Episode 11 Hilah’s Texas Kitchen: Kolache!

(I know everyone says “kolaches” but I think it’s really “kolache” in the plural and just “kolach” in the singular? And I am a stickler for grammar, although I say “kolaches” all the time. Do you know the truth? Let me know!)


At any rate, if you’ve never driven down I-35 between Austin and Waco, you might not know about the tiny town of West, an old Czech settlement that is famous for their kolache bakeries. The Czech Stop and adjoining Little Czech Bakery are right off the highway and if you go just a couple blocks east of the highway down Main Street, you’ll come to the Village Bakery. Every Labor Day weekend, West holds West Fest — a prime example of small town Texas fairs. There’s carnival rides and games, many polka bands, costume folk dance teams, Czech history displays, kolache, corndogs, sausage sticks, and of course PIVO!

czech stop little czech bakery

West was in the news over the summer when a fertilizer plant on the north side of town exploded. Many firefighters and first responders were killed. The plant was near schools and homes, which were severely damaged by the heat and shock of the explosion. During the days immediately following, the Czech Stop and Bakery supplied food and coffee for rescue workers around the clock. The citizens of West came together to shelter their family, friends, and co-workers and nearby towns opened their schools for the children. A town like West is hard to find these days — tiny, tenacious, and gracious. We had a lovely day there at the bakery and in the town. If you’re ever on I-35, be sure to stop in! Get some kolaches or bread, have a beer at the bar, poke around the antique store, give West a little love.
I promise it will love you right back.

Kolache Recipe



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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 ounce total)
  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 12 ounces dried apricots (or other dried fruit)
  • about 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg


  1. Scald milk by heating in a small pot over medium-low heat for a couple minutes, stirring, until steam rises and tiny bubbles for around the edges. Remove from heat.
  2. Add water and allow to cool to lukewarm (95-105ºF)
  3. Stir in yeast to dissolve and set aside.
  4. Cream butter, sugar, and salt together until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Mix in egg yolks.
  6. Add in the yeast-milk mixture and half the flour.
  7. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the rest of the flour to form a firm dough.
  9. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  10. Meanwhile, make the filling: Chop apricots and combine in a pot with water to cover them and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes until softened. Mash to form a chunky puree. Cool.
  11. Once dough has risen, punch down and knead by hand on a floured surface for a couple of minutes. Divide into 24 balls.
  12. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and cover. Let rise 45 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F.
  14. Press holes in the dough balls to fit a large spoonful of apricot filling and fill each with a couple tablespoons of apricot.
  15. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm
  16. Makes 24

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Previously on Hilah’s Texas Kitchen:

East Texas Oyster Nachos
Breakfast Tacos/Migas
German Soft Pretzel Recipe
San Antonio Puffy Tacos
Chicken Fried Steak at Ranch 616
Classic German Chocolate Cake
Port A Shrimp Boil
Grapefruit Sorbet in “The Valley”
Goat farm and Goat Cheese Salad
Lockhart BBQ Beef Ribs


  1. Kendra on August 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    That sweet old lady made me smile when she said “horse and buggy times”. Nice video as always. Their Kolache and yours look delicious.

    • Hilah on August 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Gosh, she almost broke my heart there, Kendra! Thank you for writing. Always a pleasure to hear from you. xo

  2. Ron Lamoureux on August 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Hilah is for real ,with a down to earth way of cooking ,i have tried a few recipes great tasting food and we all understand what she’s saying ,,i love her ” )

    • Hilah on August 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Thank you, Ron! So glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes. 🙂

      • Babette Witherspoon on December 19, 2021 at 10:22 am

        What is the topping sprinkled on baked fruit kolaches?

        • Ty Welch on January 11, 2023 at 3:26 pm


  3. Annie on August 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Great video! My Czech grandma made “kolacky” that were much smaller than the beautiful ones you made. I have her hand-written recipe in front of me (a special keepsake as she died over 20 years ago) and she used a shot glass to cut her crust, making tiny little treats! She pronounced one as kolach (as you did in the video), and two or more as ko-loch-key, adding a ‘k’ sound to the end.

