A famous Czech pastry with a Texan twist. These sweet and savory kolaches are soft and super tasty and so worth the time you spend to make them from scratch.
I came by these amazing savory cream cheese kolaches while living in Austin. And of course I was very surprised they were not originated from Texas.
These kolaches are from Czech and usually filled with fruit such as apricot, prune and poppy seed. They were brought to Texas by a Czech immigrants and their flavors started to evolve from then.
From pineapple, blueberry, strawberry to cream cheese, you can easily find these flavors in any kolaches store. While traditional kolaches have sweet flavor profile, their evolved forms nowadays are usually made from savory ingredients. Those include but not limited to sausages, cheese, and jalapeno.
With this detailed guide of how to make these kolaches from scratch, you’ll no longer need to Google ‘kolaches store near me’ or ‘where to buy kolaches’ anymore. Because trust me, nothing is better and can compared to homemade bake goods.
How to make these savory cream cheese kolaches?
Though this is quite a lengthy process, but it is so worth your time. Not only because of the wonderful final products, but also because of the improvement in your baking skills.
Here is the breakdown of how-to make these kolaches:
- Mixing, kneading the dough for first proof
- Shaping the dough for second proof
- Making the cream cheese filling
- Making the streusel
Mixing & kneading the dough
These kolaches are made from enriched dough which contains a large amount of fat (unsalted butter), whole milk, eggs, sugar, instant yeast, salt, and all-purpose flour.
The dough first is mixed and kneaded using a stand mixer (I’ve had my artisan Kitchen Aid stand mixer for years and been loving it since then). Then it is transferred to a lightly floured surface and knead by hands for few more minutes.
This dough is softer and more wet compared to other dough (such as these raisin cinnamon bread dough, butter Parker house rolls). However, in my experience you will only need a minimum amount of extra flour to work with it. Or even none.
Just like other leavening doughs (honey dinner rolls, fluffy condensed milk bread), these kolaches need time to rest and rise during the proofing process. Since the dough has a lot of fat, it takes quite a lot of time for the dough to increase at least by half, or better yet double in size.
All you need to do is to be patient and let the dough works it magic. And don’t rush the process.
After the first proof, it is then shape into multiple small round balls for a second rise.
How to shape the dough into smooth, round balls?
- First, you need to stretch the dough into an even log and divide into equal pieces. For these kolaches, I recommend each piece of dough should be around 2.3 to 2.5 oz.
- Second, you want to work with one piece dough at a time while covering the rest with plastic wrap or a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
- Using your fingers to stretch the dough and pinch the edges together at the bottom of the dough to make the top become smooth.
- Third, place the ball seam side down and use your hand to drag the dough in small circles until it is completely round and smooth.
- The key to accomplish such smooth round ball of dough is not to flour your counter during this process.
- You want the dough to stick to the counter to create enough friction between it and the surface
Making savory cream cheese kolaches filling
The filling includes: cream cheese, sugar, all purpose flour and milk. There are two ways of making this filling.
- Mixing it by using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
- Or you can combine all ingredients in a small pot, whisk and mix them up using stove top.
I found the second method is more approachable and easier to accomplish such smooth and not lumpy cream cheese filling.
To fill the filling onto each kolache flawlessly, you don’t need anything fancy at all but your measuring cup and a spoon.
Gently grease the bottom of a measuring cup with spray cooking oil or flour. Then press it firmly into the center of each round dough until the cup almost touches the bottom.
Then using a spoon to divide equal amount of cream cheese filling on to each dough. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon if necessary.
Streusel is a crumbly topping make from flour, sugar, and butter. Sometimes extra spices are also added in the mixture like cinnamon or nutmeg.
The streusel in this kolaches recipe is made by rubbing all ingredients using dry, clean fingers to form them into a wet-sand like mixture.
In order to make streusel stick to the dough surface, you’ll need to gently brush it with egg wash mixture before sprinkle streusel on top. And try not to sprinkle over the cream cheese filling if possible.
Essential ingredients in this savory cream cheese kolaches recipe
All purpose flour – I’m using King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour for all of my bread-type bake goods. I tried a lot of different flour brands, but only King Arthur flour brought me the most satisfying results.
Yeast – I use instant rise yeast from SAF gold instant yeast. It is the world’s top selling instant yeast. They also have the red version of instant yeast. You can read more about the difference between SAF red instant yeast and SAF gold instant yeast; and how to store yeast HERE.
Unsalted butter – Always opt for unsalted butter when you are cooking or baking. Doing so helps you control the amount of salt in your baked goods easier.
Salt – I always use Kosher salt for every single recipe on this blog and this savory cream cheese kolaches recipe is not excluded.
Savory Cream Cheese Kolaches
For the dough
- 3 ⅓ c unbleached AP flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast prefer SAF gold instant yeast, see Notes.
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 c whole milk room temperature
- 5 oz unsalted butter melted, room temperature
- ⅓ c sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
For cream cheese filling
- 7.5 oz cream cheese
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 c whole milk
- 6 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 0.5 oz unsalted butter chilled, cut into small cubes
- arugula as needed
- basil leaves as needed
- cherry tomatoes
For cream cheese filling
- In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredient over medium heat. Whisk until cream cheese completely melted and everything incorporated.
- The cream cheese mixture should be smooth and lumpy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and use your fingers to rub everything together until the mixture comes together like wet sand. Set aside for later use.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk all wet ingredients together. Make sure melted butter is warm or at room temperature. If you whisk hot butter into egg and milk mixture, they will solidify. If so, discard the mixture and start over
- On slow speed, gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until the dough starts to come together, approximately 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl if necessary.
- Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pull away from the mixing dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands.
- Use your fingertips and gently lift and fold edge of the dough that's farthest away from you toward the middle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold again.
- Repeat the process of turning and folding the dough until the it forms a smooth round ball, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
- Turn the dough seam side down in a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover tightly and let it proof until the size increases at least almost by half, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Press down the dough and deflate. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (approximately about 2.3 to 2.5 oz each).
- Work with 1 piece of dough at a time. Cover the rest with plastic wrap or a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
- Stretch the dough by using your fingers and pinch the edges together at the bottom to form a smooth dough.
- Place the dough seam side down on clean, dry surface (no extra flour should be added at this point – see notes).
- Use your hand to drag the dough in small circles until it is completely round and smooth.
- Place the smooth dough seam side down on a baking pan lined with parchment paper at least 1 inch apart from each other.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise until increase by half, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Pre heat oven to 350F.
- Gently grease the bottom of a measuring cup with spray cooking oil or flour. Then press it firmly into the center of each round dough until the cup almost touches the bottom.
- Then using a spoon to divide equal amount of cream cheese filling on to each dough. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon if necessary.
- Carefully sprinkle streusel on the edges, don't let them get into the cream cheese filling.
- Bake until the edges turn golden brown color, approximately 20 – 25 minutes, remember to rotate the baking pan half way of the process.
- When kolache done baking, let them cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with arugula, basil leaves, and cherry tomatoes.
- The key to accomplish such smooth round ball of dough is not to flour your counter during this process. You want the dough to stick to the counter to create enough friction between it and the surface
- I use instant rise yeast from SAF gold instant yeast. It is the world’s top selling instant yeast. They also have the red version of instant yeast. You can read more about the difference between SAF red instant yeast and SAF gold instant yeast; and how to store yeast HERE.