Daring Bakers September Challenge: Dvojctihodné / Moravské koláče (Two fillings / Moravian Kolaches)

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

Wow things are hectic at the moment. So much is going on with assignments due all the time, but considering I haven’t done the last two challenges I told myself I must try this one. My heart sank when I saw dough and yeast again, due to my recent failures with sourdough. I’ve had a bit of a confidence knock when it comes to bread. But thankfully all went to planned this time around. At the same time as making these czech treats, I dared a simple sourdough loaf, which, though  far from perfect, was edible and enjoyable. After all this was a Daring Bakers challenge!IMG_1488

Anyway, these koláče were lovely. The perfect saturday morning breakfast, I filled them with apricot and strawberry jam as I didn’t have plum. I also substituted cream cheese for quark as I didn’t have any… except of course for the usual subatomic particles that make up everything. Sorry, physics nerd….

Anyway, enjoy my daring bake, and attempt your own!


for dough
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
250 ml milk, warm
75 g butter, melted
30 g fresh yeast or  15 g active day yeast
pinch of salt
2 small egg yolks

for quark filling
750 g quark or cream cheese
1 small egg yolkIMG_1490
confectioner’s (icing) sugar to taste

for jam filling
strawberry, apricot, plum (jam of your choice)

for streusel topping
50 g plain flour
50 g butter, chilled and diced
50 g sugar

for finish
1 egg

In a bowl mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, milk and leavened yeast. Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about one hour to double its volume.

Meanwhile prepare quark filling – just mix all ingredients – and jam filling – mix jam with rum or water to soften it. Set aside.

Prepare streusel topping. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter diced in small cubes and with your fingers, mix all ingredients until crumbly. You can also use my mum’s trick – in a saucepan melt the butter, add flour and sugar at once and mix with fork until crumbly. Set aside.

When the dough is risen turn it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm (¾ inch). Cut with 10cm (4 inch) cookie cutter or just with a glass (if you want small kolaches) or divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (if you want large kolaches). Splat each piece with your hands and fill with quark filling. Wrap it into a “purse” shape.

Preheat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3. Line 2 – 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Put each kolach onto a prepared baking sheet with seam down. Press each kolach in the middle as you can see on the picture below. Brush it with egg wash and fill holes with plum filling. Sprinkle it with streusel topping. Bake for about 20 minutes to golden brown.IMG_1491


Birthday Cakes























So this was a couple of weeks back but I still want to share: my first ever cake commission! An 18th cake for 60 people and a little 17th cake. Ohmygosh so much cake! So much buttercream! So many hours. I think I may need to work on time management, but it all went reasonably well and the recipients were happy with the result. Tired, never want to see cake again…. nah, just joking, I think i baked the very next day. Its an addiction. I’m not going to post the recipes but here are the pictures.IMG_1487IMG_1484

A orange and passionfruit sponge 18th cake and a red velvet 17th cake.IMG_1479IMG_1483

Experimental Creations: Sourdough, Cake, Red Velvet and Muffins

So no baking for me last week until friday, so I was quite ready to get in the kitchen come the weekend. A weekend of experiments, with a 75% success rate, not bad i’d say. Sourdough cinnamon buns, a naked cake, red velvet brownies and vanilla pear muffins.

Not strictly baking, but I started my second attempt at a sourdough starter on monday, Max II. Yes I named my sourdough… Is that weird? What happened to Max I, you may ask? Well… uh… my history with plants should have been an indication that I would battle to keep an inanimate live object alive. Anyway… Max II is alive and well, and I set out to make sourdough cinnamon buns for Saturday morning. The weather was against me from the start, and the dough was really sticky, so I added more flour. Warning signs were there by the end of the first prove but I pressed onwards and even shaped them and left them to prove overnight… Which they didn’t. So no cinnamon buns….

Enter Vanilla Pear Muffins! A new recipe, not too sweet, and yielded HUUGGEE muffins. Paired with the cream cheese icing meant for the cinnamon buns, they were a fair substitute. pearmuffin1IMG_1446IMG_1433IMG_1436

Now the cream cheese icing from the cinnamon bun/muffin incident, was created from the leftover fluffy vanilla icing topping the red velvet meant-to-be-brownies-but-were-too-amazingly-fluffy cake slices. I used my red velvet cupcake recipe to make red velvet brownies, but they really aren’t squidgy enough to be brownies. In fact, they’re so light and fluffy, I’ve renamed them red velvet clouds. Go make these now, they’re that good. You can easily do them as cupcakes or in a brownie tin.


As for the cake…. think orange and passionfruit naked layer cake, filled with passionfruit french buttercream, lightly dusted with icing sugar. An experiment in recipes and flavour for something exciting coming up in the next week….