Culinary Class

How to Make Kolaches with Joy the Baker | Video

By: Amber Chase

Joy Wilson, better known as Joy the Baker, is a Texas resident, recipe developer, cookbook author, and lover of all things baking. We sat down with Wilson to get her take on one of her favorite Texas-inspired treats for the spring and summer seasons, raspberry and cream cheese kolaches. Kolaches made their way to Texas in the early 19th century with an influx of immigrants from the Czech Republic, and have since become as recognizable as Texan barbecue. These fluffy pastries typically cradle fruit, cheese, or even savory options like sausage in their center, and in Joy’s favorite recipe, you get the best of both worlds with lush raspberry jam and a cream cheese filling.


Wilson begins the kolaches by making the enriched dough with full-fat Greek yogurt, butter, sugar, salt, eggs, flour, yeast, and water. To create the shaggy dough, she mixes the dry and wet ingredients with a rubber spatula before moving to the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer. The dough will turn out soft and should easily pull away from the sides of the bowl. A key step here is allowing this dough to rest overnight. 

While the dough rests, Wilson prepares the cream cheese filling and crumble topping. The cream cheese filling is a simple mixture with rich creaminess and a touch of vanilla bean paste for sweetness. The crumble topping is very approachable with a precise combination of flour, sugar, and butter for a pristine crumbly texture. For this recipe, Wilson recommends using a high-quality jam for the filling by either making your own or supporting a local maker in your region. Naturally, the jam flavor can adjust to what is on hand or in season. From apricot to blueberry, these kolaches will lend themselves to a variety of flavor profiles. 

To form the kolaches, portion the dough into 50 gram sections, or, if you’re like Wilson, just eyeball it. Shape these into taut balls and place them onto a baking sheet. From here, create a generous indentation with your fingers for the filling and dollop equal parts of the jam and cream cheese mixture into the kolaches. Top with the rested crumble and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 

This recipe makes 20 kolaches and will satisfy a crowd. Wilson recommends serving the kolaches just out of the oven with hot coffee or a cold glass of milk, but you don’t need an excuse to enjoy them any time of day. 

Find Wilson flour-dusted and paint-coated in her latest project, her Bellville, Texas, Bakehouse, where construction is now underway. Or, follow along with her other projects and recipes on her blog or social media.

Raspberry and cream cheese kolaches

Raspberry & Cream Cheese Kolaches heading-plus-icon


About 20 kolaches

    For the kolache dough
  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt, rested at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • For the filling:
  • 1 heaping cup raspberry jam
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • For the crumble topping:
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Special Equipment: Stand mixer with fitted dough hook

Make the Kolache dough

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together yogurt, sugar, and salt. Melt butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan and whisk the warm melted butter into the yogurt mixture to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, use a rubber spatula to combine flour, yeast, warm water, and eggs. Add the yogurt mixture and use the spatula to roughly combine.
  3. Knead the mixture with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but be very tacky to the touch. Add up to 1/2 cup more flour as necessary but really, you want the dough to be sticky. The overnight rest in the refrigerator will make the sticky dough easy to work with.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. While the kolache dough rests, make the cheese filling and the crumble topping.
  1. In a medium bowl using hand beaters or in the bowl of the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together all of the cheese filling ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Place in a small container, cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Make the Crumble

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and use your fingers to incorporate the ingredients into a sandy mixture. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to fill.

Assemble & Bake

  1. The following day, remove the dough from the fridge, and divide it into about 20 pieces and use a bench knife to divide the dough into balls that are 1 3/4 ounces (or 50 grams) each, about the size of a golf ball.
  2. Place the pieces on lightly greased or parchment-lined rimmed half sheet pans, leaving about an inch between them. Flatten the balls until they’re about 1/2″ thick, cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Using your fingers, make a wide, deep indentation in the center of each flattened dough ball. Don’t be afraid of being decisive here; you want to make a deep enough indentation that it doesn’t just disappear as the buns rise and bake.
  4. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling and 1 tablespoon of the raspberry jam into each bun side by side; crumble a little of the streusel on top. Cover the kolaches, and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes. They won’t necessarily double in bulk.


  5. Uncover the kolaches, and bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
  6. Remove the kolaches from the oven, and serve warm, or at room temperature. Store any leftovers airtight at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage and reheat covered in foil to serve warm.
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