Houston Ham and Cheese Kolaches

"This recipe is not EXACTLY like they have around here, but I am working on it. This will give you a really good idea of what we bring home from a donut shop in and around Houston. These breakfast treats come from the Czech immigrants who settled the Texas Hill Country (between Houston and Austin and around Austin), and frequently come in a fruit type (dimpled and filled, like a danish) that is also available up North, and meat (which apparently doesn't exist anywhere else but around here in Texas). Ham and cheese has always been one of my favorites. The amount of flour you use will greatly depend on whether you are making this in or around Houston right before or after a rainstorm, as I always seem to; or if you are making it someplace with a normal, low level of humidity. Start the sponge the night before."
photo by LimeandSpoon photo by LimeandSpoon
photo by LimeandSpoon
photo by LimeandSpoon photo by LimeandSpoon
photo by LimeandSpoon photo by LimeandSpoon
photo by Buzzoven3 photo by Buzzoven3
photo by appleydapply photo by appleydapply
Ready In:
2hrs 45mins
32 kolaches




  • SPONGE: Mix together yeast and 2 cups of flour. Add the rest of the sponge ingredients. Mix with spoon until thoroughly combined and then put in your refrigerator overnight. (this time is not in the cook time).
  • The next morning, stir the sponge lightly and add the salt. Begin adding flour until it forms into a dough ball. If there is little humidity, this could be as little as one cup. If you are here in Houston, I usually end up putting in a couple and then kneading another half cup.
  • Once you have a doughball, Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, adding flour as needed. The dough should be very easy to knead, fairly loose.
  • Place kneaded dough into a bowl, lightly oiled and turn dough so that it is covered with oil. Let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Meanwhile, mix together ham and cheese.
  • Punch down dough.
  • Divide into 32 small balls (divide in half, then divide in half again, and again, etc.). Take each ball and flatten with your hand to a 3" circle. Place one tablespoon ham and cheese mixture into the center of each circle and close into a ball, twisting the opening closed. Make sure the opening is well sealed, or the kolaches will burst open in the oven.
  • Place filled balls seam side down onto greased cookie sheets (I use 2). Cover and let rise again for half an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Brush kolaches with melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden colored. You don't want these to get brown, or they will be too dry. Just golden, like biscuits or dinner rolls.
  • Baked kolaches can be frozen, thawed, and reheated in the microwave.

Questions & Replies

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  1. karen.h
    Are the eggs and sugar included in the sponge ingredients, please?
  2. Bev O.
    My first rise worked great. The second and third ones did not. Amy suggestions?


  1. Melissa Hinman
    Wow, what an awesome recipe! Yes, labor intensive but oh so worth it. And my miniature rolling pin came in real handy. I used sliced Swiss and deli smoked ham. Only had a couple of blow outs, likely due to my technique. Also, the house smells amazing while these little beauties are baking. Thank you for posting this recipe! Its a keeper!
  2. ValkyrieQueen
    Delicious! Only slightly different than the family recipe we have from an old kolache shop just south of Houston (Pasadena to be exact). Ours deviates by using 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp of grated lemon peel, and 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg. I fill mine with orange marmalade, sweetened cream cheese, plum butter, and sausage and cheese (not all in the same bundle of course). The ham and cheese will now have to become another favorite in the bread basket.
  3. Amelia D.
    I adapted the filling on this recipe to make a bacon and cheddar version. After reading some other reviews that had difficulty with the dough rising, I decided to bloom the yeast in the milk before mixing it into the sponge. It worked perfectly, and I got excellent rise throughout. I did have the problem that while baking, my kolaches got very dark (nearly burned before I rescued them) on the bottom with absolutely NO color on the tops. I have no idea why that happened - I think next time I will lower the temperature of the oven Despite the slightly crunchy bottoms, and the look wasn't quite right, these are DELICIOUS. I have missed Texas kolaches so much, and the flavor was spot on.
  4. Bev O.
    So, these are amazing. Yes, time consuming but I love trying recipes and seeing if I can make them work. Hence, my problem. My overnight rise did really good. My next two rises not so good. After kneading, it did not double in size and they didn't after stuffing them. Any suggestions? They look like your picture maybe a little smaller, lol. Wonder why?! But it least they taste amazing.
  5. cita705_12754854
    These are amazing! I made the sponge last night and finished the recipe this morning. I goofed in two areas, I added the salt to the sponge, and I did not let them rise before I put them in the oven. They turned out great, I miss mayo and mustard with the ham and used shredded cheddar cheese, which I sprinkled on first and then added the ham mixture. I got 26 balls of goodness, I lived in Houston 20 years, we used to get kolaches at Southern Maid doughnuts they were out of this world.I live 40 miles north of Houston now, and the doughnut shops here you get a thin slice of ham and mostly bread. Thanks for posting. This will my go to recipe, I will try with sausage links and cheddar . Merry Christmas to y'all!



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