It’s my husband’s birthday, and these sausage, cheddar, and jalapeño kolaches (that’s pronounced koh-lah-chee, for the uninitiated) were just the taste of home he needed to celebrate turning another year older and wiser. He’s from Katy, Texas, which has been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey and the continuing floods. If you feel moved to help, check out this helpful article from the NYTimes: Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams).
I felt like I was shooting in the dark a bit on this one because I really wanted to make something authentic in taste, but have never actually tried a kolache myself. To my vast relief, John said they were right on the money. Big thanks for that goes to Wide Open Eats for the recipe. I was alerted to them by my (also Texan) uncle, who sent me their recipe for sour cherry kolaches – the sausage version was linked at the bottom, and the rest is history.
I also experimented with making little cherry kolaches, which were less of a resounding success because it was really hard to seal the bottoms and so most of my filling seeped out during the baking. Still tasty, but the bread to filling ratio was off. Despite having literally looked at a cherry kolache recipe this morning, I realized only after the fact (and my husband laughing at me) that fruit kolaches have the filling on top, not inside, so I assume their original Czech/Polish inventors had the same problem I did and decided to just say screw it and dollop some jam on top of dough. For those I just used a little cherry jam inside instead of the sausage filling below, but if you want to do it right check out the linked recipe above.
Yield: 12 kolaches
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 4 tbs butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 cups flour (you’ll likely need even more)
- 12 beef “little smokies” sausages
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup jalapeño slices
- In the bowl of your standing mixer (or whichever bowl you plan on mixing everything in), combine the yeast and water. Let it rest to proof for about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and salt until it’s all evenly combined.
- Add 2 cups of flour and mix until blended. Add 2 more cups and mix until blended. Add the remaining 3/4 cup and continue mixing. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, continue adding flour about 2 tbs at a time until the right consistency is reached. I ended up adding probably about 2 extra cups of flour in to get it dry enough that I could touch it without it clinging to my fingers, and as you can tell from the below, even then it didn’t stop sticking to the side of the bowl.
- Lightly grease the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, about 90 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough roll it out to an even thickness. The thinner you roll it, the more kolaches you’ll be able to make, but if you like them doughy leave it on the thicker side. Cut the dough into squares about 5×5 inches.
- Sprinkle 1 tbs cheese in the middle of each square. Layer on a few jalapeño slices, then lay on the sausage. Wrap the sausage in the dough, pinching to seal.
- Transfer the kolache to the baking sheet, placing it seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the dough, then let rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 425 F.
- Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
- Let cool about 20 minutes before serving. Believe me, it’s worth waiting until the cheesy molten core is no longer the temperature of lava before biting in. Enjoy!
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