Well folks… If you don’t know what a Runza is you’re either 1. Dumb 2. Not from Nebraska/Kansas/Colorado 3. Missing out. I’ve made these before…but I’ve ‘cheated’ on them to save time by using the frozen biscuit/cressant dough from Pillsbury and then just rolling that out. I’ve also this into a casserole of sorts by throwing just the mixture in a dish, covering it with the dough and just baking it that way. It’s good, but not as good as individual ones.
After researching some dough recipes, I nearly decided to cop out and use the premade or frozen dough… this recipe requires active yeast… which is always testy… and I love breads…but my bread phase was a while back making me less familiar. And when I say bread phase…I should have clarified…bread machine phase, so it really makes it more about being good at ingredient combination, more than bread-technique. I had lots of fun playing with different ingredients, and made some really fun breads… but it was time to hone in on some real dough.
One of the recipes I looked at used a Challah bread… which was really tempting because I LOVE Challah bread. It’s a traditional Hebrew bread, and I’ve been to several Jewish events where this was traditionally served…it’s one of those deals where you pull that ‘big’ purse out of the closet and line it with plastic because you’d rather harder to try sneak home food than socializing. If you live in Lincoln, there is a great store (if it’s still there) right across from the Mill by Union College that serves ‘to die for’ breads, donuts, and pastries. (Thanks Libby-she pointed this out to me back in high school. snap). Anyways…I love Challah bread so much that I didn’t want to mix up my love for the bread alone …quite yet anyway, just to throw bierock filling in it.
Bierocks: origination German/Russia is basically onion, cabbage, and meat slow cooked for a long time then wrapped and baked in dough. Many Russian baked recipes make them similar to pelmeni filling which is a combination of both pork and ground beef. I just used ground beef this time around.
After my 9.5 mile bike ride last night, I decided the best thing for me to do was spend my night making
unhealthy things….and giving them to some of my favorite people so that I don’t consume them. Gives me an excuse to practice making things without adding on poundage to myself!
I’m was prepping the dough, and screwed up my first round of yeast: so I walked 2 blocks to ghetto Russ’s to retrieve some cabbage and active dry yeast. You combine it with warm milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. Yeast is always finiky (for me at least). If it’s too cold…it won’t activate…if it’s too hot, you’ve killed the yeast and what you’re making won’t rise. So I made my dough and then had to let it sit for an hour ‘in a warm place’ to rise/double in size. It always says to ‘keep it in a warm place’…and I’ve found that the two places that work best for me are to lock it in the microwave (don’t turn it on) or I’ll turn the oven on…and set the covered bowl on top (keeps it warm!) and the dough rises just great.
While the dough is setting, I begin my filling. Beef, shredded cabbage, onion, worchestorshire, salt/pepper, and I added ground mustard and paprika for my own flare as well… I also threw about a 1/4cup of water with some beef bollion in there to saute’ up some more flavor… once the beef is browned you cover and let it sit for 45+min or so…this allows the cabbage and onion to soften up and flavors to seep.
Dough is risen, and then drain your filling and let it cool!
Punch the dough and let it sit for 5. Then you divide it in half and form the pieces into (2) 8×11’s (mine were bigger I think). Then each 8×11 you cut in 6 pieces…give you 12 total bierocks. Add 1/4 cup of meat (I also added a half a slice of cheese in there for cheese bierocks!) and then take the corners and bring them to the middle. They look like the cutest little envelope squares…that you want to eat! Then you place them on parchment paper and cover them with a towel for 20 min before putting them in the over to rise more.
Here was my mistake: I worked to slow… you gotta work fast and get those things made so they can sit after they’re wrapped up cause the dough will rise more after you add in the filling….if you don’t work fast they don’t rise much and don’t look as nice, plus the dough gets harder to
work with. I’ll know better for next time.
My first batch was really neat looking after the 20 min lapse. Perfect little squares and beautifully risen dough- then topped with some brushed melted butter and pop em in the oven for 15 min…maybe a little longer to get the right golden brown.
These were definitely a lot of work…but well worth it and also fun to do. I already have little tweaks I want to make for the next time…so next time I have 3 hours to spare… I know a couple of people that will have their fridges re-Runza’d. I actually worked at Runza thru high school…so next time I also want to make some swiss-mushroom ones! My mouf is already watering… .who doesn’t love Runza!?
I definitely think these were well worth the effort…very tasty, and a really good Runza Inc, copy! I think my revision for next time would to be to stretch out the dough a little more…which is a double bonus..more bierocks out of the deal and they’ll be less ‘bready’. I think I’d also throw in some more cheese too.