Kolaches and Texas Culture: Exploring What Makes this Texas Treat

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Kolaches are as much a part of Texas as barbecue, but what exactly are these treats? To discover the answer, you have to go beyond the doughnut shops and into Texas history. You may be surprised at what makes a genuine kolache.

Kolaches vs Klobasneks

Klobasnek Delicious? Yes. Kolache? No.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If you go into almost any doughnut shop in Texas, you will find kolaches on the menu, but these may not be authentic. In many cases, meat-loving Texans use kolache dough to surround a sausage link, erroneously calling it a kolache. These are actually klobasneks. While delicious, please don’t call these pigs in a blanket kolaches. Even variations on wrapped sausages that completely encase ground sausage or eggs are still considered klobasneks. So, if a filling almost completely wrapped in dough is not a kolache, what is?

What is a Kolache?

Genuine Czech kolaches with jam

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Genuine kolaches use a sweet yeasty dough, like your favorite sweet dinner rolls. The baker creates a well at the center of either a square or round of the dough, into which he or she scoops the filling. Traditional fillings for these pastries include fruit purees, cream cheese, and poppy seeds. Notice that sausage, ham, chicken enchiladas, and other savory fillings are not included. Generally, these are sweet breakfast pastries.

Why Does the Texas Hill Country Have Kolaches?

Little Gretel a Czech Restaurant in the Heart of the Hill Country that Serves Kolaches and Other Czech Favorites

Photo: Facebook/Little Gretel

Though the nexus for kolache bakeries and Czech restaurants in Texas is just to the east of the Hill Country, Texans all over the state crave these breakfast treats. Just as other European groups came to Texas, Czech people flocked to the state in the late 1800s, seeking the same refuge and freedom others wanted. They established small, close-knit communities in central Texas, many of which still harbor the original immigrants’ ancestors. Not only did they bring their culture but they also brought their food, including these favorite breakfast treats of the Hill Country.