- Katey Psencik American-Statesman Staff
Hold up -- kolaches stuffed with some of Central Texas’ best barbecue? Sign us up.
Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches is set to open on Friday, Aug. 11. The new joint on Manor Road is a family-owned “kolache bakery, taproom and retail craft beer shop” (where I come from, we call that “heaven”) that promises a twist on the traditional Czech-Texan pastry.
Now, as a native Texan with deep Czech roots, I’ve told y’all plenty of times that if your sweet dough pastry is stuffed with meat, it’s technically not a kolache (or, for the purists, a “kolach”). It’s a klobasnek. Traditionally, kolaches were made with sweet dough and filled with things like poppy seeds, plums, farmer’s cheese, apricots and other fruit- and cheese-heavy fillings that were readily available (and affordable) to Czech immigrants in the 19th century.
They’re usually shaped in squares or circles, and you can often see the filling pouring out of the top of the sweet dough. For example, check out these old-school poppyseed kolaches that look like they came straight from the motherland:
Klobasniky are still Czech delicacies, but they were never brought over from Czechoslovakia. They were invented by immigrant families settled in Texas, and -- while still delicious -- they’re a whole different ball game. These use the same sweet dough used to bake kolaches, but they’re instead stuffed with meat or other savory fillings. You may know them better as a “pig in the blanket.” And Batch will be serving up klobasniky filled with barbecue from Micklethwait Craft Meats, one of Central Texas’ best barbecue joints.
How do you know if you’re eating a kolache or a klobasnek just by looking at it? Visually, klobasniky tend to look a little bit more like bread rolls:
As the descendent of Czech immigrants and a native of the “Czech Belt” (where Czech immigrants settled in the heart of Texas, an area that continues to celebrate the Czech culture), the proper naming of these pastries has, for better or for worse, become the hill I’ve chosen to fight and die on.
And sure, my ancestors may be rolling over in their graves at the mention of a pepperoni pizza-filled klobasnek or a peanut butter and jelly-stuffed kolach, but these pastries have evolved over more than a century -- and Batch seems to be making some of the most authentic kolaches I’ve seen outside of the Czech community where I was raised.
Not to mention the new restaurant will be serving up 12 rotating craft beers on tap (and yes, there’s a Czech Pilsner to wash down your Czech pastries) and a large, shaded beer garden. And what’s more Czech than that?