Sunday, July 12, 2015

Peach Kolaches

I have been gathering recipes that include peaches for quite some time, however, the season is so short it is hard to fit all of them in. Which means I had to make a decision among the vast amount of recipes I have.

I finally settled on this particular one. It was actually the picture that sold me. It is on the back cover of the book and inside as well. I can't help thinking that I have passed on making some really good recipes due to no picture. In reality, I should not dwell on it too long. After all, in this day and age, if the recipe truly is "all that" then the picture should be there.

Rebecca Rather really has hit a home run with this particular recipe. The bread part has the perfect sweetness with the flavor and texture that we all expect in a kolache. Also, the idea of the peaches in the middle is pure baking genius. After one of these, you will never think of kolaches the same way.

The peaches are mixed with peach jam and Rebecca suggests Fischer and Wieser brand. As I scanned the rows of different jam, I did come across that brand. However, by some delicious act of fate, there was just Amaretto Pecan Peach Jam in that brand. This was going to be one flavorful filling! I was also drawn to the big white peaches, which proved to be a good choice. They were large and when cut, sweet juice dripped out of them.

So, act quickly and take the most advantage of peach season this year. With recipes like this, you will be most likely to run out than have too many on hand. Be sure that when making these you allow time for the dough to rise. There are 3 sessions, totaling a minimum of 6 hours. However, you can do the 2nd session as overnight instead of the 4 hours.

Peach Kolaches
adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

8 1/2 cups flour
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp of salt
2 cups milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs

1 cup peach jam
2 cups pitted chopped peaches

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tbs butter (chilled and diced)

For the dough, the warm components will need to be made first. Start with a small size saucepan.  Pour in the milk and place over medium heat and let warm up until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and place a candy thermometer in the milk to register the temperature while cooling. The milk is ready to use once it cools down to about 110 to 115 degrees. While that is cooling, sprinkle the yeast into the bowl of lukewarm water.  Stir and then let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. The last warm ingredient is the butter.  It can either be melted in the microwave or in a saucepan. This component will also need to cool for about 5 minutes after melted.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk together. Whisk in the salt, sugar and melted butter. Once blended stir in the warm yeast. Then mix in the milk.

Add 2 cups of the flour to the wet mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix until blended. Continue with the same process until all flour has been blended. As it starts getting thicker, you may want to switch to using your hands to for blending the flour into the batter. Once this process is complete, oil the interior of a bowl and shape the dough into a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place to double in size for about 1-2 hours. To test for correct completion time, touch the dough lightly and see if it still retains the dent. If it does, this rise session is complete. 

Punch dough down once or twice. Cover again and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. You can also let stay in the refrigerator overnight.

Line a 12 x 17 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Then grease the interior sides and corners. To make the filling, place the chopped peaches and the jam in a medium size bowl and mix until evenly blended.  For the streusel, just blend all the ingredients together in a small food processor until it is sandy and clumps together in your hands. Set both aside.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 16-18 even pieces and shape each piece into a ball. The ball should be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Make an indentation or form a round biscuit with a well in the center. Bear in mind that the dough will rise again, so make sure the well is significant. Place each formed piece on the prepared pan.  The end result should be a pan with 3 kolaches across and 6 down.  If you ended up with 2 more, place those in a small, low lipped parchment lined pan.

Fill the kolaches evenly with the peach filling. Cover rolls with a towel and let rise again in a warm place for about another hour.  At the 1/2 hour mark, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Uncover the kolaches and sprinkle with the streusel.  Place the kolaches in the oven and bake until golden brown on top.  Bake time should be about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes prior to serving.  These can be served warm or at room temperature.

Tips and Notes:
1. The rise time in the fridge created a dry top on the dough.  It did not impact the flavor, but next time I would brush lightly with oil before refrigerating.

2. My dough was formed into ashtray type holders for filling and I kept the filling from mounding above the dough. I noticed in the pictures from the author, the filling was mounded above the dough. The end result is spill over. Since the rolls are touching, the spill over will not be in the pan. It will make the peaches more noticeable and give the rolls more coverage. How you fill and create the dough wells are personal preference.

3. Really juicy peaches will release of lot of the juice when mixed with the jam, the more they set the more juices are released.  If this happens, be sure to drain the excess liquid off, you do not want to use a soupy filling in the kolaches.
                                         **LAST YEAR: Frosted Banana Bars**