I've never had real kolaches, although I've seen them often enough online. They are so delightful in appearance: a golden brown bread roll with a vibrant center that is overflowing with colorful fruits. A plate of these multicolored little suns—what a joy it must be to eat them!
Recently, I was inspired to try making kolaches at home with red bean paste. Red bean paste is a wonderful flavoring: a sweet dessert paste made from red beans and sweetened with sugar. It has a fruity and delicate flavor that is simultaneously earthy and rich, almost like chocolate.
There are so many things that red bean paste goes well in, including layer cakes, pots de crème, ice cream, haystacks, puddings, cheesecake, madeleines, brownies, the traditional sesame balls, and stuffed sweet bread rolls. Red bean paste never fails to impress. So why not use it in kolaches?
It turned out to be a great idea. Kolaches are surprisingly simple, if a bit time-consuming, due to the need for multiple rises.
Eating red bean paste kolaches right out of the oven, warm, maybe with a dusting of powdered sugar, can be addictive. It can be dangerous to have rolls like this, because you can eat them one after another, popping them like candy. Thankfully, this recipe makes a whole slew of them, enough to keep your cravings down for a long time.
I based the bread portion of this recipe on a kolache recipe from Taste of Home.
- 2 packages yeast
- 2 cups milks, warm
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
- 6 cups flour, plus some for dusting and adjusting dough
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg white, for brushing dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (1-pound) package sweetened read bean paste
- powdered sugar (optional)
- Pour the yeast into a small bowl with the warm milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Allow to rest for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- In a large bowl, combine the salt, the rest of the sugar, 6 cups of flour, softened or melted 1/4 cup butter, and egg yolks. Add in the milk and combine until it forms a sturdy dough. Knead it until it is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball.
- In this bowl, grease it with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Place the dough ball back into it, and turn it in the butter until it is covered. Put a kitchen towel over it and leave it to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
- Roll out the dough on a floured counter to a flat plane around 1/2 inch thick. Using a cup or cookie cutter, 2 and 1/2 inches across, punch out the kolaches, repeating until you have used all of the dough. Place these dough balls on two greased baking sheets, and allow them to rise again, for around 1 hour.
- Once they have risen, press an indentation in the center of each kolache and drop a spoonful of the red bean paste into each one. You might not use all of the red bean paste, but it does keep a while in the refrigerator. Use some of the egg white to brush the exposed dough so it will brown nicely when cooked. Place the kolaches into an oven preheated to 350°F for 12 minutes.
- Dust with powdered sugar if one wishes before serving.