One of my friends has started a bit of a tradition. She plans a big party for a specific occasion or theme. I ask what I can bring. She gives me a baking project. I make something new-to-me and find out what 20 random taste-testers (ahem, partygoers!) think of that item. In the end, we both win! Oh, and the parties are usually fun too.


Last year for her Texas Independence Day party Leigh had me make sausage and cheese bites. This year she suggested kolaches. Which I had never heard of before.  Turns out, they’re very popular at Texas potlucks (for good reason). They’re like little homemade Hot Pockets®, except 20 times more delicious.

Kolaches (adapted from a Homemade Mamas recipe)


1 packet of active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 teaspoon for proofing the yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
4 cups of all-purpose flour
3 eggs (2 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt

14 oz. to 1 lb. of skinless Polish sausage, fully cooked
8 oz. shredded cheese (I used a Mexican cheese blend)
Pepperoncini or jalapeño peppers, to taste


Proof the yeast by adding the contents of the yeast packet to a very warm 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar (I always do this in my liquid measuring cup).  Yeast should start rising/bubbling within five minutes. Once you’re sure you’ve got an active batch, combine yeast, warm milk, the rest of the sugar and one cup of flour in a large bowl. Cover and let it rise for at least 30 minutes (or until doubled in size).

In a small bowl beat the 2 eggs, then add the 1/2 cup of melted butter and salt and blend well. Add the egg mixture to the yeast mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Amount of flour for the right dough consistency may vary, and you may need to knead it in with your hands. You want to end up with soft, slightly sticky dough.

Knead dough for about 10 minutes either on a well-floured surface or in the bowl (adding more flour as necessary). Place dough in a well-greased bowl – I used a liberal coating of olive oil to do the trick. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. The original recipe said that would take about an hour, but I let it rise for three hours while I watched a playoff hockey game and it was fine.

While dough is rising, prepare the filling. Slice the sausage lengthwise, then chop into smaller pieces. Mix together the sausage, cheese and diced peppers in a medium bowl and set aside.

After dough has risen, punch it down. Now you’re ready for kolache construction! Pull off egg-sized pieces, and using your hands, flatten them out into disks, about four inches in diameter. Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the disk, and close the dough around the filling. Pinch dough shut and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Beat the third egg in a small bowl. Before you place the kolaches in the oven, brush tops with egg wash. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes. Tops should be lightly golden brown when done. Let cool for five minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to cooling rack. Wait 10 minutes, then enjoy! Makes 24 kolaches.

Real talk time: This recipe is flipping delicious. It was a huge hit at the party. It was also somewhat stressful to make (for me, because I don’t usually bother with bread dough). I had to schedule in time for dough to rise, and my first two packets of yeast were duds. So I was running behind, I had other plans during the day, and I ended up leaving the dough to rise on my counter for three hours. Oops! Luckily, it all worked out. Another confession: I used Papa John’s pepperoncini peppers left over from the delivery boxes the night before, because I’m lazy. But hey, that bite of spice was perfect.


In all, this is a major crowd-pleaser of a recipe. And the ingredients are easy to source. It may become one I pull out for special occasions when I’m away from my own kitchen (Christmas, Thanksgiving & the 4th of July, hmmm?), because while it’s not exactly simple, it’s uncomplicated and delicious. And technically, it’s finger food.

Recommended for: parties, and any other occasion when you want to wow the crowd with savory finger food.

Interested in other food-related posts? Check out Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking!


Kay said...

Ah, kolaches - I love kolaches. I'm from Texas and today, someone else had sopaipillas and now kolaches. Lovely food that is served often here.

There are kolache bakeries here in the Austin area. A bunch of them. You made savory kolaches, which are great. There are also sweet ones - filled with fruit and yummy deluxe. A lot of people settled in the Central Texas area that were of Czech and German descent. You can still see the influences in many ways. Thanks for sharing this!

Esme said...

This sounds like fun-I like themes and ways to be introduced to something new.

Beth F said...

Funny that you mentioned July 4 at the end of the post because the whole time I was reading it, I was thinking that these would be perfect for the Fourth party we host every year. I'm bookmarking this recipe.

Carole said...

Oooh, they look good. I hadn't ever heard of them before either. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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