Exactly 9 years ago, Stephen and I spent a rainy and snowy week in Paris. We had limited vacation funds, it was freezing, and the weather was an annoying mix of rain and snow. But we had an amazing trip. We had both visited the city in the past and had seen all the major attractions, so we were able to spend a leisurely week walking around the neighborhoods and exploring areas off the beaten path. And of course we ate a ton of cheap but amazing food along the way. One of our favorite finds was a boulangerie that sold an incredible (and cheap!) stuffed bread called brick. We bought several rolls with a variety of meat and vegetarian fillings and couldn’t stop raving about them for the rest of the trip. We later discovered that this is apparently a North African specialty, but it will forever be thought of as a purely Parisian treat in my hazy food memory.
I have yet to find a recipe to make the brick as I remember it, but I discovered the very similar concept of kolache a few years ago. Kolache is a Czech sweet yeasted dough generally filled with fruit or sweetened cheese. They are apparently very popular in Texas (with a large population of people of Czech descent) in both sweet and savory forms. Though these are Czech by way of Texas, the savory form brings me right back to the delicious cold rainy streets of Paris.
Fill these with anything you like. I’m particularly fond of this sausage, jalapeno, and cheese combination, but you could easily make these all vegetarian or mix up the filling to suit your preferences. It’s a delicious sweetened dough stuffed with a filling, what’s not to like?
Sausage Kolache with Jalapenos and Cheese
For the dough:
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup warm milk
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
- 2 large eggs
- 5/8 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 ¾ – 5 ½ cups flour
For the filling:
- Grated sharp cheddar
- Fresh jalapeno slices
- 12-14 oz chicken sausage (or any other type), cooked and cut into small cubes
Add the warm water to the bowl of a standing mixer. Carefully sprinkle the yeast over the water and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should become foamy. If it does not, your yeast has likely gone bad (in which case you should empty out the bowl and try again).
Add a dough hook to the standing mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk, melted butter, eggs, salt, and sugar and mix well, for about 2 minutes. Keep the mixer on low and add the flour in two batches until just combined. Start with 4 ¾ cup flour, add additional flour if needed. You want your dough to be sticky but firm enough to pull away from the sides and move up the dough hook. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in warm place for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled. At this point, punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap again, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and shape into balls. Place the dough ball on parchment paper, cover, and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Flatten each ball and top with jalapeno, a pinch of cheese, and some of the chopped sausage. Wrap the dough around the filling and seal the edges together. Place the dough seam side down on the parchment. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for 25-30 minutes. The rolls should brown nicely, but feel free to add an egg wash for a shiny finish. .
Remove the kolache and let cool before eating. I like these with a bit of mustard, but feel free to experiment with sauces. Enjoy!