    Growing up my favorite were poppyseed, which she made the same as every other kind. My grandma used to make and bring about 400 kolacky to every funeral she went to. At her own funeral, more than one elderly woman lamented, “Who is going to make the kolacky now?”

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Now that I have her recipe out, I think I just might have to make some!

    • Hilah on August 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Annie!
      Thank you so much for the proper pronunciation! That is wonderful that you have the original copy of your grandma’s recipe. I have a collection of handwritten recipes from my grandma and her mother, and they are such a treasure to look at and to cook from. Really brings back memories.
      I love the tiny shot glass-sized kolache idea. I’m definitely going to make some tiny ones next time. They would look so pretty with different, colorful fillings peeking out. I need to find a good poppyseed filling recipe, too. Those are my second-favorite kolache, after apricot.
      Thanks for writing and sharing a little of your family history!

    • Tanya on June 4, 2022 at 6:09 am

      Annie could you share your grandma’s recipe?
      Thank you

  4. Rosa Savage on August 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    It seams that Kolache, kolace, kolacky or kolach are the singular. Kolaches is the plural.
    Very good recipe by the way! 🙂

    • Hilah on August 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Thanks, Rosa! 🙂

    • Elza (from Bohemia) on May 13, 2019 at 12:01 am

      Hi, in czech
      – koláč -> kolach [kolaach – long “a”] = a big one
      – koláček -> kolachek [kolaachek – long “a”] = a small one
      – koláče -> kolache [kolaache] = a big ones
      – koláčky -> kolachk(e)y [kolaachkey] = a small ones

  5. Ashley on August 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    First, I love your show! I have my great grandmothers kolache recipe with fillings. Two of my favorites are the traditional cottage cheese filling and poppyseed. Here they are:
    Poppyseed filling
    1 1/2 cups ground poppy seeds
    1 cup sugar
    2 cups milk
    2 T butter
    1 T flour mixed in water
    Combine poppyseeds, sugar, and milk. Stir ok medium heat until it starts to get thick. Add butter and flour/water. Stir until its thick then let cool before filling.

    Cheese filling
    Blend together the following (I use an immersion blender)
    One pint dry or drained cottage cheese
    One egg yolk
    Pinch of salt
    Up to 1/2 cup sugar
    Splash of vanilla

    Hope you enjoy!!

    • Hilah on August 20, 2013 at 10:04 am

      YES!!! Thank you SO much, Ashley! This is perfect! I even have a bag of poppy seeds in the freezer at home, waiting for me. I’m so excited to try these. Thank you!! 😀

  6. j on August 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Love the song in the video, what is it?

    • Hilah on August 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I’ll have to look it up again and get back to you!

  7. Great Stone Face on October 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    It looks like Hilah’s Texas Kitchen scooped the New York Times!

  8. Sarah on March 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the great video and recipe! My family has be stopping for kolache at the Czech Stop since they opened. My favorite filling is the apple, so I’m wondering how you suggest preparing it? Would you use fresh or dried apple slices?

    • Hilah on March 3, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Hi Sarah!
      Happy you are excited about this. I’d try using dried apples: chop and add to a pot with enough water to cover plus sugar, cinnamon, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook this several minutes until thick then cool and use to fill.

  9. Laura on November 30, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I just started making kolache again and I can’t remember how I got the hole to stay a hole for the filling. I have tried several different ways, but it always seems to fill back in and then the filling spills out. Any tips or tricks? I’m thinking the next time I bake them (which will be this weekend) I will pinch the dough out – removing it completely – to form the hole.

    • Hilah on November 30, 2016 at 6:49 am

      Hi Laura!
      I poke the hole and then fill it before baking. That keeps the shape better. The latter half of the video shows how I do it.

  10. Kathi on September 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    My husband wants to try your kolache recipe but would like to make them with the cream cheese filling. Could you please give the recipe for that filling.

    Than you

    • Hilah on September 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Hi Kathi,
      You can mix 8 ounce cream cheese + 1/4 cup sugar + 1 egg yolk + vanilla extract or lemon zest for the cream cheese filling

  11. Staci Lee Nelson on November 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Could you replace the milk with lactaid milk?

    • Hilah on November 19, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Of course!

