venison kolaches

Venison Kolaches with Pretzel Thyme Streusel

Put that ground venison to more creative use with these fluffy, buttery, savory venison kolaches.


Purists will likely send me furious emails regarding this recipe title. You see, the kolache has long been a beloved sweet pastry of the Central Texas region, with Moravian roots hailing from Czechoslovakia. One is simply not allowed to drive the route between Austin and Dallas without stopping at the legendary Czech Stop for a cream cheese, or jam dotted pastry. If you’ve not had them before, they’re something like a mashup between a cinnamon bun and a danish. One may also find a meat (particularly sausage) option in the bakery case, but mercy on your soul if you call it a kolache. It’s generally accepted that any meat-filled pastry of this family is in fact a klobasnek. While a kolache has a topping of flavor, a klobasnek is more pig-in-a-blanket like with the meat being completely encased.

venison klobasnik

So allow me to say in advance: I don’t care if you are offended by this recipe title. This is a kolache. In shape, in concept, in dough. Also, as someone with actual Czech heritage, I reserve the right to play the cultural trump card! Semantics aside, the REAL point here is that this recipe is another delicious and unexpected way to use venison.

I cut down on the sweetness of the traditional dough, for a neutral flavor in the soft yeast-bread base. But venison does pair exceptional well with sweet fruit flavors, so I used some fig jam in the filling for some added sweetness. Finally, the crunch of the pretzel and freshness of the thyme makes these kolaches truly unique.

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venison kolaches

Venison Kolaches with Pretzel Thyme Streusel

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  • Author: Jess Pryles



For the dough:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 oz butter, softened

1 egg yolk

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup warm water

3 teaspoon white sugar

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz)

3 1/2 cup flour

½ cup potato flakes

3 t kosher salt

1 cup warm milk

For the filling:

2 teaspoon olive oil

½ lb ground venison

3 tablespoon fig jam

½ cup beef stock

½ cup finely diced red onion (about half a small one)

1 teaspoon corn starch

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

kosher salt to taste

For the streusel:

¼ cup AP flour

¾ c crushed pretzels

10 tablespoon butter, melted

1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves


  1. In a non reactive bowl, combine warm water, 1t sugar and the yeast. Allow to bloom about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, potato flakes, remaining sugar, salt, butter, oil, warm milk and egg yolk. Add the yeast when ready then use the dough hook attachment to bring together until combined in a ball.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place into a greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Place in warm place to rise 1 hr. I turn my oven on for 5 minutes, then off again, and place the dough in there.
  4. While dough is rising, prepare filling heating the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the venison and onion and cook until onion is soft, breaking up the venison into small crumbles. Stir the cornflour into the stock, then add that along with the jam and Worcestershire to the pan, and stir until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes. There should be very little liquid at the bottom. Set aside.
  5. Punch the now-risen dough down, then divide into 16 pieces. Shape into flat balls/discs and place onto a lined baking tray, cover with a cloth and allow to rise, 20 minutes.
  6. Make the streusel by combining all ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. Use a small glass to make an indent in each dough disc, then fill with 1-2T of the venison mixture. Cover once more with a cloth, and rise one final time, 15 minutes.
  7. Heat an oven to 350f. Crumble the streusel over the top of each kolache, and brush exposed dough with beaten egg wash.
  8. Place into oven and bake 25-30 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes then serve.

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