Like poppyseed and posypka, the Kolache Kitchen’s new location in the Czech Heritage Museum is a perfect match.
Temple residents and visitors have been enjoying fresh kolaches from the Wasserman family at the Kolache Kitchen for more than thirty years. The original location, on the south side of the H.K. Dodgen loop, is near major hospitals, the mall and Temple College. Plus, it’s on the way out of town going to Cameron and other points east.
Now, the business has opened a second location within the Czech Heritage Museum building on the north side of town. This makes it easy to make a sunrise kolache run for northside residents in the historic and cultural arts districts, and for folks who work in the central business district downtown to grab a dozen to take in for office mates.
“I am so blessed. There have been a lot of days where I put in a lot of hours,” she told the Temple Daily Telegram. “I thought this would take a while to take off. I didn’t think it would happen in two weeks.”
Carol’s parents, Mike and Irene (Hundle) Wasserman, originally of Buckholts, opened the bakery in 1984, when Mike retired. Carol was expecting her oldest child, Chelsea. “When we were painting in here (the new location), I was remembering when Mom and Dad opened. My dad kept fussing at me because he was painting, saying “Get out of here! You’re pregnant.” Now Chelsea is expecting a little girl.
“Isn’t that how cycles go?” Carol said. It’s an interesting observation, considering the kolache business. The word kolac come from the old Slavonic root kolo, meaning “circle” or “wheel.” A fitting symbol for the circle of life.
Although Carol’s husband, Jeff, has a full-time career, he jumps in wherever the need is and took off a week to paint and make the new bakery space ready for opening.
From the first day open, owner Carol White has seen a steady stream of customers. She regularly sells out early and has to bring over more from the original location.
Carol was there on the first day her parents opened the shop. “We were very busy and we had kolaches everywhere. We used my grandmother’s recipe, so they were cracking tons and tons of eggs (for the yolks) and had all these egg whites left over. So, they started making angelfood cakes - even chocolate angelfood cakes, to use the egg whites. My dad would grind poppyseed and they would make their own filling,” she said.
“My mom actually converted that recipe later, so it’s really my mom’s recipe, but it tastes like my grandmother's. My mother did all the hard work to make it affordable for people to buy.
While watching her grandson, Creed, 6, playing nearby, Carol talked about how her children grew up in the shop. “If my kids were sick or thought they were sick they were here. Chelsea kind of learned that Grandpa would come pick her up with crackers and a Sprite - no matter what was wrong with her. So, my parents basically raised my kids and took care of them there; they always had a sleeping bag there,” she said.
Her children worked to earn spending money in the shop throughout their high school and college years and they still help when they can. Chelsea (now Pierce) teaches art in the Rogers school district, but she still helps make rolls. Carol’s son Chance now runs cattle, but will still come in when he can. “I didn’t just give them money. If they wanted something they worked. I may have overpaid them, mind you. I always had something for them to do - paint a barn, make casseroles, do my shopping for me. They are hard workers,” Carol said.
“They were raised in the kolache shop, without a doubt, more than they probably needed to be,” she said with a laugh.
Just then she smiled at Creed. “It’s kind of great that I have him here now,” she said.
And the "kolo" of life continues ...