Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Kolaches. Let Me Show You Them.

I hadn't heard of kolaches before moving to Austin three years ago. In Chicago, Polish kolackys (pronounced ko-lach-keys) were popular, but are really more of a cookie than a bread.

I've really liked the kolaches I've gotten at Lone Star Kolaches on Lamar, but I wanted to try them on my own.

I searched the webs for a recipe that looked tasty, and settled on one from the Homesick Texan blog, which I modified to suit my needs.

After gathering all my ingredients, I settled into the kitchen and started my dough.

First, I fed the yeast with sugar, flour and milk. After a little rest, the dough had puffed up.

Pre-puffed and puffed dough starter

I mixed in butter and eggs, and then the flour. A lot of flour. I'm not even kidding; I used a lot of flour. The recipe called for 2 cups, but I ended up using closer to 3 after I turned out the 2-cup dough and it oozed over the side of the board I was working on. It had been raining for several days, so I think I can attribute a lot of that to the moisture in the air, and probably my flour. But I was a little surprised at just how I much I had to use.

Pre-puffed and puffed completed dough

After another rise, I started filling the dough. Going kind of traditional, I used a veggie sausage and pickled jalapenos in one type and extra-sharp Cheddar and jalapenos in another. I filled the leftover dough with cherry preserves.

After buttering and another rise, I baked them. I had to go a bit longer than the recipe suggested, baking for 20 minutes instead of 12-15.

Buttered and risen kolaches

Seeing my nicely browned kolaches come out of the oven, hot and steamy, was really satisfying. I don't bake a lot, but I really want to do it more. I think I found yeast breads kind of intimidating, but really, they're easy. There's just a lot of waiting.

1 packet dry active yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the yeast, milk, sugar and 1 cup of the flour in a large bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).

Add the eggs, butter and salt. Mix until well-combined, and add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be moist and supple, but not oozey. If you've got a good dough (it's sticking to itself more than to your hands), you can stop before the reaching the 3 3/4 cup mark.

Knead on a floured board for about 10 minutes. Put in a large, buttered bowl and cover. Let rise for an hour.

Butter a baking sheet. Punch down the dough, and begin filling: Pull off small balls of dough and pat or roll out into 3-inch discs. If filling with sausage or cheese, place in the middle of the disc and fold the sides over. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. If using fruit preserves, use your finger to make a little well in the center of the disc. Place on the baking sheet and fill the well with about a teaspoon of fruit preserves.

Brush the tops of the kolaches with melted butter. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown all over.

No comments: