18 ‘trainees’ learn kolache baking in Yukon

VanBrunt, Benda arrange training class at Czech Building

Sophie Gering and Ainsley Wesselski learn how kolaches are made during the recent kolache-baking training day, arranged by Janice VanBrunt and Elaine Benda. (Photo provided)

Eighteen new trainees attended a kolache-baking training class the last Saturday in August at the Oklahoma Czechs Building at Fifth and Cedar in Yukon.

The day was arranged by Janice VanBrunt and Elaine Benda.

VanBrunt is a long-time kolache baker and leader of the Tuesday baking group each July and August. Her group bakes around 100 dozen kolaches each Tuesday.

Benda is the director of the Oklahoma Czech Folk Dancers who has encouraged the dancers to become volunteer bakers.

It was a great event with enthusiastic trainees eager to learn the ropes and try their hand at every step of the kolache-baking process – set up, dough-making, ball-forming, punching, filling, making posypka, proofing, baking, flash-freezing, packaging, freezing, and clean-up.

“Trainees” Amanda Erwin, Aspen Hein, Amanda Hogan, Francina Barney, Tiffany Moeder, Lisa Gigstad Francel, Sophie Gering, and Marj Seeliger prepare the dough for kolache fillings. (Photo provided)
“Trainee” Amanda Erwin helps longtime Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. baker Janice VanBrunt place trays of kolaches in the Czech Building oven. (Photo provided)


The new bakers ranged in age from 10-years-old and up. Dancers, royalty pageant contestants, Oklahoma Czechs members, and even non-members from the Yukon community and the greater metro area participated.

The group made and packaged about 35 dozen that morning.

Oklahoma Czechs bakes and sells anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 dozen kolaches each festival. Kolache proceeds are the biggest portion of their annual revenue.

Anyone who missed this training session but are interested in learning to bake kolaches and help keep this yummy festival tradition going, there are plans for more training next summer.

E-mail Debbie at okczechslovakpageant@gmail.com to get plugged in. Participants do not have to be Czech to bake.

“Trainees” Aspen Hein, Hannah Thomason, Annetta Hein, and Amanda Erwin discuss the proper dough-mixing technique. (Photo provided)
Patti Krebsbach places fresh-baked, fruit-filled kolaches on trays inside the Czech Building at Fifth and Cedar. Some 18 “trainees” participated. (Photo provided)