Vegan Czech kolaches


My last name is Pitlick (pit-lick), which is Czech for “scrotum.” Yup, hard to believe that it’s even worse in its native tongue.

Technically, it should be spelled Pitlyk (or was it Pytlik?), is pronounced peet-leek, and is the diminutive form of the word “bag” or “sack,” literally translated as “little sack.” Which, of course, colloquially means… scrotum.

Now that we have that out of the way, the only other reminder in my life of my Bohemian heritage are kolaches.

If you’re Czech or Texan, you are well aware of kolaches. Kolaches are sweet buns filled with jam or poppy seeds. Texans make savory versions too. Weirdos.

My dad would bake these every once in a while when I was a kid with jam from our apricot tree. I highly doubt his Czech dad made them for him while he was growing up — he confirmed that the recipe he used come from an aunt.

However, when I asked him for her kolaches, he forwarded me an email from a few-times-removed cousin with a couple of recipes from a cookbook, which I combined to suit my own needs.

This version takes much less time to make than I recall, but time passes differently to a child. My dad would add a streusel stopping to the jam, which is delicious but unnecessary.

Vegan Kolaches


  • 2 cups lukewarm non-dairy milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • 1 can poppy seed filling or jam of your choice


  1. Add sugar to lukewarm milk and stir in yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes until foamy.
  2. Stir in oil, 3 cups flour, and salt and mix until combined. Stir in remaining 3 cups of flour.
  3. Shape into small balls and place on a greased baking pan about 1 inch apart. Let rise until more or less doubled in size.
  4. Press down centers with your thumb and fill with desired filling.
  5. Let rise again and bake at 350° for 15 – 18 minutes.

Tags: Czech, Vegan MoFo, Vegan MoFo 2013

9 Responses to “Vegan Czech kolaches”

  1. October 1st, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Jes says:

    I love kolaches! But they’re a Texan thing too? Weird. Also, weird on the last name–I mean, I guess it kinda helps that no kids knew what it meant when you were growing up, I’d guess. Can’t even imagine the terror if they did!

  2. June 24th, 2014 at 9:56 AM

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  3. July 14th, 2014 at 12:55 PM says:

    Je vois immédiatement que vous maîtrisez très bien le thème

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  5. December 25th, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Kat Juracka says:

    I too am Vegan and Slovakian heritage. LOVED kolachkey as a kid, but my Grandma’s version was not so light or fluffy (Chicago, not Texas?). It had lots of butter and cream cheese in with the yeast dough. She filled them with poppy seeds too, but also chopped apricots and prunes or spiced walnuts. Yum, I’m going to have to make the vegan version, now! Thanks ;)

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  9. December 3rd, 2017 at 5:08 PM

    kare says:

    I’d rather make kolaches completely from scratch so I found a few recipes on how to make the filling, rather than popping open a can. Here’s one, just substitute a non-dairy milk of your choice (grinding the poppy seeds is best in a coffee mill):
    Poppy Seed Filling
    1 cup poppy seeds GROUND – I found that 1 cup gives me about 1.5 ground.
    3/4 cup milk
    3 TBS sugar
    3 TBS honey
    1 tsp. allspice
    Cook poppy seeds with milk and sugar on low and slow for five minutes. Stirring constantly until thick. Add honey and allspice. Take off heat. 

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