Spinach & Feta Kolaches

Kolaches are on my menu usually at least a few times a week. Being a very traditional Slovak pastry, I teach classes on kolaches and bake them for my friends who always expect some when they come over ho say hi

Kolaches are a simple comfort snack and back home even a common lunch accompanied with a glass of milk. Most usually I fill kolaches with a variety of sweet fillings (from jams through sweet cheese to chocolate filling) but recently I started to experiment more with savory filling options. Out of all I tried so far I simply can’t get enough of a combination of fresh spinach, feta cheese and garlic. Kolaches filled with these three simple ingredients usually disappear even faster than those sweet ones : ) My common baking-class advice to try to resist from biting into hot, out-from-the-oven kolaches somehow doesn’t work here. You’ll see why once you make them

I make a slightly different dough for savory kolaches compared to those filled with sweet filling. Besides the butter I add here a tiny bit of vegetable oil for even fluffier dough. Further, I shape savory kolaches differently as well. Instead of small round buns (typical shape of sweet kolaches) I fold the dough over the filling and press it to the sides to hold together. Savory kolaches are easier to bake as well – the filling is rather thick, solid and less liquid so you can be more generous with amount of the filling and not to worry about licking/ oozing out as the pastry bakes

A few tips before you start baking:

  • make sure to prove your dough properly, at least for 60 minutes (easily for 90 if your place is rather colder)
  • the amount of liquids/ flour might be slightly different than stated in the recipe so feel free to add more milk/ flour based on the texture of your dough, but! Try to resist from adding unnecessary amount of flour – the more flour the tougher & less airy dough
  • when shaping kolaches, make sure to really seal them well so the filling will not ooze out while they bake
  • you can substitute a part of AP flour with Spelt flour (I usually substitute 1/3 of total amount with Spelt but feel free to go higher with this ratio)

INGREDIENTS

(makes ~ 12 Kolaches)

Dough

380-400g Flour, AP

200g Milk

50g Sugar, white

7g Active Dry/ 18g Fresh Yeasts

60g Butter, unsalted & softened

1 Egg, whole

A pinch of Salt

Filling

170g Feta Cheese

Handful of Spinach

1 Tablespoon Cream Cheese

1-2 Tablespoons Sour Cream

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder

Other

1 Egg, whole (for Eggwash)

White Sesame Seeds, optional


METHOD

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine together 100g of Milk with 20g of Sugar and warm it up in the microwave or on the stovetop. The mixture should be warm enough for the sugar to dissolve but it shouldn’t be boiling. Add your Yeasts –18g of fresh or 7g of active dry and stir a few times (dry yeasts won’t dissolve right away, they will float on the top of the milk and that’s how it should be). Cover the bowl with a clean towel/ beeswax wrap/ clean plate and let it activate at room temperature for some 10-15 minutes

2. In the meantime, in a bowl of your standing mixer/ bigger mixing bowl combine together 380g of Flour, rest 30g of Sugar and a pinch of Salt. Mix just to combine

3. Pour in the rest 100g of Milk, crack in 1 whole Egg and add a yeast-mixture that now should be frothy and bubbly with a strong yeasty smell. Start kneading either with your hand (~10 minutes) or with a mixer attached with a hook (~ 5 – 8 minutes) on a lower to medium speed. The dough must be well incorporated, hold nicely together with no flour on the bottom of the bowl and without sticking to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add more milk. If it’s sticking to the sides of the bowl even after several minutes of kneading, add a little bit of flour (1-2 tablespoons)

4. Cut your butter into smaller pieces. Now add all 60g of Butter at once (at room temperature) and keep kneading on a higher speed for another ~ 5 minutes with the mixer or ~ 8 – 10 minutes with your hand. The dough is well kneaded when it’s very elastic and stretchy and it shouldn’t be tearing right away when stretched & pulled away. Cover your dough and let it rest and prove at room temperature for at least 1 hour or until double in size (from my experience in winter it might take up to 2 hours)

5. In the meantime prepare your Spinach & Feta Filling. In a pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of Olive oil and once hot, add your spinach. Sauté spinach until soft for 2-3 minutes then season with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Mix in some cream cheese and/ or sour cream to reach a creamy consistency. Set aside 

6. Once your dough is well-proved & doubled its size, take it out from the bowl on a slightly flour-dusted work desk. Divide the dough into two halves so it will be easier for you to work with it. Roll out the dough approximately 5mm or 1/4 of the inch thick. Cut the dough into squares and place a generous amount of the filling in the center of each square. Fold half of the dough over the filling and seal/ close the bun with your fingertips. Then go around the seal one more time with the fork (this will create a nice design and ensure that the bun is very well sealed)

7. Preheat the oven to 360° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celsius. Egg wash your kolaches and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Place kolaches on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool down for a minute, drizzle with some melted butter enjoy and smile : )

Dobrú chuť,
Lenka

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s