Texas Wants to Know

Texas Wants to Know: How did kolaches become a Texas staple?

Texas Wants to Know took a road trip West to learn how kolaches evolved from a fruit-filled pastry to include the meat-filled goods we know today

Bri Flores/NewsRadio 1080 KRLD

The kolache is a Texas morning staple right up there with breakfast tacos and chicken-fried anything. And most Texans know the place to go for kolaches is the city of West.

About an hour south of Dallas and 20 minutes north of Waco, West has a population of about 2,500. Despite the first wave of Czech settlers arriving in Texas in the early 1900s, West has kept its cultural ties for more than a century.

"All the young people that are here were taught by their grandparents, just like I was," lifelong Central Texas resident Mildred Dokupil said. "I didn't speak a word of English, so I was in the first grade and it was difficult. So it's just a tradition that's been carried on through food, dance, culture and stuff like that. We just love it."

Several bakeries that specialize in kolaches operate in the city. While none would share their trade secrets, the owner of one of them offered the basics of how to make a kolache.

"Everything we do is homemade. We have a mixer back there that mixes up the dough, and then we let it rise. After it rises, then we roll the balls, and we do all that by hand," Oak Street Bakery owner Jennifer Gerik said. "Which is a lot of work, but it's worth it because that's how we learned it... after we make the balls and let them rest for a while, we fill them and then we back them. So it's kind of a long process because you have to make all the fruit filling and all that stuff."

To learn more about traditional kolache fillings and how many bakeries go through in one day, listen to this week's episode of Texas Wants to Know in the Audacy app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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