The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat "Runza" need a dough recipe

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!


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:

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.  :)

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.