Jalapeño and Cheddar Sausage Kolaches
To me, jalapeño and cheddar sausage is the king of kolaches. This is the kolache I always have to order when I'm dining on these stuffed sweet dough treats, which found their way to Texas via Czech immigrants. When I made brisket kolaches awhile back, as good as those were, I just wished I was eating my beloved sausage ones. So when I worked on refining my jalapeño and cheddar sausage recipe in the spring, there was no doubt in my mind that some of the leftovers would be transformed into kolaches.
Now the sausage kolaches I love so much are made with with a link that more resembles a short hot dog and often the jalapeños and cheddar are added into the middle of the dough along with the meat. For this recipe though, I was starting with jalapeño and cheddar flavored sausages that were stuffed into the thicker hog casings and formed into long links before being smoked. So to make them into a more appropriate size for kolaches, I cut them into roughly two-inch sections.
The first time I made kolaches I needed a dough recipe to use as a starting point, which I utilized Lisa Fain's from Homesick Texan—my go-to site for anything Tex-Mex. I was so happy with the flavor and texture of that dough, that I felt no need to adjust the recipe at all, or try something different, at this second go round. The recipe starts with warming milk and butter together, and combining those with flour, sugar, yeast, and salt before letting it sit for 30 minutes. At the end of this time, the volume of the mixture may have risen a bit, but mostly you're looking for the dough to have gained a kind of slight porous appearance from the formation of air pockets from the yeast.
Next, additional flour is added along with eggs and oil before the dough is kneaded, which I used my KitchenAid to do the work for me. This dough is kind of deceptive because looks very loose and not quite right at first, but as the gluten develops, the dough gains more shape and structure, but it's still not as firm as some doughs you may be used to. The dough doesn't really take shape until it's turned out on a floured work surface and formed into a smooth ball by hand. Once I had that part done, I placed the dough ball in a large bowl, covered, and allowed it to rest until doubled in volume.
While that was happening, I prepared the remaining ingredients. To be honest, since the sausages I was using already contained jalapeños and cheddar, I could have used the link alone to deliver the full flavor experience I was after. I wanted to boost those two components though, so I opted to add extra of both into the mix, which is more akin to the inspirational sausage kolaches anyway.
After a couple of hours, the dough had risen nicely, so I turned it out of the bowl and divided it up into twelve portions as equal as I could get by just eyeballing them.
I then assembled the kolaches by taking one of the small dough portions and flattening it out into a roughly four inch round in my hand. I then place some diced jalapeños, grated mild cheddar, and a portioned link in the center of the dough, folded the dough around the stuffing, and pinched the dough until it was well sealed.
The kolaches each went onto a parchment-lined baking sheet as they were done, seem side down. The one thing I changed up from my first kolache baking experience to this one was to brush the dough with an egg wash instead of butter. This is really a matter of personal preference, but I'm most used to the kolaches I get having a glossy appearance and the butter just didn't provide that in way that an egg wash can.
Then into a 375°F oven the entire tray went, and I kept and eye on how they were browning starting around twelve minute mark, removing the tray as the majority of the kolaches were a golden color.
They're a bit too hot to eat when they first come out of the oven, and that sweet fresh baked bread smell they were emitting made it hard to wait a little bit for them to cool down. Once they did though, I was instantaneously rendered incredibly happy. They were not exactly like the jalapeño and cheddar sausages I'm used to, but they were close enough to leave me feeling like I had woken up in Texas and a family member had just walked through the door with a box of kolaches for breakfast. I was also very happy I added the extra jalapeños and cheddar because they ended up having the right representation in the final product, providing and an appropriate boost of fruitiness, heat, and contrasting cooling creaminess. Since these represented what I consider to be the height of the kolache, I almost feel like I don't need to do more recipe development in this area, but I'm sure that if I keep this site going, some new novel kolache ideas will pop into my head and these treats I love so much will find their way back in.
Jalapeño and Cheddar Sausage Kolaches
- Yield 6 servings
- Prep 30 Minutes
- Inactive 2 Hours 15 Minutes
- Cook 15 Minutes
- Total 3 Hours
- For the Dough
- 227 grams whole milk (1 cup)
- 110 grams unsalted butter, divided (8 tablespoons)
- 420 grams all-purpose flour, divided (4 cups)
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 5 grams instant yeast (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 grams kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- 27 grams vegetable oil (2 tablespoons)
- 2 large egg yolks
- For the Kolache Filling
- 4 6-inch cooked jalapeño and cheddar sausages, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6oz Longhorn or mild cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh jalapeño, seeded (about 2 medium jalapeños)
- 12 slices thinly sliced fresh jalapeño (optional)
- To make the dough: Place milk and 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Continue to heat until butter has melted and milk begins to steam. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add in 180 grams of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt and stir until no dry flour remains. Cover bowl and let sit until bubbles form and dough looks porous, about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil and egg yolks. Pour egg mixture into bowl with dough and stir to combine. Add in remaining 240 grams of flour and, using a dough hook, knead dough on medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, knead dough by hand on a lightly floured cutting board until smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer, remove dough from bowl and knead by hand on a lightly floured cutting board into a smooth ball.
- Place dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in volume, between 1 and 3 hours.
- To make the kolaches: Turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and divide into 12 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and stretch it out into a roughly 4-inch round. In the middle of dough round, place 1 2-inch piece of sausage, 1/2 an ounce of grated cheese, and 1 teaspoon of chopped jalapeños. Bring sides of dough up around filling and pinch close to seal. Place filled dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down, and press a single jalapeño slice into top of dough (if using). Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients. Cover filled kolaches with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
- While the filled dough is rising, preheat oven to 375°F. Metl remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Remove towel and brush tops and sides of kolaches with about 1/2 of the melted butter. Transfer baking sheet to oven and cook until lightly browned, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and brush kolaches again with remaining melted butter. Let kolaches cool for 5 minutes, then serve while warm. Store leftover kolaches in refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheating as needed.
Kolache dough recipe by Homesick Texan