A characteristic and portable food of the Volga Germans on the American plains is the Bierock (and if you don't like my spelling, make up your own). The bierock is a baked bun stuffed with cabbage, onions, and meat. I learned how to make these from my mother and the other women of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League, St. John's Lutheran Church, Ellinwood, Kansas, who used to make thousands of them for the annual Fest im Park. St. John's is a predominently Hanoverian German congregation with a few Volga Germans mixed in as the leaven in the meal. What I do different from the St. John's women is that I put the dough through its first rise in a Vorteig, or batter, stage.
- 2 packs yeast
- 1 tablespoon + 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups warm milk
- 4 cups + 4 cups flour
- 2/3 cup lard
- 2 eggs
- 1 pound ground beef or pork
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 1 head of cabbage (shredded)
- Seasonings to taste (salt & pepper, soy sauce, herbs of choice)
Eat these with a cucumber salad in summer, or with some pickled stuff in winter.
A word about the filling. Most bierock fillings are terribly bland. It's a matter of taste, but I season pretty heavily with garlic salt, pepper, caraway, a Bavarian herb mix, and soy. Because the mix is wrapped in dough, it can stand plenty of seasoning. The dough in this recipe is slightly sweet, which may affect your choice of seasonings.
- Start out with three mixing bowls. In the smallest, proof your yeast mixture: yeast, tablespoon sugar, and water.
- In the middle bowl, mix the milk, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar.
- In the large bowl, mix the 4 cups flour and the lard, then the eggs.
- Put all this stuff together into the big bowl and mix. This is the vorteig, or batter. Let it rise.
- After the vorteig has risen, mix in the other 4 cups of flour, knead, and let the dough rise again.
- While it rises, start the filling in a pot on the stove: brown the ground beef, add and cook the onions (chopped) and the cabbage (shredded).
- Pre-heat oven to 350o.
- Roll out pieces of dough, spoon filling on, and wrap them up.
- Bake about 15 minutes on greased sheets.