Ever since I moved to the East Coast I have searched for a poppy seed kolache.

I have yet to find one.

A kolache is a pastry with icing and it is filled with fruit, cheese or poppy seeds plopped onto its center.

I was raised in Nebraska.

My father’s side is English and my mother’s Czechoslovakian — the Nebraska Czech side came directly from Czechoslovakia when it was just that and not the Czech Republic or some other modern-day re-framing of a country’s identity — and I miss that homemade kolache taste treat of my childhood where authenticity, sweetness and history melted together and touched on the tongue.

41 Comments

  1. Ahhh! The memories!
    Prune was good — they didn’t make you sick to your stomach but they were healthy in helping clean you out!
    My aunt Sylvia would make kolaches in her giant homestead ranch kitchen and the smell was incredible.
    Poppy seed was it for me. I would inhale them. You can’t find good Poppy Seed foods today — probably because it can mess up your urine for drug testing.

  2. childhood foods can comfort even when youre old there used to be a grocery store that sold kolaches but not anymore and now when you ask people give you a danish instead

  3. I used to work at a place where one of the coworkers would make kolache as Christmas presents.
    It’s been several years since I have any, but your post brought back good memories.
    Luckily, there are several Eastern European bakeries in the area that can supply kolache. (I bet it won’t be as good as homemade, however).

  4. Chris! — Now, when I look at that cool website you gave me and read this:

    Q : What’s a kolache?
    A kolache is generally described as a slightly sweet, pastry roll filled with a variety of ingredients ranging from fruit to cheese to meat.

    I say “that’s not a kolache” because the filling is plopped on top and is not “filled” with anything! I also do not recognize the kolaches I know and love from the images on their site.
    😀

  5. Gordon! — I could make them if I had a recipe. A little egg replacer or applesauce and I’m good to go! Love your photos! So fun! It looks like you had a grand time on your trip!
    suzanne — I have never had a blackberry kolache but I’d love to try one! Did you eat kolaches when you were in Nebraska?

  6. I wonder if Kolache is different depending on who is making it?
    The woman who made the Kolache Christmas gifts was of Polish descent. Her Kolache was always long and shaped like a small bagette. The filling rolled into the pastry.
    Wikipedia shows something different from what I know.

  7. Oh rats. You didn’t get my little blackberry joke. Oh well. :mrgreen: bad one anyway… umm nope. I didn’t have any kolaches in Nebraska, just lots of corn and good corn fed beef.
    I would love to try one and I agree about the poppyseeds. YUM!

  8. WEll you folks need to come down to TEXAS for some excellent Kolaches!
    Don’t let that franchise out of Houston throw you off as to how they are made down here.
    See many Czech’s moved down here back in the 1860-1890’s, on my Dad’s side they came over in the 1880’s on my Mom’s side they came over around 1910, so I am full blooded Czech. Well my Dad’s side of the family settled in the area just north of Austin in a small town called Granger and as I was growing up in the late 50’s early 60’s that town was about 80-90% Czech and some people didn’t even speak english though they were born in the US. (My grandmother didn’t speak any english though she was born in the US but was fluent in Czech).
    Now my favorite as a kid was poppyseed which was a roll filled with a poppyseed paste and was more of a shell filled with the the paste-none open at the top and the top of the pasty may have a slight sugar coating. While my second favorite was a cottage cheese filled open pastry that had a sugar topping. I never did get into the prune version. I have an aunt that would use whole grapes in hers (never asked where she picked up this style and have never seen anyone else make them that way).
    Well my grandmother actually baked kolaches as a way to suplement her income when she was in her 60’s and 70’s and she had people who would come 30 miles to buy her poppyseed and other flavors of kolaches.
    There are a few people in the Dallas area that make them also, I know of one caterer who makes them for festivals and special dinners.
    A whole lot of Texans know about a little town on I-35 just north of Waco called West because of the 4 bakeries in town that make great Kolaches.
    As to the meat discussion those came into being pretty much in the last 20 years or so around here and they generally have klobase in them as the filling and some even have incorporated cheese, maybe the first hotpockets? One bakery in West called the Czech Stop makes a great spicy klobase and cheese kolache that is great finger driving down the highway food if you don’t eat them all before pulling out of the parking lot.
    There are even several Kolache festivals across the state from Caldwell to Ennis to Dallas to Prague at various Czech Lodges across the state. So if I get a hunger for Kolaches I can run to a local bakery, raid my dad’s deep freeze or drive around 80 miles to WEST to load up.
    (BTW we have relatives that are up Nebraska way- but I never heard of rhubarb kolaches till I saw this forum).

