The Grandmother Project took Brooke Siem across nine countries on four continents. She baked these traditional pastries with Liba in the small town of Týnec, Czech Republic. To create the signature, even indentation in each koláče (pronounced "ko-la-chay"), Liba uses a 100-gram weight, about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Anything round and just a touch smaller than the balls of dough works, like the bottom of a glass spice jar. Dust it with flour before using to prevent sticking. We adapted the recipe with half whole-wheat flour. Learn more about this recipe and other recipes Siem learned as part of her project in the article How Cooking Connected One Chef with Grandmothers Across the World.

EatingWell Magazine, May 2021


Credit: Penny De Los Santos

Recipe Summary

1 hr 5 mins
2 hrs 45 mins

Nutrition Profile:





Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare dough: Heat 1 1/4 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Let cool until about 110°F. Stir in yeast and granulated sugar. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, place egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking the yolks, gently stream in melted butter and oil.

  • Combine whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour, confectioners' sugar, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a large bowl. Add the yeast and yolk mixtures, then beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball, 3 to 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 to 15 minutes by hand.

  • Slowly add lard and mix until all the lard is incorporated and the dough no longer sticks to the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, prepare filling: Mix milk, poppy seeds, flour, honey and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

  • Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Use a knife to slice off walnut-size chunks. Flatten each with your palm, then fold the edges under to create a tight ball. Arrange the balls, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.

  • Dust the bottom of a small spice jar (or other similar-size object) with flour and use it to press a large indentation into the middle of each koláče, leaving about a 1/4-inch lip. Brush with egg wash. Fill each indentation with the filling.

  • Bake the koláče until puffy and lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 10 minutes.

To make ahead

Freeze cooled koláče airtight for up to 1 month.


Parchment paper

Nutrition Facts

1 koláče
84 calories; fat 5g; cholesterol 15mg; sodium 75mg; carbohydrates 9g; dietary fiber 1g; protein 2g; sugars 2g; niacin equivalents 1mg; saturated fat 1g; vitamin a iu 60IU; potassium 42mg.