Family Recipes

Earnest Family Bierocks

Staci Bell
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Earnest Family Bierocks (hamburger and cabbage filled buns)

1 medium cabbage, chopped into about 1/4 inch bites
2 onions, diced
¼ – ½ c apple cider vinegar
3 lb 80/20 hamburger
2 tbsp seasoning salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (however.. it’s custom to use a looooot of pepper)

7 – 8 c all purpose flour
2 pkg active dry yeast
2 c milk
2/3 c sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 tsp salt
4 eggs

1. DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and warm milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add in melted butter, then add in eggs one at a time.
3. Add flour (with salt mixed in) to the mixture, only 1 cup at a time. Use a mixer with a bread hook if possible.
4. Transfer to clean bowl, molded into a ball, rub a couple tsp of olive oil over the dough. Cover bowl with warm, damp cloth or paper towels in a relatively lukewarm or slightly warm place (like close to the stove on the counter). Let rise for 1 hour, punch down, and let rise for one more hour.
5. FILLING: While dough is rising for the second time, in a pot brown the hamburger with the onion until it’s cooked through and onion is soft, add seasoning salt. Then add the cabbage, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste as it cooks until the cabbage is completely softened. You can drain the excess fat at this point.
6. DOUGH: Punch down dough, Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a dough that is smooth and elastic
7. ASSEMBLY: dust surface with flour, Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, and a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut into squares of dough into desired size.
8. By the spoonful, place some filling mixture into the center of each square, apportioning all of the mixture among the squares. For each, bring the two opposite corner ends of the dough square up to meet one another, then do the same with remaining ends and pinch them (all 4) together with your fingers. Then pinch together any open slits that creates, making a seam of each. Using your fingers dipped in water helps them stay ‘glued’ together.
9. Set the squares on a greased baking sheet, seams down.
10. Let raise 30 minutes.
11. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 °F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. When removing from the oven brush each bun with melted butter. Makes about 3 dozen depending on how big your runzas are, but recipe can be cut in half to make less.

I brought this recipe down from Nebraska when I moved to the Ozarks in 1992. I am a descendant of German/Czech/Russian Mennonite stock that immigrated there in the 1880s. This is a dish we will cook most often around the holiday season… but to be honest, if I get a hankerin’ I’ll make them any time of year. I vividly remember the house filling with the smell of yeast dough rising, the filling simmering in the pot, being impatient waiting for it to cool down before we could stretch and pull the dough over little parcels of filling we would tuck away. So good. Pro tip – f you have left over dough from tasting too much filling *AHEM*, it’s perfect to make cinnamon rolls with! I like to eat the finished product with lots of mustard. Sometimes we will put extra ingredients in with the filling to get different iterations (cheddar, mushroom/swiss, ‘pizza’ ones with tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella, etc.) Time consuming, but so worth it! Enjoy!