Near the top of my list of reasons why I could never move away from Texas, right under “free grandparent babysitting,” is kolache.
That list also includes other things like the Texans, quick access to beautiful grapefruit from the Rio valley, homemade tortillas from any number of nearby Mexican markets, Hill Country barbecue, a nearly year-long vegetable garden season, real Tex-Mex, and picking strawberries in February.
And not having to constantly answer “Oh, wow! Are you from Dallas?” when I pronounce a word with a long i. Like riiiice. And liiiight.
A Kolache, in its more traditional form, is a soft, sweet Czech breakfast pastry topped with fruit or cream cheese. During the summer, there is almost nothing better than having a tray full of peach kolache taking up the entire top shelf of your fridge!
“Sausage kolache” have become a Texas breakfast staple and were super popular at my parents’ bakery. It’s the same soft, sweet dough wrapped around a link of sausage. Bakeries typically use breakfast link sausages in their “small” kolaches but I prefer to start my day with a “big” kolache – stuffed with a smoked sausage link (the kind you’d normally find on a grill during the summer), fresh jalapeno slices, and cheddar. The sweet dough and the smokey meat make for a delicious breakfast.
And not surprisingly, you don’t find yourself thinking about lunch until it’s almost time for dinner.
This recipe for kolache dough is the closest I’ve ever found to both what my parents used and what the little shops further west sell. Use your favorite sausage – we used a Smoked Jalapeno-Cheddar Venison sausage in our latest batch. We usually freeze half a batch in a large ziptop bag and keep the other half in the fridge. The frozen kolache can thaw overnight on the top shelf of the fridge and be ready to reheated in the microwave the next day.
Texas-style homemade sausage kolache are a savory twist on the classic Czech breakfast pastry.
- For the dough:
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
- 1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
- 2 large eggs
- 5/8 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 1/4 cups flour
- For the filling:
- Grated cheddar, optional
- Fresh jalapeno slices, optional
- Smoked sausage, cut into 3-4 inch pieces and halved lengthwise if very thick
- Sprinkle the yeast over warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let proof for 5 minutes, until foamy/creamy.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the milk, melted butter, 2 eggs, sugar, and salt until mixed thoroughly.
- Add the flour in two batches and mix only until just combined. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1-2 hours, until dough has doubled.
- Punch down and refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Divide dough into ~2.5 inch balls (I weighed mine at 2.5 oz each) and set on a lined baking sheet.
- Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Flatten each dough ball and top with a couple slices of jalapeno and pinch of grated cheddar (if using) and place the sausage on top.
- Wrap the dough around the fillings, pinching the edges together and placing seam-side down on the baking sheet.
- Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, while preheating oven to 375.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned.
- Let the kolache cool for 20 minutes and serve.
- Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.
Yields: ~15 large kolache
Estimated time: 7 hours