Breads, Rolls + Donuts Breakfast

Homemade Kolaches

I’m addicted to kolaches. Any and all kinds, but especially these pictured here. Kolaches were brought to Texas by Czech immigrants and now have a cult-like following, for good reason. Almost a Danish pastry, they are made with a brioche-like bread dough instead of laminated layers; their centers filled with creamy sweet cheese and the slightest hint of lemon.

When I first came across them in Bread Illustrated (America’s Test Kitchen’s bread book) I instantly walked to my kitchen cupboards and took out all the ingredients needed: flour, yeast, butter, cream cheese, milk, sugar, lemon. While I worked the dough on my counter top, my mind jumped to purchasing a nearby corner bakery for the sole purpose of filling with kolaches. There would be trays lined with rows and rows of beautiful circles, all topped differently: cream cheese, chocolate and white chocolate, jam and fresh fruit, extracts, vanilla bean, meringue, whipped cream, ice cream. They would compete with local doughnuts shops for breakfast, boasting both simplicity and extravagance in every dozen sold.

Of course, such day dreams are not able to become reality at this point, but each bite I take convinces me otherwise. Maybe one day, Minneapolis. Maybe one day.

More Pastry Recipes:

homemade kolaches filled with cream cheese

Homemade Kolaches

Servings: 16 kolaches
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Proofing Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Kolaches, a Czech pastry, are made of soft brioche dough and centers filled with creamy sweet cheese plus the slightest hint of lemon.
Sarah Kieffer
4.65 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 1/2 cups (491g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (66g) sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large yolks

Cream cheese filling

  • 12 ounces (340g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

Streusel

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Instructions

For the dough

  • Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, melted butter, sugar, egg, and egg yolks in a 4-cup measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using a dough hook on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and now dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but still sticks to bottom, 8 to 12 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a well-floured counter. Using your well-floured hands, knead dough to form a smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in a lightly greased large bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Unrisen dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping.)

Make the filling

  • Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and mix to combine. Taste filling – you are looking for the lemon juice to brighten the filling, but not make it taste like lemon. Add more juice if needed. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the streusel

  • Combine flour, sugar, and butter in bowl and rub between fingers until mixture resembles wet sand. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

Finish the dough

  • Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down dough and place on lightly floured counter. Stretch the dough into an even 16-inch log. Cut the log into 16 equal pieces (about 2 1/4 ounce each) and cover loosely with greased plastic. Working one piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that the top is smooth. Place the ball seam side down on a clean counter and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round.
  • Arrange dough balls seam side down on prepared sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until increased in size by about half, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour bottom of a round 1/3-cup dry measuring cup. Press the cup firmly into the center of each dough round until the cup touches the sheet to make indentation for filling. (Reflour the cup as needed to prevent sticking.)
  • Divide filling evenly among kolaches (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and smooth with the back of a spoon. Whisk together 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt. Gently brush the edges with egg mixture and sprinkle with streusel. (Do not sprinkle streusel over filling.)
  • Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway though baking. Transfer kolaches to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes

*Recipe adapted from Bread Illustrated.
*If your dough is not clearing the sides of the bowl after mixing, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it does so (every time I’ve made this I’ve had to add 2-4 tablespoons  extra of flour).
*You can sub ricotta for half of the cream cheese filling. Use 6 ounces (170g) cream cheese and 6 ounces (3/4 cup) whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Reply
    ali
    Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 4:13 am

    5 stars
    These kolaches look just super yummie. Really have to try them once!

  • Reply
    Ellina
    Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 12:12 am

    Hi Sarah! I noticed the recipe and the one in your 100 morning treats books are slightly different in the dough and the filling – is there a preference in your end for which version you like better?

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    4 stars
    There must be many different recipes for these – I got mine from people whose parents came from Czechoslovakia, and their were rolled into squares, and then filled with apricot or prune filling, then folded back and “swaddled like a baby!
    They were to die for! There is a church by Owatonna whose members make these for their annual fund raiser.

    I’m going to try these!

