Kolaches for all

If you’re from the Czech Republic or a neighboring country, or your family is, or your friends are, you probably know what kolaches are. But I’m not, they aren’t, and I didn’t. At least, not until we drove to Austin, Texas, last spring. I wondered what all those signs were for along I-35, south of Dallas, so I looked the word up when I got back home. One happy morning not long after, I stumbled across Barb’s Kolache Bakery in west Shawnee. I was even happier to write about Barbara Vratanina and kolaches for today’s Kansas City Star, and happiest that the piece includes insight from veteran kolache-bakers Hana Buric, Jirina LaVine and Teresa Dumsky. Like Vratanina, they grew up with kolaches and continue to make them, sometimes on an industrial scale to sell at the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival in June. The recipe I included with the article came from Cooking With Texas Highways and makes a doable two dozen. The recipes these fascinating women shared with me turn out many more dozens than that. It’s no wonder; kolaches are so tasty they disappear fast. So, here’s Hana Buric’s version for six dozen kolaches, just as she emailed it to me.

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1-1/4 cups of butter, divided
2 cups of milk
2 whole eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
6-7 cups of four

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let set until bubbly. Melt butter. Combine 1 cup butter and milk; heat until warm. Beat eggs and yolks, add sugar and beat until thickened. Add milk and butter mixture to the eggs, then add yeast mixture, salt and lemon rind. Beat in 1 cup of flour at a time. When dough becomes too thick to beat with a wooden spoon, turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth and silky. You can use your mixer to do all this. Put dough into a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Turn dough out on floured board, divide into 6 large pieces. Cut each into 12 smaller pieces. Form into walnut size balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Let rise again until doubled in size. Press down center and fill with filling of choice (can be cream cheese, cherry, poppy seeds, prune). Let rise again until light. Bake at 400F for 7-10 minutes. Brush with melted butter after removing from the oven. Happy Baking From Hana.

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~ by fooddrinklife on July 21, 2010.

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