Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sourdough Surprises November: Black Cherry Kolaches

I remember one Spring Break that I got it into my head that I'd make a Trinidadian dish called doubles. I had never seen nor tasted doubles before. But based on the description (fried yeast dough that's then filled with curried chickpeas), I absolutely had to have it. I got some yeast (my first time working with yeast), followed the recipe given by an acquaintance, fried my dough, cooked my curried chickpea filling and produced one of the most delicious lunches that I'd ever made. Some time later, I went to a Trinidadian restaurant with a friend and ordered doubles. It looked NOTHING like what I had made. The fried dough was amazingly soft and, the curried chickpeas melted in my mouth. Bliss.

When Sourdough Surprises announced kolaches as this month's challenge, I figured that my kolache - experiment would be similar to that doubles-experience. But I wouldn't let that deter me. So here you have one Jamaican girl's sourdough(!) interpretation of a Czech treat.  I must admit that this one was particularly challenging. Every picture of kolaches that I saw looked different. I read different opinions on how to handle the dough and what left me puzzled most of all was the VERY high hydration that I saw. And no one seemed to comment on it. Instead I saw comments about the "beautiful dough".

I figured that America's Test Kitchen would not lead me astray and nervously converted their recipe to sourdough. Yeah. It was sticky. Actually, this was more than sticky. This was bordering dangerously on batter-land. But I didn't want to add too much flour so I pressed on.  Even though the ATK recipe does not call for a cold nap, I knew that I had to refrigerate mine if I wanted to do anything with it.

On Sunday morning when I was ready to form the kolaches, I knew that I had to remake them. There was no forming these into the nice round shapes that I saw. I grabbed a loaf tin to simply make a loaf with the dough but then I changed my mind and gingerly pinched balls off and placed them on my baking sheet. I let them rise for a bit, filled them with black cherry preserves and put them in the oven.

Sorry about the extra yellow lighting. Yuck

I can't say that these tasted just like kolaches. Because I've never had them before. They look like some of the pics I've seen. Kinda. But they were definitely delicious. I do love an enriched dough and the sour cream ensured that the dough stayed nice and soft.

I really wanted to make these again - play around with the ingredients. Decrease the butter and eggs. Something. But when I had time on Monday to try again, I realised that I was dangerously low on all purpose flour. This was certainly not the time to experiment with rye and whole wheat. And I opted for extra sleep on Tuesday morning instead of an early morning trip to the supermarket. Ah well. I guess the lemon and cheese version will just have to wait. It's probably for the best though. I have been eating these at an ALARMING rate. Add that to the oatmeal and raisin spice cake and onion rolls that I also made over the weekend and my body is having a happiness carb overload.

I can't wait to read about everyone's experiences with kolaches this month. I posted on Facebook about the very wet dough and was glad that I was not alone. I am sure we all have delicious takes on kolache though. You really can't go wrong with  enriched dough.

Serious lighting issues

Black Cherry Sourdough Kolache

240 grams 166% Sourdough Starter
350 grams All Purpose Flour
56 grams sugar
1 egg
2 yolks
113 grams melted butter
30 grams sour cream
10 grams salt
6 tablespoons black cherry preserves.

Combine all ingredients except salt and preserves in a mixer for 2 minutes. Dough will be very wet. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Add salt and knead for 10 - 12 minutes.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
Dough should be less wet after overnight cold rest. Divide dough into 12 even pieces and shape into a ball. If dough is still very sticky, just do the best that you can.
Allow to rest for 1 hour then use a floured cup (small) or end of a rolling pin to make indentations in the middle of each ball and fill with half a tablespoon of preserve.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Allow kolaches to rest for another hour then  place in oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.