them, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they have increased in size by half.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Press down on the center of each ball with an oiled and floured straight-sided drinking glass or measuring cup that is 2 1/4 inch diameter across the bottom. Press all the way down to the baking sheet.
  4. Fill each cavity with a heaping tablespoon of the filling and smooth it with the back of a spoon or offset spatula.
  5. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the streusel.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
  7. Leftovers can be kept covered in the refrigerature for up to a week. Reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

15 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

9 g

Carbs (grams)

36 g

Fiber (grams)

1 g

Net carbs

34 g

Sugar (grams)

10 g

Protein (grams)

7 g

Cholesterol (grams)

61 mg
kolache, pastry,
Did you make this recipe?
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The other Bread Baking Babes' versions:

A Messy Kitchen

Judy's Gross Eats

Bread Experience

Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow! Perfection. I love that you can see the little bits of zest in the filling. I do think the cheese filling is my favorite.

    1. Our homegrown lemons are a brighter and darker color, which is great for spying the zest!

  2. Your Kolaches are just gorgeous! I love the side shot with all that delicious cream showing. Yum!

    1. Thanks! As a bread baker, you know we need a crumb shot, lol.

  3. Hello Karen! These are gorgeous and I am printing the recipe to make once this super hot wave is gone! Love the way they look and also the options to fill them! Thank you so much and I wish you have a great day!

  4. Yum! I would love to make my own kalaches. I have had one in Texas and it was delicious. I don't know of anywhere local that makes them, but I think they are pretty popular in nearby states.

    1. If I'm ever back in Texas, I'm going to have to try one of the bakeries!

  5. Absolutely jaw dropping gorgeousness!

  6. Whoa! These look perfect!

    Many thanks for all the photos showing what you did. I would not have thought to use a measuring cup to make the indentation. (Even though, I bet the instructions say to do that. But, really, am I supposed to read the instructions carefully? ;-))

    I will be making these soon... better late than never.

    1. Actually, the instructions don't include the measuring cup =) You haven't missed anything, lol.

  7. Ha! By the time I actually made the kolache, the instructions were included in Judy's recipe.
    "Grease and flour bottom of a round 1/3-cup dry measuring cup. Press the cup firmly into the center of each dough round until the cup touches the sheet to make indentation for filling."

    But. Did I follow the "grease and flour bottom" of the measuring cup? Ha. As if. That's really asking too much of my read and retain powers (or lack thereof).

    1. That's funny! A glass works well too btw.


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