Friday, October 16, 2020

Bierocks/Runzas - Nebraska Comfort Food #BBB


Welcome to Fall and October!  I decided to have the Babes try out a Nebraska specialty this month known as runzas or bierocks.  They are common in regions with strong Eastern European and German heritage, and similar to Pirozhkis, and reminiscent of Cornish pasties.  Basically a yeast dough, pocket sandwich or bun, filled with a savory filling, usually meat, onion, and cabbage based.  There are whole Runza restaurants in Nebraska with flavors like Original (meat, onion, cabbage), Cheese, Swiss Mushroom, Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon, BLT, Spicy Jack, Vegetarian, etc.  So it really can be built to taste.  I left the choice of dough and filling open to whatever our bakers desired to try out.  I have even seen an Italian flavored Runza out there though I suspect that it is closer to a Stromboli than a runza at the point!

When seasoning the filling, err on the side of over-seasoning.  Once it is wrapped in the dough, all the flavors are muted and you don't want to end up with something bland.  I even added Mongolian fire oil to my filling and could not taste it at all after baking!  Interestingly, my family was just okay with these, I guess they prefer a stew with bread rather than a neat little package!

Have you ever had a runza?  What is/would be your favorite filling?  Bake along with us this month and try it out!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to me by the 30th of this month at eleyana (AT) aol (DOT) com.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Nebraska Runza/Bierocks
makes 12 

Runza dough:
(Serves 12)
4½ cups all-purpose flour (feel free to use part wholemeal or add flax meal for speckles, I used 70g fresh ground sprouted spelt and the rest all purpose)
2 tbsp sugar 
2 pkg. (¼ oz) yeast (One pkg worth works fine (2¼ tsp))
1 tsp salt 
¾ cup milk 
½ cup water 
½ cup butter 
2 eggs, beaten

Start by placing half the flour, and the sugar, yeast, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Gently heat the milk, water, and butter to 115º F.
Pour warmed wet ingredients into flour mixture. Stir slightly before adding beaten eggs.
Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. 


Filling ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 pounds ground beef
4 cups shredded cabbage (about ½ a head of cabbage)
(optional) - 1 small can sauerkraut, with the juice (I used ~1 cup Bubbie's kraut, which is jarred and not cooked and tastes fantastic)
salt and pepper to taste (be liberal here, the bread tempers the seasoning) I added some Worcestershire too
(optional) cheese of your choice

Chop onions and garlic and sauté in a large frying pan with a little butter or olive oil until tender.  Add ground beef along with generous amounts of salt and pepper.  Cook until beef is cooked through and drain well.
Put browned ground beef into a large pot or crockpot. Stir in cabbage and kraut.  Simmer 3-4 hours, stirring often, and seasoning and tasting.  If using a crockpot, cook on "low" for 5 to 6 hours

Punch dough down, and divide into 12 equal portions. 

Working with one piece of dough, roll out a circle of dough approximately ¼″ thick.  It shouldn’t be so thin that it is breaking up into holes when you handle it.  To help with the shaping, place the round into a bowl. Dump the filling (~½ cup) on top of the dough, and then pull the dough around the filling and pinch sides together to seal.  Flip the runza out, seam side down.

Place onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet (edges can touch).  I made a half batch of six.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  

Optionally, brush tops with melted butter during the last 10 minutes of baking for color and flavor!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Old Fashioned Steamed Brown Bread #BreadBakers


When I hear the words "brown bread", I immediately remember the taste of the good old B&M bread in a can.  As a child I particularly preferred the plain version over the one with raisins, but we only had them on very rare occasions.  We would open up both ends, remove one lid, and use the other to slowly push out just enough to slice off and toast.  Then we'd slather them with butter and enjoy, piping hot.  Such a treat.  So that was definitely my pick for our brown bread challenge.  It did take a couple different recipe tries but the second recipe was exactly the batter I was expecting and spot on for flavor!  I did take it out of the steamer a little early and it collapsed just slightly because the crumb hadn't fully set.  Next bake, I will go the full 3-hour time to ensure the crumb is both gelled and firmly set.  So although it was a little more dense than it might have been, it still takes me right down memory lane.  I just toasted it really well.

The stuff I grew up eating.

Now, truth be told, this really is a quick bread recipe.  Some folks (that don't like it) have called it a cake masquerading as bread.  This is totally not cake.  It might remind one of a nice, dark bran muffin texture and flavor.  Regardless, it's a family tradition I am happy to bring back.  Note that this recipe may be doubled and baked in five 16oz canned good cans that have been cleaned and paper removed.

Traditional Steamed Brown Bread
Makes one small loaf
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup corn meal (I use millet meal)
½ cup graham or whole wheat flour (I used half fresh ground sprouted spelt and half fresh ground rye)
3/8 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Stir together the dry ingredients and the raisins.  Add molasses and buttermilk and beat well.  Grease a small pudding tin well with butter and fill with the batter (batter should reach halfway).  (I used a 1.25 Qt bain marie).  Cover tin tightly with foil.  Place on a rack in a deep kettle on a burner.  (I used my graniteware steam canner).  Pour in boiling water to 1 inch deep.  Cover kettle and steam for about 2½-3 hours, adding more boiling water if needed.  Keep at a simmer.  Uncover tin and place in a hot oven (450ºF) for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from cans and serve hot, or toast after cooling.  Good with butter, mascarpone, or cream cheese.
Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a day or so. Refrigerate up to several days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

 Be sure to check out all the other brown bread bakes this month!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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