This month, my Czech Christmas cookie posts are being viewed by hundreds of people. It’s quite exciting! I will not be posting any additional Czech cookie recipe this year, but thought I’d add at least one new Czech sweet to my blog. Buchty are very popular sweet buns that are usually filled with a family’s favorite sweet fillings. It is the case that many buchty fillings are used for other recipes, including some Czech Christmas cookie recipes. Given this, you may wish to keep note of the filling recipes, by themselves. Or, maybe consider filling your home with the lovely scent of buchty. My husband and I enjoy eating buchty for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed anytime!
When my husband’s mother made buchty, she always made them with three filling options. They included poppy seed filling, povidla (prune plum jam), and farmer’s cheese (tvaroh) with lemon essence filling. Other people enjoy them with a variety of fruit jams. People tend to have their favorite filling. Mine is poppy seed. Some of these fillings can be purchased in my local grocery store, premade. Solo brand offers several filling options (see Solo Canned Fillings). Or, you can make the fillings from scratch. I’ve included the three I mentioned above.
I’ve used two different recipes for the sweet bread portion of the buchty. One with US all-purpose flour, and the other using Czech/Slovak hladká mouka (smooth flour). Both turned out equally well. Simply choose the version according to the flour you have in your pantry. Choose the filling(s), as you desire.
Buchty Version 1 (w/American all-purpose flour):
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more, if needed
- 1 package (2 ¼ tsp) instant dry yeast
- 3 Tbs granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp grated lemon peel
- ¼ cup butter or vegetable oil
- 1 whole egg and one extra egg yolk
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- 1 ½ cups filling of choice (or combination – see back for filling recipes)
1. First, combine the flour and sugar in your electric mixer bowl. Next, heat up the milk until it is lukewarm, and add the instant dry yeast to it. Cover and let sit for about five minutes, until its frothy. Set aside.
2. Next, whisk together the egg, extra egg yolk, vanilla extract and oil. With the mixer running, slowly begin adding the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour, and mix until a soft dough begins to form (if the dough is too wet, add more flour). Then, knead for five minutes using the dough hook attachment on your mixer. Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
3. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll out into about a 12” x 12” square. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle into 16 equal squares. Drop a dollop of buchty filling of choice in the middle of each square. Grease your baking dish (I used a 9” x 12” baking pan) and make little bundles out of each square, pinching down the bottom so none of the jam leaks out. Place the little bundles into your pan (brush the sides of each one with butter or oil – this is very important, it’s what helps them bake as buns and not one big cake) and cover and let rise for another half hour.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 F and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven, until they are beautifully golden brown on top! Once cool enough, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Buchty Version 2 (Czech recipe using hladká mouka):
- 500 g of smooth (hladká mouka) flour
- 100 g confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 250 ml of milk, heated very warm, but not hot
- 10 g instant yeast or 42 g of fresh yeast *
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 dl (100 ml) oil (canola, vegetable, etc.)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or equivalent in vanilla sugar)
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Filling(s) of choice
- Butter or shortening for greasing baking dish, plus more (melted) for brushing on buchty before baking.
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting baked buchty
Mix smooth (hladká mouka) flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in large main mixing bowl (i.e. bowl of standing mixer). Set aside.
In a large mug or small bowl, mix warmed milk with instant dried yeast and let sit for 5 mins until yeast is bubbling at top. [* Or use standard method for starting fresh yeast.]
In another bowl, or glass measuring cup, whisk together egg yolks, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Add both liquid mixes to flour mix and stir until a soft dough forms. [Didn’t need any additional hladká mouka for kneading.] Knead dough for 5 minutes either by hand or using a standing mixer’s dough attachment.
Put dough in a large lightly greased bowl in a warm place, with the bowl covered lightly. Let rise for at least 1 hour or until doubled.
Punch down dough. Transfer to a large lightly floured surface, and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a 12″ x 12″ (30 cm x 30 cm) square. With a sharp knife, cut square into 16 equal-sized squares (4 squares by 4). Put a small dollup of buchty filling of choice in the middle of each square. Fold opposite sides in over filling and pinch shut. Turn over on floured surface and form into square shape. Repeat with all.
Grease or butter a 9″ x 12″ (or similar size, ~23 cm x 30 cm) baking dish. Put filled buchty “bundles” in baking pan, first lightly buttering sides and tops of the bundles. If possible, don’t squeeze bundles too close together. Cover lightly with clean light dish towel.
Let buchty rise again, in a warm place, for about 30-40 mins. Uncover, and bake in a preheated oven (350 F) for between 20 to 30 mins or until the tops are golden brown. Cool a bit before eating. You can sift some confectioner’s sugar on top.
Buchty Filling Recipes
Each filling recipe makes about enough filling for a single batch of buchty. If you’d like to fill your buchty with various fillings, adjust the filling recipe or buchty recipe, accordingly. Note that all of these fillings are also suitable for homemade koláč, another popular sweet bread treat that resembles small Danishes. They may also work well in strudels, coffee cakes, certain types of cookies, and/or dessert bars.
Poppy seed Filling (máková náplň)
The poppy seeds for this filling need to be ground. You can sometimes find pre-ground poppy seeds for sale online or buy them unground, then grind them fresh yourself (they smell lovely freshly ground). Many grocery stores charge a fortune for a small amount of poppy seeds. I recommend buying them either online through a place like Amazon or an online grocer specializing in Central European products (see https://birdflight.blog/2018/04/04/finding-czech-and-slovak-groceries-in-the-us-and-uk/). I don’t have an old-fashioned grinder, but rather use my spice/coffee grinder for the task, with good results.
- 2 cups ground poppy seeds
- 1 cup milk [I needed a lot more]
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 2 Tablespoons honey or jam (like apricot)
- 1 egg, separated (optional)
Simmer poppy seeds in milk, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. [I needed to add more milk in order to get it to a point where it was slightly liquid.] Stir in sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest; simmer 5 minutes longer, adding a little more milk, only if needed. Blend in honey or jam. Cool. If desired, blend in egg yolk, and fold in stiffly beaten egg white. Makes about 2 cups filling.
Quicker method: Buy store-bought can of Poppy Seed Filling. Doctor up, if needed, with appropriate amount of flavors suggested above.
Farmer’s Cheese Filling (tvarohová náplň)
- 1 pound farmer’s cheese (softer kind)
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (and/or 1 tsp grated lemon zest)
- ½ cup raisins (Optional: Can be rehydrated ahead of time with rum sweetened with a little sugar)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
If very liquidy and curdy, rub farmer’s cheese through a sieve, and set aside. Cream butter, sugar, and egg yolks. Add cheese, vanilla and/or lemon zest, and raisins, and blend well. If mixture is too thick, add milk or cream. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Makes about 4 cups.
Prune Plum Jam Filling (povidlová náplň)
- 2 cups pitted prunes (dried plums)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan except for the brown sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute.
Reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers slowly and constantly. Cover the pot. Let the mixture simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Remove the lid from the pan. Let the prunes continue to simmer for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated/absorbed. Keep a close eye on the pan to make sure the prunes don’t burn. When there are about 3 tbsp of liquid left in the pan, remove from heat.
Stir the brown sugar into the prune mixture till brown sugar melts and dissolves.
Mash the prune mixture with a potato masher till a smooth puree forms. Run a fork through the mixture to break up any pieces the potato masher missed. You can also use an immersion blender for a smoother puree, if you want to. Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigerating the filling to chill completely will make it easier to work with. Makes almost 4 cups.