  9. Hi Paul!
    Gee, what a delicious comment from you! I am hungry reading all your words!
    Thanks for such a great message and you are bringing back so many Nebraska memories for me. I had no ideas kolaches were so popular in Texas!

  10. After graduating high school I lived in Burleson County Texas for a few years (Think Bryan-College Station Texas area).
    My mother lived in a tiny (400ish people) town named SNOOK (much Czech heritage, although my family is not Czech). On the main street in Snook there is a kolache bakery.
    They have the fruit kolaches which are similar to a thumbprint cookie (where the pastry is baked around the fruit filling (which is open on top and exposed).
    The cheese and meat kolaches are more of a dinner roll style with the cheese (yum) hiding inside (closed on all sides).
    That is the extent of my knowledge of them; I don’t know about the origins of the 2 styles.

  11. Surprisingly, this very subject came up this week in Cincinnati Ohio. I found a store called the “Kolache Factory” and stumbled in on Saturday looking for what I know as kolaches from my native Cleveland. Seeing none, I asked if they were sold out. The woman with the mustache just smiled and asked what I meant by a kolache. I explained that they were made from squares of yeast dough, filled with jam or poppyseed; nut paste whatever and 2 of the ends were folded towards each other. About 2 inches in size. She then showed me the shelves of square unfolded rather large yeast dough pastries they called kolaches. It appears that regions of Eastern Europe all had their own interpretations and it depended on where your ancestors were from. So, even the ones you describe David, did not sound like “my” kolaches. They are very easy to make; check out http://www.portcityinn.com/html/kolache.html or http:foodownunder.com/cgi-bin/recipet.cgi

  12. I’m a kolache baker from Nebraska & just stumbled (quite late, too, I might add) across your post. If any of you ever have the urgent need of a poppy seed kolache, feel free to let me know. I’m a college student and sell kolache at the farmer’s markets in Lincoln, Nebraska to pay my tuition. I sell about 700 each weekend, as well as homemade bread. We sell poppy seed, prune, apricot, cherry, blackberry (no joke!), raspberry, lemon, and even peanut butter!
    I was kinda sad to see the Kolache Factory site; kolaches are a cool, distinct food, and it makes me a little worried to see them franchised and homogenized that way. I did really dig their marketing approach (Donut, schomut. Eat a Kolache! That’s brilliant!).
    Regards,
    Tracy

  13. I totally get what you all are saying. I grew up in a czech family and my stepmother is polish. Two different interpretations of kolaches, but nothing like I’ve seen at the Kolache Factory. These look a little bizarre to me. And not at all the sweet airy dough I remember. But maybe I’ll be pleasantly suprised.

  14. I also grew up on kolaches and I make them everyear for Christmas. I just got back from visiting my Mother in Cleveland and I loaded up on the ‘Solo’ fillings that are so much cheaper in Cleveland than they are in Florida. Let me know if you need the recipe.
    My Grandmother made them for us all the time and now my Mother makes them every Christmas and I do as well. My favorite ones are the almond, raspberry, and apricot. My Grandmother also made a nut filling with walnuts for hers as well and they are sooooo yummy. My favorite used to be poppyseed, but the almond has taken the lead.

  15. Hello….I have been reading your comments because I grew up here in Prague, OK. I am not Czech, but have many friends who are. I make Kolaches for my family, who come from all over on the first Saturday in May each year, the day of our Kolache Festival. Today, I made five dozen Kolaches, poppyseed and apricot. I used ground poppyseeds and dried apricots. I make everything from scratch, and I wish you could taste them. They are awesome. I am putting them in the freezer for my large family who will be here on that day. I also plan to make Klobasneks. I can understand how some of you are confused about the difference between the Kolache and the Klobasnek. I would love to make my own Klobase (like the ones Leo Moore made in the 50’s, when I was in high school here in Prague.) I knew him well, and his was wonderful. If any of you can give me the recipe, I would certainly appreciate it. Enjoyed reading all of your comments.

  16. When did the Kolache’s start having icing?
    My grandmother (from Poland) and her mother never made theirs with icing. This seems to be a modern thing, when I was growing up icing was for cakes. The icing takes away from the taste of the poppyseed or nut.
    I make them the way my mother and grandmother taught me; lots of filling with raisins, dough rolled tight not loose so it looked round and not like a strudel.

  17. Mike Moore has contracted with a packing Company in Perkins to remake his Father Leo’s Recipie. You can purchase it at IGA in Prague. I have tried it and it is nice and spicy. I would have to say its good klobase because I havent ever had anything bad from the Moores. They cook and smoke pretty darn good.