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Baked Café won’t make us pronounce “kolaches”

Bagel shop still evokes Brooklyn, but also the Czech Belt of Texas

Listed on the menu as "Bunz," these dinner-roll resembling pastries are Czech-Texan kolaches, filled with eggs, meat, and cheese.
Listed on the menu as "Bunz," these dinner-roll resembling pastries are Czech-Texan kolaches, filled with eggs, meat, and cheese.

When I wrote about it in 2015, East Village bakery Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy was the closest our city came to having a legit New York bagel shop. Meaning I might have experienced lasting disappointment when Brooklyn Bagel shuttered three years ago. Fortunately, only a few months went by before members of the original ownership team returned to the same location to relaunch under a new name: Baked Café.

Place

Baked Cafe

1000 Island Avenue, San Diego

The first bit of good news was that Baked kept the bagels: made the same way, by the same people, in the same New York City style. But the re-brand did bring about a few changes, and these days the shop doesn’t only offer baked goods made famous by Jewish immigrants to New York. As unlikely as it sounds, a lot of the current menu may be attributed to baked goods made famous by Czech immigrants to Texas.

Well, famous in the Lone Star State, at least. On the Baked menu, to the right of assorted bagel sandwich and topping options, there’s a section labeled “Bunz,” because most San Diegans probably wouldn’t know what to expect if they went by their Texan name: kolaches.

The dudes who stuck around to open Baked originally came from Houston, where kolaches are about as common as donut shops. For most of us West Coast lifers, however, understanding the connection between Texas kolaches and the original kolach of Czech culture, requires a little backstory.

The former Brooklyn Bagel & Bialy has been rebranded Baked, under reassembled ownership.

First, we should know that Texas boasts the largest Czech population in the U.S. That’s speaking in terms of family history, as Czech peoples began settling areas between Austin and Houston in the mid-Nineteenth Century, way before there was an independent Czech Republic. In other words, this heritage runs deep.

Czech kolaches are small pastries made from sweetened, yeasted dough, typically filled with fruit or something akin to cream cheese. I’ve never personally encountered one of these, but they sound similar to Danishes or strudels. However, apparently these evolved in Texas, where the kolach became a kolache, now filled with all manner of savory ingredients, including eggs, bacon, and particularly sausage.

A bacon, cheddar, jalapeño sausage wrapped in kolache dough may be better known as a pig in a blanket

Internet research further tells us that, as far as sticklers are concerned, the latter shouldn’t be called kolaches, but a different Czech name: klobasniky. However, most of us will recognize them as a different Texan treat: pigs in a blanket.

Regardless what you want to call them, these are the sort of “bunz” or kolaches served by Baked. For about seven bucks, you can get a whole, pastry-wrapped sausage: either chicken andouille, maple-sage, or my choice of jalapeño bacon cheddar sausage. Though topped with dried garlic and seeds, like an everything bagel, the bread wrapping this sausage is lighter and sweeter than a bagel, providing a nice counter to spicy sausage.

A look inside a sausage, egg, and cheddar kolache

Most of the shop’s “bunz,” however, are kolaches modeled after breakfast sandwiches. These $4.25 morsels take the size and shape of dinner rolls, but they’re filled with the likes of bacon, egg and cheddar; breakfast sausage, egg, and cheddar; or ham, sweet peppers, jalapeños, and pepper jack cheese. It’s a nifty trick, the way they seamlessly fit these ingredients inside a layer of soft, pliant bread. Make them your next breakfast, and it won’t be hard to tell why they’ve become such a Texas staple.

Considering the still-great bagels, kolaches, and variety of donuts (especially crullers) featured in the glass counters of Baked, the shop makes it near impossible to miss a regular, old New York style bagel shop.

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Listed on the menu as "Bunz," these dinner-roll resembling pastries are Czech-Texan kolaches, filled with eggs, meat, and cheese.
Listed on the menu as "Bunz," these dinner-roll resembling pastries are Czech-Texan kolaches, filled with eggs, meat, and cheese.

When I wrote about it in 2015, East Village bakery Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy was the closest our city came to having a legit New York bagel shop. Meaning I might have experienced lasting disappointment when Brooklyn Bagel shuttered three years ago. Fortunately, only a few months went by before members of the original ownership team returned to the same location to relaunch under a new name: Baked Café.

Place

Baked Cafe

1000 Island Avenue, San Diego

The first bit of good news was that Baked kept the bagels: made the same way, by the same people, in the same New York City style. But the re-brand did bring about a few changes, and these days the shop doesn’t only offer baked goods made famous by Jewish immigrants to New York. As unlikely as it sounds, a lot of the current menu may be attributed to baked goods made famous by Czech immigrants to Texas.

Well, famous in the Lone Star State, at least. On the Baked menu, to the right of assorted bagel sandwich and topping options, there’s a section labeled “Bunz,” because most San Diegans probably wouldn’t know what to expect if they went by their Texan name: kolaches.

The dudes who stuck around to open Baked originally came from Houston, where kolaches are about as common as donut shops. For most of us West Coast lifers, however, understanding the connection between Texas kolaches and the original kolach of Czech culture, requires a little backstory.

The former Brooklyn Bagel & Bialy has been rebranded Baked, under reassembled ownership.

First, we should know that Texas boasts the largest Czech population in the U.S. That’s speaking in terms of family history, as Czech peoples began settling areas between Austin and Houston in the mid-Nineteenth Century, way before there was an independent Czech Republic. In other words, this heritage runs deep.

Czech kolaches are small pastries made from sweetened, yeasted dough, typically filled with fruit or something akin to cream cheese. I’ve never personally encountered one of these, but they sound similar to Danishes or strudels. However, apparently these evolved in Texas, where the kolach became a kolache, now filled with all manner of savory ingredients, including eggs, bacon, and particularly sausage.

A bacon, cheddar, jalapeño sausage wrapped in kolache dough may be better known as a pig in a blanket

Internet research further tells us that, as far as sticklers are concerned, the latter shouldn’t be called kolaches, but a different Czech name: klobasniky. However, most of us will recognize them as a different Texan treat: pigs in a blanket.

Regardless what you want to call them, these are the sort of “bunz” or kolaches served by Baked. For about seven bucks, you can get a whole, pastry-wrapped sausage: either chicken andouille, maple-sage, or my choice of jalapeño bacon cheddar sausage. Though topped with dried garlic and seeds, like an everything bagel, the bread wrapping this sausage is lighter and sweeter than a bagel, providing a nice counter to spicy sausage.

A look inside a sausage, egg, and cheddar kolache

Most of the shop’s “bunz,” however, are kolaches modeled after breakfast sandwiches. These $4.25 morsels take the size and shape of dinner rolls, but they’re filled with the likes of bacon, egg and cheddar; breakfast sausage, egg, and cheddar; or ham, sweet peppers, jalapeños, and pepper jack cheese. It’s a nifty trick, the way they seamlessly fit these ingredients inside a layer of soft, pliant bread. Make them your next breakfast, and it won’t be hard to tell why they’ve become such a Texas staple.

Considering the still-great bagels, kolaches, and variety of donuts (especially crullers) featured in the glass counters of Baked, the shop makes it near impossible to miss a regular, old New York style bagel shop.

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