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Sourdough Surprises: Kolaches

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I don't know if you would call what I made kolaches. The round ones (pictured above) – filled with passion fruit custard – were humungous! I've seen pictures of authentic kolaches and they certainly weren't as big as a newborn baby's head.
That aside, I loved this month's Sourdough Surprises baked goods. I made the kolaches twice, first filling them with a poppy seed-date paste that I had coincidentally made just a few days prior to the announcement of the challenge, and the second time with passion fruit custard and a hazelnut cream.
I also got to use my new brownie/lamington mould. (Seriously, how hard is it to cut out squares from cake? But it's one of those unnecessary things I had to get when I saw it.) I baked those a little too long though so they were a little firmer than I liked.
But what I was happiest about this challenge was that I challenged myself to develop a sourdough sweet enriched dough that I like. I have been working on a naturally raised dough for a while, changing the percentage of the components each time, and I hit the right formula with this one. It has a touch of saffron and cardamom in it 
Kolaches baked in a brownie/lamington mould. These are filled with poppy seed-date paste and topped with cream cheese.
Saffron Sourdough Kolaches
Makes 15

45g mother starter (100% hydration)
75g bread flour
75g water

Mix the sponge ingredients in a jug, cover with cling film and set aside until well risen and bubbly, about 8 hours.

Final dough
Pinch of saffron threads (about ½ tsp)
¾ tbsp boiling water
250g bread flour
25g sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cardamom powder
⅛ tsp active dry yeast
All the sponge (about 180g)
1 medium egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
60g butter, cubed and softened

Fillings and toppings
Date poppy seed paste
Cream cheese, passion fruit custard, nut creams, etc

Place the saffron threads in a small bowl and pour in the boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir the bread flour, sugar, salt, cardamom powder and dry yeast together. Add the sponge, egg and vanilla, and stir together to form a shaggy mixture. Add just enough water (1-2 tbsp) to bring the bits together into a firm and knobbly ball. Cover and leave for 10 to 15 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed.
Smear the softened butter on the dough and mix together it in until fully incorporated (squeeze with the whole hand and fold several times). 
Rub some water onto a work surface (marble is best). Place the dough on the surface and using wet hands, knead the dough until soft, smooth and elastic, wetting your hands occasionally. This will take 8-10 minutes. Form into a ball and leave on the work surface covered with the mixing bowl until tripled in size. In warm weather, this takes 4½ hours.
Deflate the dough, for into a ball again and place in a greased mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a large plastic bag or cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (30-35g each) and form each one into a tight ball. Place on a a parchment-lined baking sheet or into well-greased muffin or brownie moulds. Set aside for 10 minutes, then make a wide indentation in the centre and fill with desired filling.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the rolls, 20-25 minutes. The tops will be lightly golden.
Remove from oven and cool for five minutes.


  1. Oh my gosh, the color on those (from the saffron?) is beautiful, and I bet the flavor from the saffron and cardamom was amazing. Great, great job!!

  2. I MUST try this recipe. Your saffron and cardamom flavored dough sounds intriguing and I just bought that brownie mould.

  3. You had me at passion fruit custard, and they don't look too big to me!

  4. Oh, wow! They look great! And I love the square-welled pan :)

  5. Love that pan! I was so under-the-thumb to follow the recipe exactly for the dough - so I am really inspired by your additions, they sound and look great.

  6. I don't know why, but I too thought that squares were the way to go


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