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Whole Wheat "Runza" need a dough recipe

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Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Whole Wheat "Runza" need a dough recipe

I remember from when I was a young Missile Launch Officer, stationed at FE Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wy, one of my favorite foods was a tasty cabbage  pocket from a gas station that we would buy on our way back from one of the missile sites. It wasn't officially called a "Runza" because it wasn't from the Runza restaurant. Perhaps it was really more of a "bierock", although that's a Kansas food. I really don't remember the shape to officially identify it's name, but since it was from Western Nebraska, most people would call it a Runza. The one I remember was actually baked by an older German woman who owned the gas station with her husband, I believe.  So, it may not have been the Americanized "Runza" that most think of from the Runza restaurant fast food chain or frozen in the stores.

I hadn't thought of this in years and the other day it just popped into my head for no particular reason. I don't do much cooking with white flour and most of the recipes I'm finding for Runzas are not only white flour but also include lots of sugar and very high amounts of yeast.  I don't think I would like the taste of these dough recipes. I don't even think I would have liked the taste back then, before I knew anything about bread, since I've never liked sweet stuff much, especially with my meat. I suspect the German lady who baked this wonderful cabbage pocket had her own recipe from the old country.

I'd like a good WW dough recipe that would work to make my own " Runzas". They don't have to be perfectly traditional, since obviously whole wheat won't be traditional anyway.

Thanks, Midwesterners!

Tracy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"Tasty cabbage pocket"  sounds like a cabbage roll ... so where is the bread located?  Outside, inside.  Is it more like a wrap?  Educate me!  Baked with the bread or separately?    BTY whole wheat might be more traditional than you think.  Sounds so much like the recipes that stem from earlier laborer lunches.

The runzas that I look up on-line look more like a stuffed sub sandwich.  How much cabbage to meat?  I bet that with low lean beef nowadays, the missing flavour has been replace with sugar.  Get some solid grass fed fatty beef and the flavour will improve.  The bread could be replaced in my mind with cabbage wrapping as well (paleo.)  Cut cabbage dropped in boiling water (and turned off) will wilt it nicely, you might want an optional teaspoon of caraway seeds in the water.  I can imagine that onion, garlic, black pepper, ev. salt and parsley also included.  I favour celery and a pinch of cinnamon and cloves in the meat to avoid sweet ketchup.   Crushed fennel perhaps?   

Found this for the filling: http://thisfoodthing.com/2007/08/08/original-runza-recipe/

Looks like just about any roll recipe dough would work well.   You can drop the sugar from most recipes.  Chilling the dough toward the end of the bulk rise will give you a stiffer dough to shape around meat clumps.  A trick my mil uses to shape cooked ground meat is to add a little mashed potato, keeps the moisture from gumming up the dough too.  Or just stir in a tablespoon of potato flakes.  :)

llwhitley's picture
llwhitley

The bread is on the outside. The cabbage inside is shredded. Onion is also added. There is no sugar added to the filling, only to the bread dough.

The proportions to cabbage to meat are really up to the person who makes them.

Variations include using ground meats other than beef, using sauerkraut to replace part or all of the cabbage. Adding caraway seed to the filling can be done also, but you have to be careful to make sure none of the caraway seeds is poking into the bread dough because it can poke all the way through and cause an undesired leak.

They are good with spicy brown mustard or with horseradish mustard. If you like plain horseradish, you'd probably like them with that also.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I don't think it a full rye would work but a bit of rye would be nice and caraway in the filling would work very nicely. It's really a lot like the Cornish Pasties except for the wrapper is a light yeast bread, probably like a brioche or hamburger bun type of dough, instead of the flakey, pastry dough used in Cornish pasties. Or spring rolls using an egg roll wrapper, again, using the bread dough instead.

I love cabbage rolls using the cabbage leaf as a wrapper but this is very different. I make cabbage rolls sometimes, too. I fill those with wild rice and hamburger or black rice and hamburger. 

With this recipe, though, I'm trying to recreate the Nebraska Runza and have a nice meal in a pocket.

 

llwhitley's picture
llwhitley

There are many names for bierocks, or runzas as you call them. They came to the US with Germans from Russia and are made in areas where there were significant settlements of Russian Germans.

I can tell you how to make bierocks but I don't have a formal recipe for them. Use your favorite sweet roll, cinnamon roll, etc., recipe to make the dough. A whole wheat dough will work as well as a white dough. While it is rising, prepare the filling: Shred a half head or so of cabbage and set it aside. Thinly slice some onions and set them aside. Brown a pound of ground beef (I use ground chuck.). Drain the excess grease. Add the onions, mix, and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the cabbage (along with a couple tablespoons water, if needed), mix with other ingredients, and cook until the cabbage is limp. Season to taste. Set aside to cool. If you want to put cheese in (I use cheddar when I put it in.), this is the time to slice it unless you want to use shredded cheese.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and let it rest 10-15 minutes. Then divide the dough into piece the same size you would use for sweet rolls or cinnamon rolls. Roll each piece into a square about 5"x5" (or more or less depending upon how big your dough pieces are). If you are using cheese place a piece in the middle of a square. Then place a scoop (or spoonful) of filling in the center. Bring the corners of the dough together and seal the edges. If you have problems sealing the edges of the dough, you can brush the edges with egg wash (using whole egg, egg white, or egg yolk in the wash) and then seal the dough. Place them sealed side down on a greased pan (NOTE: If you are accustomed to the style that is not smooth on the top, place the cheese on top of the filling and then place them sealed side up on the baking pan.) Cover and let them rise. Bake like you normally bake sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, or hamburger buns until nicely browned.

If you have extra filling and don't want to make another batch right away, the filling freezes nicely so you'll have it already made when you get ready to make them again.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I've got a recipe in Laurels Kitchen Bread Book that says it is good for cinnamon rolls. I'll give that a try, and try Mini's ideas for spices. I love the caraway, parsley and fennel plan!

llwhitley's picture
llwhitley

Caraway is fine if you take precautions not to let any caraway seeds poke the dough. You could grind the caraway seeds to eliminate that possibility. I'm not so sure about parsley and fennel though, especially fennel. They might taste alright, but they will not taste like Runzas. I'm also hesitant about mixing caraway and fennel together. That combination just doesn't sound too great to me although it might be alright.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

cinnamon.  Just enough for a complexity but not enough to pick out the taste.   If you use them.  

I tend to drop in a whole clove during browning and pick it out afterwards.  

And what about shrimp?  I did a cute trick last evening...  I threw sliced garlic and slices of ginger and butter into my pan and cleaned split shrimp on top of that when the butter was hot & melted.  Shrimp cook fast but kick out a lot of water.  I stirred and covered them for a few minutes and then fished the out with a slotted spoon into a bowl.   I then finished browning the garlic, onion and ginger rubbing the ginger around to pick up the browning juices as the water boiled off.  Then I threw the shrimp back in to pick up the browned tastes turning off the heat.  Man o man!  Woman o woman!  I could see tossing them into a bun too and something golden like Floyd's golden rolls... with bacon   Oh! and yes, can I switch to Emmentaler or a pizza cheese inside?  for either beef or shrimp?  I think I would call a shrimp Runza...  a Shrunza or Shrimpunza.  I'm getting hungry. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4862/sweet-potato-rolls