  12. Kristin on March 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Could you share some tips for making something akin to the Hot Chubbie or the klobasnik with cheese? Thanks so much, as always, you rock!

    • Hilah on March 14, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Hi Kristen! At the Czech stop, they use the same dough for both sweet and savory. This kolache dough recipe is just barely sweet so I think you could use it as written. For the Hot Chubbies there, they stuff with a smoked sausage cut down to about 3 inches long, a hefty amount of pickled jalapenos and American cheese. Wrap all that up like a little bundle and put the seam-side down on the baking sheet. Let rise again and bake. I’d start with 14 mins and maybe go a few minutes more.

  13. Rachel M on July 15, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    I’ve tried other recipes and the dough come out all wrong. It’s more sour or just not delicate enough. This recipe came out perfect. I’m moving out of Texas and trying to perfect the kolaches because I know I won’t be able to go to a local donut shop. My edition has ham and Gouda, sausage and cheddar, apple, apple and pecan and cream cheese. Top notch! Thanks for making this public for me to find.

    • Hilah on July 16, 2018 at 8:04 am

      So glad you can make your own kolaches now, Rachel!

  14. Donna Hartley on July 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Just had a kolache in Nashville allegedly made by transplanted Texans (of which I am one). The other bonafide Texan in the restaurant and I said quietly, “this isn’t a ‘real’ kolache.”

    We can’t really put our finger on it, but what do you think distinguishes a kolache from just some dough with filling?

    • Hilah on July 30, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Good question.
      To me, a proper kolache is made with a very rich dough that is also slightly sweet. It should be fluffy and chewy and have a nice sheen to it. If the dough doesn’t have eggs and butter in it, forget it!

  15. rach on September 10, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Your recipe says to use egg yolks but it looked like the video you added the whole egg. Which is correct?

    • Hilah on September 10, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      It’s egg yolks

  16. Mark Filip on December 1, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Hi, I just found your website and want to try the kolaches you did a video on. You did a great job with showing where they make kolaches and talking to people there.
    My question about your kolaches in the video vs the kolaches seen in the video at the place in West.
    Why do yours look so different? Is this a different recipe or process than what is shown in the video where all of the ladies are making them? Thanks!

    • Hilah on December 2, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Hey Mark,
      The fruit kolaches are the same. The bakers were also making sausage and cheese kolaches. Same dough, different filling and you wrap the dough around completely

  17. RUTH Knicely on December 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    I made these Kolache
    My husband really loved them.My question is my late mother in law use to make a rolled cookie similar to your kolache
    I lost her receipe and was wondering if you would have this receipe

    • Hilah on December 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I’m not sure. Are you thinking of thumbprint cookies maybe?

  18. Tiffany Dement on January 13, 2019 at 10:34 am

    I made the kolaches but the bread was very dense not fluffy, could the yeast in the dough cause this

    • Hilah on January 13, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      Could be, Tiffany. Did the dough rise well?

  19. John on February 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Don’t think my dough is rising right, calls for 1 hr 15 minute ride, but lols like it is not doubling in size,

    • Hilah on February 1, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      If it’s gotten somewhat bigger by now, that’s good. It’s probably just cold in your kitchen and it will take longer. If it hasn’t changed size at all, your yeast was probably dead 🙁

      • Jack on October 26, 2020 at 1:58 am

        yeast can also not activate if fluids are too cool, or, you can kill it if fluids are too warm. this recipe calls for active dry yeast, but you can also use cake yeast. if you have a farmer’s market nearby, you might be able to get fresh milk, eggs, and butter. we had a milk cow growing up and my mother made homemade butter, separated the cream, and fresh milk. the Czech ladies in town had a hard time finding these fresh items and mom was popular.

  20. Donna Makovec on September 15, 2020 at 9:31 am

    I previously watched your video without music that plays loud over your voice. you spoke about making your family’s recipe after your visit to The Czech Bakery. i returned to video and could not hear you. would you direct me to find your whole video that I started to watch.
    i am Czech, and would lkve to hear your story, as well as your visit w video at the bakery. Hopefully you continue with you baking your own!!

    • Hilah on September 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Donna, the video at the top of this page works for me with sound and everything. Hope you get to watch it

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