This morning we set out to bake Kolache and what my mother-in-law calls Horn Rolls. My mother-in-law grew up in Wilbur, Nebraska, the official Czech capital of the United States, so both these recipes are rooted in Czech culture. I encountered my first Kolache during my first year of teaching at Centre High School, a consolidated school about 45 miles or so south of Junction City on Highway 77. The area around the school – Lost Springs, Lincolnville, Burdick, Tampa, and Pilsen – was settled by Czech immigrants.
When I began dating my wife, I quickly realized that Kolache were omnipresent at all her family functions. I then learned that my wife's mother was only baker in the family keeping the Kolache tradition alive. With the birth of my daughter, I felt an urgency to learn how to bake Kolache, so that I could preserve the tradition and pass it on to my daughter.
Anyway, the day of baking went well. I'm glad I took the time to bake with my mother-in-law because I don't think I could learn to bake Kolache merely by following the recipe. I'm far from mastering the recipes, but at least I've taken the first step. I just need to take the first steps to document additional family recipes. So many recipes, so little time.
(Cherry, Apricot, and Pineapple Kolache)