2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
2 cups warm 2% milk (110-115 degrees)
5 ¾ to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup softened butter
Choice of filling: prune, poppy seed, cherry, or apricot (other fruit favorites and cream cheese too)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm milk; let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, remaining sugar, egg yolks, salt, butter and yeast/milk mixture. Mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough but not a dry dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Add additional flour only if necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning onto grease top. Cover, let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and allow to rise again. Roll out on a floured surface to ½ inch thickness. Cut with a large glass or a 2 ½ inch cutter. Place on greased baking sheets; let rise until doubled about 45 minutes.
Firmly press an indentation into the center of each kolac and fill each one with a heaping tablespoon of filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the dough surrounding the filling is light golden brown. Brush with melted butter when the kolaches are taken out of the oven.
When cool, sprinkle the kolaches with powdered sugar.
Describe the connection this recipe has to your family and/or heritage.
Czech Kolache (single is a kolac; plural is kolache)
These are the iconic Czech pastry made of yeast dough. The secret to making them is to make sure not to add too much flour to the dough as you want them to be light and airy. The most common kolache is about 4 inches round and filled with fruit filling, poppy seed, or cream cheese.