Kraut Bierock (Bieroch)
February 19, 2010 § 26 Comments
It was in the 8th grade when I was introduced to bierocks (German cabbage burgers). I was at a friend’s house for a sleep over and her mom, who was of German descent, was making kraut bierocks for dinner. We helped with the preparation. The whole house smelled so good from the beef and cabbage but nothing compared to the heavenly smell when these golden packets came out of the oven. Ahhhh, good times. I don’t know what got me thinking about these recently but when I described them to the Mister, he mused at me enthusiasm and said I needed to make them.
I don’t know how many people have heard of bierock but at some point in time, many of us have had something similar. Calzones, empanada, cha siu bao, knish and kibbeh are just some examples of other types of meat filled dough/pastry that are baked, steamed or fried. Some round, square, or triangular but all of the same concept.
There are a lot of bierock recipes out there and the one I remembered was primarily cabbage, onions, garlic, ground beef, salt and pepper. The filling can be adjusted to suit one’s taste easily. Want cheese? Sure. Want Italian sausage? Sure. Want diced potatoes or some other kind of veggie? Sure. Want just vegetarian? Uh, sure.
As far as the dough, several ways to handle that. You can go homemade, like I did with the recipe below, or use store-bought dough. It could be frozen dinner roll dough, frozen pizza dough, crescent roll dough or even puff pastry. But for a German kraut bierock, I recommend either dinner roll dough or frozen pizza dough.
If you feel adventurous, make your own dough using the recipe below (includes manual and stand mixer instructions) or use your favorite yeast roll or bread recipe. I like the recipe below since it has a good texture and just a hint of sweetness that I think goes nicely with the filling. It also heats up really well, which makes for wonderful leftover or for snacking on. Also freezes well too.
I’ve tweaked the filling recipe to my taste. I like the filling to have more spices than just salt and pepper. Add/omit spices to your taste. The filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to assemble. Best to let it come to room temperature before filling.
Ingredients for Filling:
1 lb ground beef
1 whole cabbage head, cored and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry sage
1/2 tsp dry cumin
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Canola oil
In a pan on medium-high heat. Add meat, breaking up meat and cook until raw color is gone. Drain any excess fat and set aside.
In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add cabbage, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce, cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t brown cabbage. Drain off any excess liquid.
Add cooked beef to cabbage mixture and cook for 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is completely softened. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
Ingredients for Dough:
2 C warm water
1 (1/4 oz) packet active dry yeast
6 – 6 1/2 C flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 C unsalted butter, room temperature
Canola or vegetable oil
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
Add 2 cups of warm water to a large bowl. Sprinkle one packet of yeast over top of the warm water and give it a little whisk. Proof for 5 minutes.
In another bowl measure, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter to flour mixture. Using fingers or a pastry knife, combine butter into flour to form small crumbs. It will still be very floury.
For stand mixer method:
If using a stand mixer, add 3 cups of flour to the wet ingredients and using the paddle attachment, beat on medium (Speed 4 on most models) for 2 minutes. Continue to add a 1/2 cup at a time, making sure all the flour has been combined after each addition before adding more flour. The dough will start to form around the paddle. If the dough starts to get too stiff for the paddle, change to the dough hook. Continue adding flour until the dough loses its tackiness. The dough should not be wet. You may not need all of the flour.
With the dough hook, knead dough at medium-high (typically Speed 7) for 5 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl and the surface of the dough is smooth.
For manual method:
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well with a heavy handled wooden spoon or spatula. Use hands to combine all remaining flour into dough. Lightly flour work surface. Turn out dough onto work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.
For both methods:
Lightly oil a large bowl with oil. Put dough into bowl and coat dough with oil. Cover with tightly woven towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in a warm, draft-free place.
Lightly flour work surface. Turn dough out onto work surface and divide dough into half. Place one half back into the bowl. Roll half into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Try to square off the ends but don’t worry too much if the corners aren’t pointy.
Cut lengthwise down the center. A pizza cutter works great for this. Then make 3 even cuts across to make six 5×5 inch squares. Put dough squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with other half of dough. Each half will make 6, totaling 12.
Place 2 large spoonful of filling in the center of each square. Begin with opposite side of the square, draw the 2 corners together and pinch close. Take the other 2 opposite sides and repeat, now with all 4 corners together. Pinch the side edges together firmly to form the seams of the pillow. There should be no filling peaking out.
Flip pillows over onto baking sheets. You don’t have to line the baking sheet but I like to use either the silicone baking sheets or parchment paper minimize clean-up since sometimes a little liquid may leak onto the pan during baking. Cover with towel and let rise for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F while the pillows are rising.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.
Here they are right out of the oven.
And after a brushing of melted butter. Ahhhh, can’t you just smell these?
I can eat 2 but usually pretty darn stuffed after 2. If freezing these, let cool completely and then freeze up to 2 months in the freezer. For reheating refrigerated burgers, easiest way is to use the microwave, heat for 1 mintue on high. If you want the bun to toast up a bit, put it in a preheated oven or toaster oven at 300 degrees F for about 5 minutes. For reheating frozen burgers the fast way, put in microwave for 3 minutes on high (depending on the wattage) then crisp up the outside, bake at 300 degrees F for 5 minutes. Mmm, think I’ll go heat one up now.