Bierocks are savory meat, onion, and cabbage “pies.” It was brought to the United States in the 1880s by German-Russian immigrants. Most often, they’re filled with cooked and seasoned ground beef, shredded cabbage and onions, then oven baked until the dough is golden brown. The filling is encased in a sweetened yeast dough. Bierocks are similar to the pirogi of Russian and Ukrainian cuisine.
Bierocks are extremely portable, great for nutritious snacks all season long or a great addition to picnics and potlucks. They are most delicious, however, warm from the oven. Truly, is there anything better than freshly made warm bread?
Many people love their bierocks drizzled with mustard. For me … they are perfect without.
Bierocks: A German Russian Savory Meat Pie
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups bread flour, divided (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
Filling: Cook the onion and ground turkey in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Add cabbage and sprig of thyme; cook until cabbage wilts, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and chill.
Dough: Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl (or stand mixer); let stand 5 minutes. Stir in milk, oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and eggs. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture, and stir to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). You can also knead the dough in your stand mixer for about 8 minutes.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 10 1/2 x 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut each rectangle into 6 (3 1/2-inch) squares. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), spoon about 1/4 cup filling into center of each portion, and bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Bring remaining 2 corners to center, pinching points to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place the bierocks, seam sides down, on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Uncover bierocks. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until bierocks are browned on the bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove bierocks from pan, and cool on wire racks.
Note: To freeze, cool completely, and wrap individually in foil. Place wrapped bierocks in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator. Place foil-wrapped bierocks in a preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes.