Kolache Making

This past week while my husband, youngest daughter and I were in Texas spending some time with my Dad and trying to adjust to life without my mother I had a wonderful opportunity to learn to make Kolaches with a dear relative. This has been a long-standing bucket list goal for me and I finally had my chance! What a blessing!

One day Fern announced that on Thursday morning her friend Betty was going to give her another lesson on baking the Czech favorite Danish called Kolaches. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of Kolaches.

“Oh my gosh, can I come to!” I gushed to her surprise.

“Of course you can.” She offered.

You see, my beloved grandma used to make the most amazing, mouthwatering Kolaches when I was a little girl. She would spend the morning baking in her sparsely furnished farm-house kitchen in the sandhills of Nebraska, but the smells of the sweet dough rising and then later baking with the small dollop’s of apricot, cherry or strawberry filling bubbling in the middle would quickly fill the air. We grandkids would wait, very impatiently, until she would finally declare them ready and not too hot to eat. We could devour dozens of them at a time.

I have always regretted not taking the time while grandma was still alive to learn this art. Somehow in my youth I just assumed that when I was ready to slow down and whip up a batch they would taste just like grandmas. Boy was I ever wrong. I could never get the recipe right. Something always tasted like it was missing. The dough wouldn’t raise enough, my filling would spill out onto the pan and burn, and somehow the dough never tasted sweet enough.

This was my opportunity to right this wrong. I had a real live teacher ready to share the ancient secrets of Czech Kolchak making with me!

I was an eager student and Betty and Fern were patient teachers. I learned how to mix the dough, how to test it with a finger to see if it was ready to form the little balls that would soon become a bed for the sweet filling. I learned how to use two fingers to press into the ball and create the perfect sized bed. I learned what fillings to use and how to measure the perfect portion for each little Kolache. Betty even taught me the secret, basting on melted lard before baking and again after so that the sweet roll would not crack as it cooled.

Spending the morning with these two beautiful women was such a magical experience for me. It was healing for my broken heart and it helped me feel connected to the grandma I loved and missed dearly!

I left that morning with a sense of real accomplishment and a much lighter heart. I had some restraint and only ate a couple of the sweet Danishes but they tasted perfect, just like my grandma used to make.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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  1. My grandmother used to make Kolaches too! My favorite was raspberry. Haven’t had them since she died in 1993. You’re making my mouth water… I’ve never even tried to make them though. I think I can still smell them if I close my eyes!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      My favorites were apricot and cherry. About the only kind I didn’t like was poppy seed and she only made them once!