Guess what! I’m going to be fancy and do a block quote. What’s the occasion? Kolaches!! (aka Czech bun-type things filled with yumminess)
There’s apparently a big Czech/kolache center in Texas; sounds like I need to do some traveling for science (or vicarious traveling…maybe I can find a Texan-baker willing to do some research…? >.>).
– Mary from n00bcakes on kolaches
Howdy! I am happy to report that this Texan-baker (1/4 Czech/Bohemian to boot!) has finally done some field research for blog pal Mary. The Czech/kolache center that I assume she was referring to happened to be on the way to New York, but umm, much closer to San Antonio than my final destination. It’s in West, Texas and every time I say this, I feel the need to add a dramatic pause where the comma is so as not to sound like I’m referring to West Texas. Totally not where this place is…it’s 75 miles south of Dallas and 15 miles north of Waco, which is the northeast part of Texas.
This gem of a place is known as Little Czech Bakery which is part of Czech Stop. There are gas pumps in front of it making it also a gas station, which you can use as justification for stopping to Czech it out (hur hur). I had to get gas, so this was convenient, but there were so many people that I had to wait 5 minutes. No biggie.
Once my car was fed, I went into the bakery and was instantly greeted with the fresh, yeasty smell of homemade bread. There were all sorts of treats everywhere, from bread loaves to spiced nuts to sausages in the fridges. I got in line in front of the bakery case which was filled with kolaches and other treats; my mind was in Kolache Mode. While there were many to choose from, all of the savory ones had some sort of meat (mainly sausage variations) which was a little disappointing being a non-meat-eater, but I also wasn’t surprised. Oh well, dessert route it was!
Remembering that Mary posted a recipe for her grandma’s poppy seed kolaches, I bought one of those and also a cottage cheese kolache. (I thought those were the only ones, but now see in my photo that they had the typical fruit ones. Fail!) They asked if I wanted them warmed, but I said no. Once back in the car, I drove to Sonic next door and ordered mozzarella sticks for a well-balanced meal. (FACT: I can be super terrible on road trips.)
While awaiting the arrival of my fried cheese, I started with my dessert course. First up: poppy seed! Oh, happy day…. This was perhaps the softest, freshest doughy thing I have ever had. The bread was sweet and not at all dry, but the filling was a bit odd. I think this was my first time experiencing such a concentrated amount of poppy seeds, but I didn’t dislike it. It was just…different.
After wolfing that one down, I moved onto the cottage cheese kolache. Now, I have to say that I’m not a big cottage cheese fan, but I ordered it so I had two flavors to try instead of one (and again, I failed to see the fruity options). The top had a circle of cream cheese in the middle which was on the crunchy side, but nice and sweet. The filling of this was also a weird one. If you can imagine what cottage cheese would be like baked inside bread, that’s pretty much how it was. But again, when the bread is that good, what does it matter if the filling is a little odd?
To contribute further to the weirdo factor of my meal, the mozzarella sticks came with ranch dressing instead of the typical marinara. I went with it. (They had Pickle-Os/fried pickles which I so wanted to try, but they somehow seemed even more wrong at the time.)
If you ever find yourself on I-35 heading north to or south from Dallas, I highly recommend giving this stop a visit. Starting at $.90 each, the dessert kolaches are well worth it! For the omnivores, the savory meat-filled kolaches range from $1.19 to $2.59 each and I’m sure are amazing. (Though technically it looks like these are called klobasnek or klobasniky.)
Czech Stop and Little Czech Bakery
I-35, Exit 353
West, Texas (75 miles south of Dallas, 15 miles north of Waco)
Open 24 hours a day/7 days a week!
If you don’t think you’ll ever find yourself in that location, I have some good and bad news for you. The good news: they take phone orders! Call (254)826-4170 or (254)826-5316. The bad news: they only ship in the winter, aka November to February. (Have I ever mentioned how hot it gets in Texas? It gets very hot.)
Dang it! And I just saw a tweet about this earlier today: there are Kolache Snow Cones at a trailer called License to Chill which is also in West, Texas! Looks like I’ll be making another stop on the way back home in August…but I probably would have stopped again to get more kolaches!