By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s that time of year when your baking skills can either rise up or crumble like a sugar cookie. But in the town of Montgomery, more than 100 years of kolacky practice have allowed one family to get it just right.

Each morning that Franke’s Bakery opens its doors, it’s a family reunion.

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“This place was my dad’s pride and joy, besides us of course,” said Jean Franke.

Jean, her brother Bob, and other family members are carrying on a tradition that dates back to their grandfather’s childhood in Czechoslovakia. In 1914 he moved to Montgomery, Minnesota with their grandma- and bought this bakery.

“She said she’d only stay in the little town of Montgomery for a year. She passed away in 1985 so that was a very long year for her,” said Jean.

It was the dough that got her to stick around. For more than a century now, the Franke’s have been making kolacky’s using the same mixers and ovens that grandpa used. The two-inch sweet dough squares get a heaping tablespoon of filling before they’re baked. Jean learned to fold these before she learned to fold laundry.

Jean said they can make about 20 kolackys in a minute.

The Czech delicacies have become so popular that the town was given the title of Kolacky Capital of the world. Kolacky Days take place the last weekend in July and there’s even a kolacky-eating contest.

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Franke’s will bake up to 1,800-dozen kolacky’s just for that weekend. They’re also willing to teach anyone who’s willing to learn.

What’s inside is apple, apricot, raspberry, prune or poppyseed- which is an acquired taste.

The flavors are written in Czech as well as English- for first-timers who happen to stop by.

Hans Berreau had his first-ever kolacky. “It’s delicious,” he said.

It’s a reaction the Franke’s have grown used to over the years at a place where tradition meets taste.

“We have a lot of people who keep coming back- traditions that grandmas made for them. They still want that little taste of home,” said Jean.

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During Kolacky Days, the Franke’s can have as many as 15 family members making kolacky’s.

John Lauritsen