I did a bad thing.

Ham and Cheese Kolaches
I learned to make kolaches yesterday. Oh, this is bad. Not the fruit ones. Ham and Cheese, like the ones I regularly send my DH out to the local donut shop for, at around $1 each. These are apparently a Southeast Texas Czech-influenced community thing. Other places around the country (and world), a kolache (with various spellings and pronunciations) refers to a sweet Danish-like pastry. Down here in Houston and the surrounding hillcountry areas, it means both the fruit filled and the savory meat filled. The fruit ones usually look a lot like a Danish, but puffier, while the meat ones are truly “filled” – with the meat, cheese, or other fillings completely encased by the slightly sweet dough. This is apparently related to a Czech pastry called “klobasnek”, but as someone remarked, “The Klobasnek Factory” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I used the recipe linked to above. It is a very good recipe, very close to what I want, but it was certainly an object lesson. Don’t go strictly by a baking recipe developed by someone in New York City when you live in Houston, Texas, and a rainstorm just ended. The humidity was at its peak, and it took fully 5 cups of flour to get the dough to a point where I could actually knead it instead of have it run off the counter. I like the sponge idea (she makes one, but doesn’t call it that). And from watching Alton Brown make sourdough, I know that I can make a sponge the night before, and stick it in the fridge and it will be nicely developed in the morning (and consequently take an hour off the 3 hour timescale for this – or at least have it happen while I am sleeping). So, I may do that this weekend.

Or I may do it today. So, have I told you about the ratings scale the boys came up with for rating recipes on the Zaar? 5 stars to them means, “Scout is not allowed to make this recipe too often, because we will inhale it on sight.” Kolaches are totally 5 stars. Maybe 6. ^.^

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