  • Reply
    Cookie
    Friday, December 29, 2023 at 11:29 am

    5 stars
    When you add a fruit like jam, do you add it before or after baking? Thank you.

  • Reply
    tatty
    Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 7:07 am

    5 stars
    it’s awesome thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    lora
    Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    5 stars
    I am making these for the 2nd time this month. The first time I made them I froze them and they were amazing. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  • Reply
    Annie
    Sunday, January 8, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    2 stars
    My dough did not rise a single bit. Should the milk be warm and the eggs be room temp? Thank you.

  • Reply
    Kit
    Sunday, January 8, 2023 at 8:50 am

    5 stars
    I made these yesterday and wow! Just delicious and tender. I did add a dollop of blueberry jam and cherry jam on some of them. The streusel adds a nice texture contrast. Thanks for posting a simple and tasty recipe.

  • Reply
    megan
    Friday, January 6, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    4 stars
    Saw these on your Insta feed and decided to make them immediately. I naively looked at cook and prep time and thought I would be eating hot fresh kolaches in an hour a 15 minutes (spoiler alert: overall takes approx. 5+ hours depending on how quickly your kolaches proof). This was a fun alternative to the homemade cheese danishes I make- the filling is almost identical but I actually like this brioche/sweet bread a bit better than rough puff. Overall it is less finicky and I didn’t worry so much about butter leakage or raw dough like I do with rough puff. This is a pretty committed baking recipe, timewise, but was fun! Would definitely make again, perhaps add a dollop of jam in the center for a little extra pizazz. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    5 stars
    Oh boy this recipe made my day. I made and they turned out perfect (added 2T flour). These just hit the spot …

  • Reply
    Sal
    Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 10:19 am

    Would you please unsubscribe me from your emails? I am gluten free. Tnx

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 10:20 am

      You have been unsubscribed from email.

  • Reply
    Erika
    Monday, March 21, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    5 stars
    I just baked these with my bestie. We both lived in Central Texas but moved away about 2 years ago. We have both missed Kolaches so much! This recipe is legit. The dough is beautiful to work with. I recommend doubling the streusel recipe and we even added about a teaspoon of jam to a couple on top of the cream cheese before baking. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this recipe and taking us back home for a bit.

  • Reply
    Joy
    Friday, February 25, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    5 stars
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! I followed the directions and appreciated the mention of how much each one would weigh when portioning it out. I love that it’s not overly sweet and it made a welcome change to my breakfast routine ??

  • Reply
    Will
    Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Amazing!!!!!

  • Reply
    Lori
    Monday, June 22, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    This recipe is great! Super soft dough, bakes up so fluffy, and airy!

  • Reply
    Callie
    Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    My husband wants to try your kolache recipe but would like to make them with the cream cheese filling. Could you please give the recipe for that filling.

  • Reply
    Susan Dubose
    Monday, April 27, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Excellent! This recipe is a keeper for sure. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Patrick
    Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    It seams that Kolache, kolace, kolacky or kolach are the singular. Kolaches is the plural.
    Very good recipe by the way! ?

  • Reply
    Erika
    Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I love this authentic recipe! I haven’t heard of this pastry before and it looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    Floranet
    Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 1:11 am

    You rock with your writing!! Spectacular one for sure.

  • Reply
    Kristen Mastel
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 7:31 am

    If you haven’t had a breakfast kolache from the Eau Claire farmer’s market you need to drive over there next weekend! They are amazing and sell out super fast! My fav is eggs and bacon filled….. not as traditional as these but soooo good!

  • Reply
    Pat
    Monday, April 22, 2019 at 11:07 am

    I made this recipe over the weekend and it turned out great.

  • Reply
    Martina Roy
    Monday, April 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    karen
    Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 7:42 am

    This looks so beautiful and I love the flavors going on. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 7:37 am

    I am from Czech republic and we do this kolaches (our kolá?ky) with apple jam and plum jam and even with poppy seed jam (ground poppy seeds, milk and sugar), too. It is our favorite wedding treat and we bake it on Easter and many feasts. It´s nice to hear that they are famous so far away :-).

  • Reply
    Annie
    Friday, April 5, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Can I print this out somehow?

