Kolacky Recipe

This is how I remember the spelling in many of the Czech bakeries along Cermak Road. There, kolaches were usually round and puffy, made from a yeast dough instead of a short crust. The ingredients are:

12 ounces (1 1/2) cups warm milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) melted butter
2 egg yolks
2.5 ounces (generous 1/3 cup) cup sugar
1 lb. 5.25 ounces (4 1/4 cups) flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine the milk, melted butter and egg yolks in the bowl of a mixer and stir together with the paddle. Combine the reminding ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add them to the milk mixture and stir until they’re moistened. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes.

Allow the dough to rise for about an hour. Cut the dough into 1 to 1.5 ounces balls and place on a greased sheet pan. Allow them to rise about 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375. Make a depression in the middle of each ball with your fingers, and add the filling of your choice. A streusel topping is optional.

Allow the kolaches to rise another 10-15 minutes, then bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve!

14 thoughts on “Kolacky Recipe”

  1. I have to give you credit. This recipe is almost exact to my great grandmothers. The only difference is she used “cake yeast” which had to be frothed. Along with this recipe, Grandma included the sourdough version for when yeast was not available.
    Thank you for your terrific blog. I am really looking forward to all the fillings.

    1. Hey Marykay!

      Thanks very much. I looked hard for something that was true to the tradition. I updated the recipe I found with instant yeast since it’s so much easier to use…but a sourdough version! That sounds fantastic — I’ll try it! Replacing six ounces of water and six ounces of flour with twelve ounces of starter (www.joepastry.com/category/bread/starter-and-preferments/starter) should do the trick nicely!

      Thanks so much! And just refresh the site (www.joepastry.com) to see the finished kolaches and the fillings!). Cheers,

      – Joe

  2. OMG! This is just like my Busha made them. Gosh it never ceased to amaze me the hundreds of them she made with these really good decorated cookies and thumb prints cookies with candy cherries instead of jam. Year after year after year. We would pig out on them at her home and all 4 families went home with shirt boxes full to the brim. She made apricot, raspberry, and prune.

    I see you went to the bakeries on Cermak. I take it you mean in Chicago? I wonder if you knew her. Florence Garzarckewitz?

    1. Hey Peggy! Very glad these bring back some memories for you. The name doesn’t sound familiar, but truth be told I grew up further west in the Chicago suburbs and didn’t know many people who lived in that great old neighborhood. I just went there for the bakeries. Until I made these I hadn’t eaten anything like this in probably 10 year, but wow they tasted good. Not as good as the ones on Cermak I don’t think. Nothing could be as good as that.

      I hope you try these and let me know how they taste!


      – Joe

  3. My gramma used to make these, never been able to replicate them. She always said her secret was using goose fat? She would stuff them with cooked sweetened cabbage with black pepper, apricot, prune, or poppyseed. No wonder she was 300 pounds!

    1. Hey!

      She was a true Eastern European, wasn’t she? You certainly can use melted goose fat instead of butter. Really any solid fat will work just fine: goose, duck, pork lard, even chicken fat (schmalz). All will give the finished product a different character. BUt you can’t go wrong with any of them!

      Cheers and let me know how yours turn out!

      – Joe

  4. Hi! It was very surprised when I saw this Czech traditional recipe on your websites. Originally I was looking for quite different recipe for a dough. I had to read your version of kolache recipe. My grandma makes them but normally with melted butter. But I think some of czech families make them with fat. In my country we use this type of pastry for various types of cakes with funnier name than kolache are 🙂 And yeast pastry is little bit difficult to make. Especially when we make bigger “cakes” because a dough has to rise and sometimes it takes 5 hours 😀
    So thank you for your version of recipe and your interest.


    1. Hello Tereza!

      I grew up in Chicago which is full of Czechs! These pastries were a very important part of my childhood, even though my family is Irish/Scottish. When I was university age I visited the Czech Republic (then it was Czechoslovakia) and they were even better there! I think people used lard to make them, as you say.

      Very nice to meet you!

      – Joe

  5. I made the dough overnight and just baked a couple of these for breakfast. They were delicious, especially straight out of the oven. The jelly kolackys came out perfectly, but I also tried to fill a couple with ricotta. I baked them for just as long, but the dough closest to the ricotta still ended up a little gooey and raw-looking. Do you think the ricotta prevented the dough from being baked, or did some of the liquid just make the dough soggy as it cooled? (I’m eating them all, baked or not).

    1. Hi Noah!

      Ricotta, being a whey cheese, gives off a lot of moisture when it’s heated, which is why it’s usually made into a no-bake “cream”:


      My guess is that yes, it simple gave up a lot of moisture and just soaked the dough. That would have prevented it from setting up, for sure. Nothing dangerous, but not good eats either as I’m sure you discovered. Better luck with the next batch. Glad they mostly worked!


      – Joe

  6. I have moved so many times and mygrandmother’s recipes have been lost or rat or termite eaten, so happy to find dough recipe but can you give authentic recipes for the fillings such as cheese, poppy seed, apricot, prune?

    1. Hey Kehaulani,

      There are several bake-in fillings on the site. Take a look under “Pastry Components” on the left-side menus and check under fillings. In “Bake-In” fillings you’re going to find a lot of the flavors you mentioned!

      Cheers and have fun!

      – Joe

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