By Conrad Dudderar
Back to the original recipe.
That’s exactly what members of the Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. decided on for this year’s kolache baking.
At least 24,000 of these traditional Czech pastries will be sold during the 57th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7 in Yukon.
Kolache bakers started preparing the popular, doughy treats just after July 4th – and will continue baking through August inside the Czech Building, 5th and Cedar.
Eight flavors will be sold individually and by the dozen: Apple, apricot, cherry, cream cheese, lemon, poppy seed, prune, and strawberry.
The 2023 Oklahoma Czech kolache-baking volunteers are:
Andy Baker, Andy Berlson, Jackie Benson, Marilyn Berousek, Kay Edwards, Amanda Erwin, Ann Folk Cresap, Earl Folk, Elise Friese, Rachel Gering, Lisa Gigstad Francel, Paul Francel, Joyce Hamann, Annetta Hein, Aspen Hein, Karaleen Jordan, Debbie Kessler, Betty Kolar, Marilyn Kraemer, Patti Krobsach, John Mason, Julie Mason, Mike Mason, Kathy Notley, Madelyn Novosad, Gloria Olvera, Jaime Olvera, Shirley Reed, Kate Rex, Kim Rex, Marj Seeliger, Tori Sharpe, Kaybree Shedeck, Lucy Shedeck, Milo Shedeck, Emily Stanfill, Hannah Thomason, Evelyn Tilson, Peggy Turner, Jim Tyson, and Janice VanBrunt.
Two crews work in shifts.
Yukon’s Janice VanBrunt, who’s been baking for 42 years, heads one crew that bakes on Tuesdays and every other Saturday.
“We have such a great group of people helping us this year,” VanBrunt said. “We’re going back to the official Oklahoma Czech kolache recipe, and the individual sweet kolache recipe.
“Both of those will be available on Czech Day. Please come and try us. I know you will not be disappointed!”
The other kolache crew, led by Yukon’s Kim Rex, bakes on Mondays and every other Saturday.
“We’ve been working hard to meet the standards of our original bakers,” Rex said.
The 1988-89 Oklahoma Czech queen, Rex was just 8 years old when she started helping her father David Landes bake his mouth-watering Czech breads.
GET THEM WHILE THEY LAST
“We’ve been baking kolache since the first festival in 1966,” Rex shared. “They used to be baked in different people’s homes before we built this building (in the early ‘70s).
“Those ladies who used to bake individually got together and decided on the official Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. recipe.”
This week, the Oklahoma Czech bakers surpassed 12,000 kolache prepared for this year’s Czech heritage celebration.
During Yukon’s Czech Day on the first Saturday of October, kolache is sold (as supplies last) inside the Czech Building and at a booth near the northeast corner of Fifth and Main.
Best sellers are cherry, cream cheese and apricot.
VanBrunt’s favorite flavor is apricot while Rex prefers cherry above the rest.
“The traditional Czech favorites are poppy seed and prune,” Rex pointed out.
Oklahoma Czechs have settled on eight flavors after testing several others, like pineapple, blueberry, peach, and raspberry.
The bakers reminded the public about the proper spelling of their taste-tempting pastry – kolace is singular and kolache is plural. “Kolaches” is not a proper spelling.