Waco, Texas is a special place. Modest & quaint, halfway between Austin and Dallas, Waco is the home of the Baylor Bruisers, one of my customers, and Chip and Joanna Gains. I briefly visited this week, and while I was only in Waco for a short time, I was sure to make time for two things: local fare and the Magnolia Market.
I’ll start with the Magnolia Market :) Recently in the spotlight as the home to the popular show “Fixer Upper”, Chip and Joanna Gains host an incredibly popular HGTV home improvement series, turning run down and dilapidated Waco homes into real estate gems, remodeled with ‘open concept’ floorplans and decorated with ‘French Countryside’ interiors. Their successful show has turned into an enterprise, including their family farm, a full city block in downtown Waco which is home to their market and two huge silos, their $1000/ night bed and breakfast, and their soon to open bakery. Josh and I watch their show regularly and I absolutely had to make a visit to their market while I was in the area.
While actually onsite and talking with my customer, I learned that this part of Texas is home to Czech heritage, and that the Kolache is one of the defining foods of the city. I had actually never heard of this regional fav before, so I did some research. A kolache, in its more traditional form, is a soft, sweet Czech breakfast pastry topped with fruit or cream cheese. However, savory kolaches, frequently featuring sausage, have become a Waco breakfast staple. I made my sure my onsite breakfast one day was a sausage kolache from a local bakery; it featured the same soft, sweet dough wrapped around a link of sausage. My first thought was: Josh would like this.
So upon returning home from Waco I’ve embarked on making my own version of these gems. Sporting my Waco shirt and channeling Jojo Gains, I warmed yeast to the prefect temperature for yeast’s liking, and patiently nurtured a batch of the characteristically sweet bread dough. After an overnight rest in the fridge and sufficient rising, I wrapped it around the breakfast meat option we had on hand: not sausage but bacon. Along with some egg and some white cheddar with basil, these turned out to be INCREDIBLE and 100 times better than the sausage variety that I tried from the local bakery while in Waco. The dough is sweet, the filling combination is salty and magical when paired with the dough. Because of the homemade bread, these were quite the time-consuming process and I was honestly beginning to get frustrated that I had ever set out to make them… but just one bite into the final product and I knew they were well worth it. Try them, they’re definitely worth the time, and Chip and Joanna would be proud.
Sporting my Waco gear while hard at work :)
- For the dough:
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
- 1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
- 2 large eggs
- 5/8 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 3/4 – 5 1/2 cups flour
- For the filling:
- Good cheese, sliced
- Fresh scrambled egg
- Crispy bacon
- Sprinkle the yeast over warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let proof for 5 minutes, until foamy/creamy.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the milk, melted butter, 2 eggs, sugar, and salt until mixed thoroughly.
- Add the flour in two batches (start with the low amount) and mix only until just combined. The dough will be tacky but should be firm enough to crawl up the dough hook. Add additional flour as necessary.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1-2 hours, until dough has doubled.
- Punch down and refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Divide dough into ~2.5 inch balls (I weighed mine at 2.5 oz each) and set on a lined baking sheet.
- Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Flatten each dough ball and top with a slice of bacon, a few slices of cheese, and a piece of egg on top.
- Wrap the dough around the fillings, pinching the edges together and placing seam-side down on the baking sheet.
- Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, while preheating oven to 375.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned.
- Let the kolache cool for 20 minutes and serve.
- Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.