  • Reply
    Shannah
    Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    If I were going to make savory kolaches like egg,bacon,and cheese; would I use a recipe like this or does a savory kolaches use a different dough recipe.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    Monday, June 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    These are amazing! I used to live in Austin, and would eat kolaches regularly. These are better than any I had tried! Thanks so much for the great recipe and instructions.

  • Reply
    Jodi L
    Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Sarah!!
    Can not wait to give these a go. Wondered about how to store them and/or if they will let a couple days? Can you reheat them? Are they good at room temp? Let me know!

    • Reply
      Michelle
      Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 7:39 am

      Just give them to the box and to the fridge, they will last couple of days. We ate them at room temp, you don´t need to reheat them 🙂

  • Reply
    Karin
    Monday, January 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Sarah, my grandmother (she was German) made kolaches that looked like this! My mom says prune was her fave filling. Did you know that there are Czech towns about an hour away where kolaches are sold in the bakeries (New Prague, Montgomery). They are different though. They are more like a bun with a filling. They call them kolacky. They even have a “Kolacky Days” festival in the summer.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Beall
    Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 7:23 am

    I want to make these! They look so good and not to difficult, but I am wondering about the temperature of the milk. Does it not need to be warm when it’s added to the yeast? I am not an expert baker and don’t want to assume anything! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Leda Pomeroy
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    My kolache is a little different and my family just love them. It can also be use as pie crust dough.
    9 oz, cream cheese
    9 oz. butter
    3 cups flour

    Mix the three ingredients well and chill dough for 3 hours.
    Roll out dough and cut into circles, top with jam and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Drizzle with powdered sugar frosting.

    • Reply
      Allison
      Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      Leda, so interested in your dough! No yeast, no rising or rest time? How unique!
      Thank you for any additional info you can share.

  • Reply
    Andrea
    Monday, September 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    They look almost like the real thing! My favourite topping is pear butter thickened with grated gingerbread cookies, or plum jam with a little bit of rum mixed in and topped with cream cheese.

  • Reply
    Sarah // The Sugar Hit
    Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I would be your bakery’s best customer/your main gal in the kitchen, because honestly, at this point, throwing my phone in the river and never looking at the internet again and just focusing on kolaches (these look amazing) seems like a logical and fun life choice.

  • Reply
    Caleb
    Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Love the blog!

    Streusel is only 1 tbsp of butter cut into 8 pieces?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 10:34 am

      Hi Caleb – Yes! It seems like not enough, but it is. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessi C
    Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    I baked these gorgeous pastries this morning, as a way to refocus and ease my worries while my husband is in the hospital. Baking is one way I cope with stress, and I was so happy to offer such a treat to myself and my toddler on a Saturday. Thank you, I love this blog – your writing is beautiful and inspiring, your photos fantastic!

    I had no ricotta, so I used nonfat greek yogurt in its place. It worked really well! My son preferred his with blueberry jam added to the top of the filling.

  • Reply
    Victoria Pease
    Friday, September 23, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Have never heard of these before but they look divine. Who hasn’t held a dream of owning a little bakery filled with their favourite baked goods though? I’d fill mine with lemon meringue pies!

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

  • Reply
    grandpa jeff
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    beautiful and yummy looking Sarah

  • Reply
    cynthia
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I am convinced, from your words and these stunning photos, that kolaches are my dream pastry. And before your Instagram of them, I hadn’t even known what they were. These look incredible, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Allyson
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Minneapolis needs a kolache shop. In the meantime, I’ll have to make these for my very own.

  • Reply
    Linda Mueller
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Mouth-watering!
    Thank you for the recipe and history.

  • Reply
    Tori//Gringalicious
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 5:09 am

    These sweet little bites look and sound fantastic!

  • Reply
    Franzi
    Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 12:50 am

    These kolaches look just super yummie. Really have to try them once!

  • Reply
    Krysten (@themomnoms)
    Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I’m from Texas, so kolaches are pretty much my favorite thing ever.
    Your recipe is spot on!
    Can’t wait to make these for generations to come! <3

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