Little Prague Bakery’s recipes are four generations old and still delicious
When Blanka Ly searches for a recipe, it has nothing to do with Google. She doesn’t need her phone or an internet connection to check how much cinnamon in her favorite cinnamon roll recipe or how to make apple filling for apple strudel. Ly’s recipes come from her great-grandmother, who lived in what is now the Czech Republic. Passed down for generations, Ly now cooks with her family’s recipes for Little bakery in Prague in West Seattle.
In 1999, Ly’s mother opened the family business, preparing her grandmother’s classic Eastern European recipes. When she finally retired, Ly took over to continue the success of Little Prague by delighting us with flavors of the Czech Republic both in their storefront and at local farmers markets. From the delicious sweetness of a poppy seed strudel to hearty Hungarian goulash with dumplings, Little Prague is as authentic as it gets.
For Ly and her team, it’s all about community and connection. The Sweet and Savory that comes from Little Prague Bakery focuses on using local ingredients, creating a positive experience for the community and honoring Czech recipes.
“The best part was when we were serving meals at the bakery, and I was getting a plate that had basically been licked off,” Ly said. “So I thought, ‘Oh my God, they love this.’ It’s the best reward I have.
For those new to the incredible cuisine of Eastern Europe, Ly has some must-try recommendations. Start with Little Prague’s best-selling kolaches, a sweet bread with a center filling. Cream cheese is the traditional filling, but it’s okay to try apricot, cherry, or poppyseed. The special kolaches are a perfect combination of cream cheese with fruit, like blueberries or caramelized apples.
On the savory side, Ly says everyone must try Hungarian goulash, a simmering beef stew. Little Prague serves this dish with homemade steamed bread dumplings.
All of that is available at the bakery house in West Seattle, but Little Prague is huge on the farmers’ market scene. Most weeks they hang out in seven different markets throughout the week. Ly said her whole family is used to planning life around farmers markets, but that’s fine with her; she enjoys seeing customers and other vendors in the markets each week.
“I connect with my clients. Even if they don’t come by to buy stuff, they stop and say hello,” Ly said. At a recent Sunday market, a man buying cherry strudel explained that he had loved Little Prague pastries for more than 10 years. When he was young, he asked his parents for a cherry strudel for every birthday. “He said no Sunday would be complete without Little Prague.”
For Ly, her fellow market vendors are just as important as the customers. Wherever possible, Little Prague Bakery uses produce, eggs, honey and flour from local vendors.
When the pandemic interrupted some farmers’ markets, Ly said some fellow vendors were struggling and she offered them space in the Little Prague storefront to sell their wares. “We had flowers, we had eggs, we had meat, we had fresh pasta, all the vendors we work with at the market,” Ly said. “They are like family and I knew I couldn’t let them go.”
Family is a deep thread at Little Prague Bakery. From passing down recipes for four generations to seeing generations of families come to taste their famous kolaches, Ly said she passes her knowledge on to her children and grandchildren.
If you haven’t tried Eastern European flavors at Little Prague Bakery, your weekend homework is to try the Nutella Choco Walnut Roll. We care about your happiness in life, and it’s a surefire path to pure pleasure.
The Little Prague Bakery is located at 6045 California Ave SW. It is open Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also find Little Prague at the Kirkland, Issaquah, Magnolia, University Village, Ballard, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets. Check their website and Instagram for updated locations and times.
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