By guest blogger Wendy Yurgosky, Certified Holistic Health Counselor,
Easter is time for traditions and family. One of my favorite family traditions is to make kolache.
The funny thing about growing up Czech is that foods seemed to be spelled differently every time you turn around. For example, kolache is also spelled kolachi, kolach, kolace, kolacz or kolacky but not to be mixed up with kalach, colac, or colaci, which are braided sweet breads formed in a circle without filling.
Much of the spelling differences can be explained by dialects within the same country, and the originating country Russian, Czech, or Polish. My family is both Czech and Russian so you see how this can get very confusing—especially as a young child. No matter what you call it or even what you fill it with, it is a delicious treat usually served during both Christmas and Easter. My grandmother doesn’t ask for much but she ALWAYS wants her kolache during the holidays; and whatever Gram wants, Gram gets.
Kolache is a pastry of sweet dough that is flattened out with a thin layer of filling and then rolled into a log shape. The kolache’s beauty is revealed when you cut into it and see the spiral of filling. You get both filling and fluffy dough in every bite. The most common traditional flavors are nut, poppy, prune known (lekvar), and apricot.
Here is my grandmother’s favorite, the nut roll kolache. This recipe has been handed down from my great grandparents and perhaps even further… I’m not sure. The this recipe will yield two kolache.
For the dough:
¼ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ stick of butter
¼ cup warm water
1 package yeast
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 – 2 ¼ cups flour, sifted
For the filling:
2 cups of finely ground walnuts
½ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup of butter
1 Tbsp cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg and clove
½ cup of raisins
- In a medium pot, scald milk then turn off the heat and mix in sugar, salt, and butter. Let cool to lukewarm.
- Meanwhile in a large glass bowl place warm water and yeast. Stir in yeast gently and let bloom while milk mixture is cooling.
- After the yeast has bloomed and milk is lukewarm, add the milk and egg yolks to the yeast. Slowly add the sifted flour to create a soft dough.
- Roll up your sleeves and get ready for a workout as you place the dough onto a floured countertop. Knead until smooth and elastic which takes about 10 minutes.
- KNEADING TIP: When you knead the dough use the lower portion of your palm by your wrist. Place your palms on the dough closest to you and push the dough away from you. When you get to the end of the dough, give it a quarter turn and flip it over and repeat until you get the proper consistency.
I hear you, “Can’t I just use the dough hook on my mixer?” Perhaps. But I have found that the consistency isn’t the same and you can cut out a trip to the gym, get out any frustrations and make a delicious treat at the same time.
- When you get the lovely stretch and bounce in the dough, grease the bowl you used and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot until it doubles in size, approximately one hour. If your kitchen is cool, place the bowl on top of the fridge, or in your microwave with a cup of hot water for moisture. While the dough is rising prepare the filling.
- When the dough has risen, give it a good punch! It’s as fun as popping bubble wrap.
- Cut the dough in half and place onto a floured surface to roll out. Get a baking tray ready to place the kolache on once it’s complete.
- Roll out one section of dough into a rectangle approximately 18″ x 12″ and a little less than ¼” thick. Make sure the dough is not stuck to the rolling surface (throw more flour on if necessary).
- Gently spread the filling evenly over the surface leaving ¼” at the far end of the long side so the filling doesn’t spill out and the dough forms a seal.
- After the filling is spread, fold ¼” of the shorter ends in so the filling doesn’t seep out. Then begin to roll the dough away from you forming an even, long log.
- Place the finished roll on a baking sheet or loaf pan, and repeat with the other piece of dough.
- When both logs are complete cover and let rise for one hour.
- Turn oven to 350°F. Brush both logs gently with an egg wash for a beautiful shine.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Wendy Yurgosky is a Holistic Health Counselor who looks to the root of the client’s health concerns and educates them about the tools needed to aid in the bodies healing process. Just a few of the benefits reported by Wendy’s clients include weight loss, decreased inflammation, change in cholesterol levels, increased energy, and a marked change in behavioral issues in children. Wendy offers one on one and group programs, food foraging hikes, and cooking demonstrations.
Let’s face it, we all love to eat and our food and lifestyle choices affect our health. Recent studies show that only 25% of your health is genetic. The question is: how long do you want to live with a chronic illness, lack of energy, or just dissatisfaction? Contact me today to discuss how one hour could change your life.
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