Grandma Jo’s Kolache

A Tray of Kolatche

This was not the initial introduction for this recipe.  Crafted two weeks ago, the original was black and grim and utterly fitting of my mind at the time. I write best when I’m in one of those melancholy moods – the words soar off the page, even while the rest of me steeps in the mire. 

But in this morning’s dusky hours, humming between the cool sheets, I realize my gothic words no longer fit my current mood.  In the first version, I was a victim, lamenting, keening and tortured.  Today, I no longer suffer. A strong and determined bird ascending from the ashes, I will survive the surging fires that 2020 has kindled at my feet, smiling, irrepressible and radiant, as I rise towards great heights. 

Finally, after weeks of failed yeasted sweet dough recipes that were never quiet right, I’ve created these kolaches, based on my friend’s grandma’s recipe.  Here’s to brighter, delicious days ahead!

Grandma Jo’s Kolache

  • Servings: About 2 Dozen
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This recipe was inspired by my friend, Pamela’s, grandmother’s kolache recipe.


– 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
– 1 ¼ cup whole milk (105-110⁰ F)
– ½ cup sugar
– 2 egg yolks
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– 3 – 4 cups bread flour
– ⅛ teaspoon mace or ½ teaspoon vanilla
– 1 ½ t. salt
– 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
Raspberry Jam
– 7 oz. frozen raspberries
– 1 cup sugar
Cheese Filling
– 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
– ⅓ cup sugar
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
Posipka Topping
– 3 Tablespoons sugar
– 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


  1. Make the kolache: In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm milk and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla (if using). Add milk mixture. Switch to a dough hook, add 3 cups bread flour, mace (if using) and salt and mix on medium speed. Add additional flour (up to 4 cups total) until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add unsalted butter, a little bit at a time and mix on medium speed until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Make the fillings while dough proofs.
  2. Make the jam: Combine the frozen raspberries and sugar in a small deep-sided saucepan and bring to boil over a medium heat. When the sugar is melted, increase the heat and boil for another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool and set.
  3. Make the cheese filling: Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the posipka topping: Sir together all ingredients until topping resembles rough sand. Set aside.
  5. Once dough is proofed, roll into 24 1½ oz. balls, flatten slightly and place on a silpat or parchment-lined sheet pan about 1½” apart. Cover and let proof again for 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Make a large well in each with fingers. Fill with about 1 Tablespoon of cheese filling. Dollop cheese with about 1 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle kolaches with posipka. Bake for 12-15 minutes until brown.

Unbaked Kolache ready for the oven

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