Poppy Seed Kolache Recipe
By Lori Hadacek Chaplin with Ella Hadacek
My mom, Sharon Hadacek, left a legacy of wonderful recipes. One of those recipes is Czech Poppy Seed Kolache. She left behind more than one version of the kolache recipe because she was the kind of baker who was always trying to perfect her recipes.
This one was created with her Granddaughter, Ella Hadacek, my eldest child. Because Ella is allergic to milk, my mom adapted her typical kolache recipe to include potato water rather than her usual raw milk.
This recipe makes a soft and delicious kolache, but like any bread recipe it can be tricky. My mom always said the more sticky you can keep the dough, the more tender the kolache will be. You have to be able to work with the dough, but at the same time not add too much flour or over-knead the dough. This recipe takes a little practice, but it is well-worth the effort. Happy Baking!
-1 cup of potato water (the water potatoes have been boiled in)
-1 1/2 cups of water
-2 Tablespoons of yeast
-1/4 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup of olive oil, plus extra oil for top of bread
-1 teaspoons of salt
-approximately 6 1/2 cups of flour
-one can of Solo Poppy Seed Pastry Filling
Place potato water in large bowl. Heat water on stove until almost boiling. Add to vegetable water; the mixture should be warm but not too hot. It has to be warm enough to activate the yeast but not hot enough to kill it. Add yeast and sugar. Whisk until combined and wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to fluff up.
Whisk in eggs, salt, and olive oil. Gradually add flour. Mix with a whisk until it is too thick to whisk and then mix with a wooden spoon. When it reaches a point where you can no longer use the spoon add flour with hands. When it is thick enough to handle, place it on the counter-top and add small amounts of flour while gently kneading. Knead until the dough forms a ball, but is still sticky.
Place the dough back into the bowl and oil the top with olive oil to prevent crustiness. Let rise until the dough doubles and then punch down and allow it to double again.
Roll out a large hunk of dough in a rectangle until about ¼ thick. Slice 2-inch by 2-inch squares of dough with a pizza cutter. Place approximately a heaping teaspoon of filling into the middle of each square. Stretch opposite sides and press firmly together; repeat for the other two. Let rise until double and bake at 375 degrees until lightly golden.
Butter the top of the kolache as soon as you take them out of the oven. This step will make them soft and shouldn't be skipped.
*Do not use a plastic bowl and use a large, shallow bowl. If the bowl is tall, then the bread cannot rise enough and will be dense.
*Place the slightly warm kolache in plastic freezer bags and seal when they have fully cooled. This will help keep them tender because kolache dries out quickly. If the warm kolache causes condensation in the plastic bag, then gently wipe the inside of the bag with a paper towel. Some condensation won't matter, so don't sweat it.
*Immediately freeze the kolache you are not eating that day to maintain freshness. They will thaw out quickly and taste like you just made them.