If you’ve been following along for the last few weeks, you should now be well on your way to mastering a beautiful sourdough starter! That sourdough starter isn’t just for bread, friends. You can make some beautiful sweet pastries with it as well. Today we’re excited to share with you a sourdough kolache recipe that is absolutely delicious! We hope you enjoy!
What is a Sourdough Kolache?
Kolaches are a sweet, leavened pastry of Czech or Bohemian origin. They were brought to the States from Czech immigrants that settled areas of both Texas and Nebraska. Variations of this recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.
Traditional kolaches are filled with a poppy seed, cream cheese, jam, or fruit filling. Similar to a danish, these rolls are slightly sweetened and the perfect pairing with your morning tea or coffee. Unlike a danish, they are much more simple to make, as the dough is not laminated.
Why sourdough? This kolache dough is enriched with butter and egg yolks, along with a bit of sugar, to make a rich, decadent texture. Our sourdough kolaches are also long-soaked, which allows the gluten to be pre-digested by the good bacterias from the sourdough starter. This long-soak process makes these delicious treats much more gut healthy than a traditional yeasted dough.
Not only are sourdough kolaches a healthier option, but making your own pastries at home is so much more frugal than spending all that hard earned cash at a specialty bakery. Why not save money and make your own baked goods?
Interested in Other Sourdough Recipes?
Need a sourdough starter? Click here to get started!
Would you like to make your own sourdough sandwich loaf? Check out our recipe here!
Here are some other great sourdough resources! Dapur Makmur has a wonderful sourdough Youtube channel. Check out here.
Be sure to check out Modern Sourdough, The Sourdough School, Completed Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, and Nourishing Traditions as well.
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Sourdough Kolache Recipe
Servings: 12 kolaches
Day 1: Feed Your Starter
Pull your sourdough starter out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Discard any dark liquid that might be on the top of the starter!
Around 9:00 or 10:00 PM that evening, feed the starter:
- Begin with approximately 2 Cups of starter
- Add 1/2 Cup of water
- Plus 2/3 Cup of flour
Stir well to incorporate. Place a tea towel over the starter and allow it to sit on the countertop for approximately 12 hours.
Day 2: Making the Levain
Levain is simply the French word for “leaven”. It is essentially a small ball of sourdough starter that is fed in a specific way for a specific recipe.
Around 9:00 or 10:00 AM on Day 2: the sourdough that you fed is now active.
To make the levain for the kolache dough:
In a small mixing bowl place:
1 Tbs of active sourdough starter
2 Tbs of water
1 tsp of sugar
4 Tbs of flour
Mix these ingredients together well, forming a small ball of the levain. Next, place plastic wrap tightly over the bowl, and secure with a rubber band. Finally, set the levain aside on the countertop for 2 or 3 hours to develop.
Place the remaining sourdough starter that you fed back in its original jar. It can now be placed back in the fridge until you need to use it again.
…3 Hours Later on Day 2
Making the Sourdough Kolache Dough
The levain should be well developed and about double its original size.
1 Cup of warm milk (NOT hot!)
1/3 Cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 Cup (1 stick) softened butter
3 1/2 – 4 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, place the levain, warm milk, sugar, 3 eggs yolks, and softened butter. After that, stir these ingredients together slightly. Next, begin adding the flour, 1 Cup at a time. Using your hands, or a mixer, incorporate each cup of flour before adding the next. If the dough is a little wet, use the entire 4 Cups of flour. Alternatively, if the dough is a bit dry, only use 3 1/2 Cups of flour.
Once the dough is mostly coming together, flatten it slightly and add the 1 tsp of salt. After the salt is added, begin to knead the dough to completely incorporate the salt.
Next up, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and begin to knead it on the countertop for 5 to 10 minutes. Do NOT add flour to the work surface while kneading. You may use a bit of coconut oil or lard, but do not use flour. It should become smooth and springy to the touch.
