A Recipe for Kolache

Following is the Kolache recipe for my family. How the written recipe came to be as recounted by Patricia Rektorik
Sprinkle: "In the spring before my wedding, I started collecting things I thought I would need for my kitchen. One of them was a recipe for kolaches, of course. I asked my Grandma, Johanna (Jennie) Mrazek Rektorik, but she did not have a written recipe. Grandma made her kolaches without measuring anything! A few months later, she told me she had found a recipe about like what she did in the Progressive Farmer Magazine.

From the recipe in the Progressive Farmer, I developed a "novice's
version" of the recipe for those who are just starting to make kolaches.

Kolache--A Guide for the Novice by Susan Rektorik Henley
1 Tablespoon sugar 2 Packages of yeast 1/2 Cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees) 2 Cups milk 1/2 Cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening 2 Teaspoons salt 2 Egg yolks 1/2 Cup sugar 6 1/4 Cups flour, sifted 1 1/2 Sticks of melted butter

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the yeast and dissolve in lukewarm
water. Set aside to rise.

[The Betty Crocker Cookbook states that the water used to dissolve granular yeast should be 105 to 115 degrees...Use a thermometer or test drop on the inside of the wrist (the water should feel very warm but not hot).]

Heat the milk in a small saucepan; add the shortening to dissolve. Allow
to cool to lukewarm; then add salt, slightly-beaten egg yolks, and sugar.

[It is only necessary to heat the milk until the shortening melts. Any additional heating just requires more cooling time. Butter may be substituted for the shortening. Butter not only adds a more rich flavor but also melts at a lower temperature so it does not take as long to melt. Use a thermometer to gauge when the milk is cool enough to add to the yeast mixture without killing the culture. May chill in refrigerator if closely watched and frequently stirred.]

Combine milk-egg mixture and yeast mixture. Add flour gradually and

work dough by hand or with a mixer until glossy. Keep it a little sticky, if at all possible. [Use bread flour if at all possible. Bread flour creates a much more airy result than all-purpose flour. About the first three cups of flour can be added in the beginning. Stir with a wooden spoon until too heavy to handle. Gather dough together with clean, floured hands, and knead. If the dough sticks to your hands or the surface, a little more flour is needed. Add flour by putting a slightly thicker coat on hands and surface. Continue to knead until the dough acquires a sheen.]

Cover, place in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until double
in bulk, about 45 minutes to an hour. [You can tell if the dough has doubled by pushing two floured fingers into the top of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. If the impressions remain, the dough has doubled.]

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough, and lightly knead.
Divide into egg-sized portions with a spoon and form balls. Place in well oiled baking pans about an inch apart and butter well; half margarine may be substituted, but some butter is essential for the flavor.

[One may also "pinch off" the large egg-sized portions from the dough

mass. It is best if the "raw" edges are kept to just one or two. Work the portion into a ball shape by pushing the raw ends down and under. Pinch any openings together and roll the ball between your hands to shape and smooth.]

Let rise (about 15 minutes), then make indentions in the dough balls
for the fruit filling. Fill each indention with a large teaspoon full of fruit filling.

[Use your thumb and forefinger to spread the dough and make a deep, round hole. The indention must be firm and deep or the filling will "pop out" while rising or when in the oven.]

Butter each kolache well. Over the fruit filling, generously sprinkle
the Popsika.

Place pans of kolache in a warm, draft free place, and allow to
double in bulk again, about 45 minutes to one hour.

Place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake until golden brown.
[Some recipes say that the kolaches will brown in 20 to 40 minutes. Browning time can vary by the type of pan used. It is best to avoid dark pans. Check the bottoms of the kolaches to ensure they do not burn.]

Remove the kolaches from the oven and slather with melted butter.

Cool slightly, remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Recipe makes 3 to 4 dozen. Fruit Fillings Linda Conrad's Prune Filling 1 large package of dried prunes (the pitted ones cost more but are easier to use.) 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 1 Teaspoon vanilla 3/4 Cup sugar

Cover the prunes with water in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer
until tender. Drain the liquid. Mash the prunes until smooth if the pitted type is used. If using prunes with the pits still in them, remove the pits with your fingers. then add the cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. This recipe makes enough filling for one batch of

kolaches, 3 to 4 dozen. Other Fruit Fillings

A variety of fruit fillings can be used for one batch of kolaches.

Common fruit used are apple, apricot, peach, and prune. The following recipe works well for most fruits...if using dried fruit. 1 1/2 Cup of dried fruit 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Sugar 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 1 Teaspoon vanilla

Note: Some cooks prefer to use almond extract instead of vanilla
extract. It is all a matter of taste.

Place the dried fruit in a medium saucepan and cover with water until
the fruit is covered by about an inch of water...about 2 inches if using dried apples. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 35 - 45 minutes or until the fruit falls away freely when skewered and raised on a dinner folk.

Remove the pits, if present. Mash the fruit until smooth. Add the

cinnamon and vanilla. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and taste. More sugar may be added, if desired. Virginia Atkinson's Cottage Cheese Filling 1 (24 ounce) container cottage cheese, drained sugar 1 Teaspoon vanilla Teaspoon Almond Extract 1 Cup 1/2 3 egg yolks

Mix all ingredients together well. Popsika
1/2 Cup Sugar 1/4 Cup flour 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 2 Tablespoons of melted butter

Combine all ingredients until the mixture resembles a course meal. A
fork and then fingers are useful in breaking up clumps.

Original recipe: Kolace. Progressive Farmer, December 1963. Remember that this a forgiving dough. It is easy to work and

The scents and texture are glorious to me.
Have fun baking! Susan Rektorik Henley

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