You might have seen klobasniky in a bakery and assumed they were a kind of sausage roll, or even a pig-in-a-blanket. And you wouldn’t be too far off. But, klobasniky have their own history and cultural associations that are quite distinct.
So what is a klobasnek? Where do they come from? And how do you make them? Read on to find out and check out some klobasnek recipes so you can make your own.
What Is a Klobasnek?
A klobasnek—or klobásník if you want to follow the proper Czech spelling and pronunciation (the plural is klobásníky)—is a sausage wrapped in a bread-like dough, typically eaten for breakfast. In addition to sausage, they often have jalapeno peppers, cheese, ham, or eggs inside and may be sprinkled with poppy or sesame seeds (or both!) or brushed with an egg wash. The dough totally encloses the sausage, and the ends of the sausage may or may not be visible.
History of Klobasnek
Klobasniky are Czech American sausage pastries “invented” by late-19th-century Czech immigrants to Texas. They are adapted from a savory food typically eaten at Easter in Central Europe, where they originate from.
While klobasniky are similar to baked goods still eaten in The Czech Republic today, they’re a specifically Czech American food. Since becoming popular in the U.S. they’ve been adapted to American tastes. This happened in the 1980s, when a chain bakery store selling Czech baked goods—Kolache Factory—was founded in Houston. While a traditional klobasnek-type savory pastry in The Czech Republic would only be served with a kielbasa sausage, other types of sausage, or another chopped meat, are available in the U.S.
The Difference Between Klobasnek and Kolache
If you haven’t heard of klobasneks, you might have heard of kolaches. Many people outside of the Texan Czech American community, even other Texans, mistakenly call klobasneks “sausage kolaches,” or distinguish them from the fruit-flavored kolaches by calling the latter “sweet kolaches.”
While both klobasniky and kolaches are forms of Czech pastry, kolaches are always sweet. Kolaches are sweetened yeast rolls stuffed with fruit, cream cheese, or a sweet poppy seed filling. These days you might come across a wider variety of sweet fillings, such as chocolate, but they aren’t strictly traditional. Sometimes kolaches are round or square, and the filling is more of a topping, spread in the middle of the dough. Kolache are a bit like Danishes, but they’re definitely not Danish. They’re Czech. Or Czech American, anyway.
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Where to Find a Klobasnek
The most reliable place to find authentic Czech American klobasniky is in Texas, particularly central Texas. The small city of West, between Houston and Austin, is a particular stronghold of Czech American culture, as is Caldwell, northeast of Austin, which holds the annual Caldwell Kolache Festival in September.
While small-town bakeries may be the most charming places to try klobasniky, Kolache Factory is a convenient store chain where you can grab the snack. Kolache Factory was founded in Houston in 1982 and has many branches around Texas.
In other parts of the U.S. you may be able to find klobasniky, or something similar, in places with a history of Czech immigration, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and California. Klobasniky are particularly Texan, though.
If you don’t live anywhere near Texas—or Central Europe, for that matter—you might have to satisfy your klobasnek craving by making your own. Check out the following recipes:
- How to make kolache dough: This tutorial will teach you how to make kolache dough, which can be used to make klobasnek, too.
- Klobasnek with pickled jalapenos: This recipe comes from a Texan cookbook classic, The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain. It uses pickled jalapeno peppers, grated cheddar cheese, and smoked kielbasa sausage, which are a common combination in modern adaptations of this traditional European food.
- Super-easy kolache recipe: If making dough from scratch sounds like too much work, this recipe uses dinner roll dough. It’s already prepared, so all you have to do is get the other ingredients ready and cook!
Learn to Bake a Perfect Klobasnek
If you have basic cooking and baking skills, then these klobasnek recipes shouldn’t be too challenging. But if you’re not so confident or want to brush up on your skills, take some of these general baking and cooking classes first. There’s even a traditional Czech/Slovak cooking class thrown in for good measure:
- Easy & Versatile Baking: The One Yeast Dough You Need to Know
- Know Yo’ Dough—Baking Tools, Tips, and Techniques
- Baking: Scones for Devonshire Tea
- Czech and Slovak Recipes: A Recipe for Slovak Pierogi with Potato and Bryndza
Happy cooking, and even happier eating!
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