Now that the dough is well kneaded, begin to form it into a ball shape. Grease the surface of the dough ball with about 1 Tbs of softened butter. After that, place the dough back in the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a teal towel. Next, place the kolache dough back in the fridge until tomorrow.
Day 3: Making the Kolaches
Within 20-24 hours the dough has gone through the long-soak process and is ready to be formed into kolaches.
Grease a large cookie sheet with a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil or lard. Alternatively you can use parchment paper. Set aside.
Step 1: Remove the sourdough kolache dough from the fridge.
Step 2: Cut the cold dough into 12 equally sized pieces. You can either eyeball this (like we did), or use a kitchen scale for more precision.
Step 3: Next, begin to form the pieces of kolache dough.
The 12 pieces of dough should be fridge cold. With your two hands, begin pushing the dough down against the countertop in a circular motion, constantly moving the dough between your hands, forming the dough balls. It may be helpful to use a bit of coconut oil to make sure each ball does not stick to the countertop and stays smooth on the exterior. After several circular motions, the dough pieces should be formed into balls. Place each dough ball onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Step 4: Place the 12 kolaches on the prepared cookie sheet. Next, place plastic wrap over the kolaches, along with a tea towel.
Step 5: Place the kolaches in a cool oven, with the light on, to rise for 2 or 3 hours.
Cream Cheese Filling for the Kolaches:
While the sourdough kolaches are rising in the oven you can make the fillings.
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
- 8 oz. block of softened cream cheese
- 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1 room temp egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Cream all ingredients together well in a small mixing bowl, and set aside for later.
In a small bowl rub together:
½ Cup all purpose flour
¼ Cup sugar
4 Tbs fridge cold butter
pinch of salt
Streusel should have a sandy, rubbly consistency once you are done rubbing all of the ingredients together. Set aside.
Putting the Sourdough Kolaches Together!
Remove the kolache dough balls from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
After about 3 hours of rising in the oven, the kolache balls should be well risen and ready to form. Now it’s time to make indentations in each ball for the filling. With a greased 1/3 Cup, press firmly down on each kolache to form a 2 inch crater.
Adding the fillings to the kolaches:
From here you will add a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling to each kolache.
Next, place a heaping teaspoon of your favorite jam into the middle of the cream cheese filling.
Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, gently brush the dough with the egg wash.
Finally, sprinkle on a heaping tablespoon of the prepared streusel topping.
Baking the Sourdough Kolaches
Place the cookie sheet of prepared sourdough kolaches into a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to check them at 25 minutes. Once the kolaches are golden brown on the bottoms, they are ready!
Finally place each kolache on a cooling rack to cool completely. All you have to do now is enjoy!
In Texas they make a version of kolaches that is actually savory, stuffing them with sausage. This version is reminiscent of pigs-in-blanket. Saveur Magazine explains this delicious, savory rendition here.
Taste of Home also features a kolache recipe with a more traditional poppy seed filling. Click here to check it out!
Storing Sourdough Kolaches
After the sourdough kolaches are completely cooled, place them in a ziplock bag or other sealed container to keep the moisture in. As with most sweetened and enriched doughs, they can dry out after a few days. My guess is that the kolaches won’t last that long, though. They’re too delicious.
These look scrumptious. I have a GF sourdough starter from a friend and I’m just now diving into this “new” world.
I tried this recipe, and it was really good, but I have questions I want to ask; how can I reach you?
Hi Rosalia! Glad it went well for you! You are welcome to ask questions here on the comment section, or at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Why do you start with 2 cups of sourdough starter to add additional water and flour to it when all you use is 1 T of the activated starter for the levain? I only keep anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 C of starter in a jar and add to that before using in a recipe. That would be enough for this recipe? Sorry, just confused
Arlene, that is a good question! We normally feed about 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of starter at a time because we normally make multiple sourdough things at once. If you can only feed 1/2 or 3/4 Cup of starter at a time, that is totally fine! The point is to make sure your starter is active before making the levain. Sorry for the confusion! Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!:)