Tuesday, December 27, 2011

kolaches.


I was flipping through The Pastry Queen the other day, and then I knew why there was such a following for it (Project Pastry Queen, anyone?). The recipes were innovative and interesting- I'd unconsciously bookmarked several of them as I turned the pages.

One of them was kolaches. When I saw the picture of lined-up pillows of dough dimpled with peach filling, I was intrigued. I wondered how bread with such a foreign sounding name would turn out, so the recipe anchored itself at the top of the to-bake list. At the end of the recipe, there were a few variations given. Most of them were typical bread fillings but there was one that caught me eye- egg.

The egg would be poured into the cavity of the dough and baked until set. It was described as a superior of Mc D's Egg Mcmuffin. I gave it my own twist by adding a small cube of cheddar cheese in the middle, and dolloping a huge glop of ketchup once the egg has set but a few minutes shy of being done.


The other version I did had a milk filling which I used before in my kuromame milk buns here.

As expected, the kolaches turned out to be appropriately Texan-sized, even after I'd scaled it down. I didn't make the whole recipe- that would be quite insane, frankly. I did an eighth of it, which is supposed to yield 2 large kolaches. Instead of portioning 2 balls of dough, I did 3, and as you can see, they are still huge!

Unfortunately, the saying bigger is better is not always true. The buns weren't as soft as I would like and tends to be dry at some places. To me, this is the sort of recipe that scores for its novelty factor rather for its taste.


Kolaches
adapted from The Pastry Queen
makes 16-18 huge ones

For the dough:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
anything you fancy, from jams to the egg variation (instructions below)

For the streusel topping: (I omitted)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1 egg, for egg wash

Sprinkle the yeast over warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer until it foams up. Turn the mixer to low and add the milk, melted butter, eggs and sugar until mixed. Whisk together the salt and flour and add to the mixer in two batches, mixing only until just combined. The dough should be wet and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Divide the dough and place the portions on a lined or greased baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Using your fingers, make an impression in the centre of the ball and stretch out into a round, creating a well to hold your filling.

Pulse the flour, sugar, and butter in your food processor until crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.

If making egg kolaches, crack an egg for each kolache into a bowl and whisk to break up the yolk before pouring into the indention of the dough. You can also choose to add other ingredients like ham, red peppers, anything you fancy. If using other fillings, place a heaping spoonful into the centre of each dough ball. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 375F.

Sprinkle the streusel topping over the kolaches. Whisk the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over the sides of the kolaches.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Let the kolaches cool for 20 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be kept tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days.

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