Bierocks: Beef and Cabbage Buns

Taste buds truly are amazing! The memories that come flooding back when we eat certain foods is mindboggling! This is one of those recipes that really takes me back to my childhood.  Mamma used to make it regularly at the dorm when I was in junior high and high school.  It was definitely a favorite! 

Bierocks is a German (possibly Russian) bread that is filled with beef and cabbage. 

I couldn’t find the recipe that we had in the dorm, so I winged it and just started adding this, that, and the other thing, and this is the result.  (I did find out from Mamma, after creating this recipe, that the Bierocks we used to have comes from the More-with-Less international cookbook). 

My husband and I really enjoy this recipe, and there are lots of different variations depending on your tastes.  I only recently started adding a couple Jalapeño peppers, and boy does that add a nice, gentle spice to it—not overpowering at all!

As far as the bread goes, you can really just use your favorite bread recipe, it doesn’t have to be this one.  This is our favorite, so it’s what we use, and they are delectable.

When it comes to the filling, as far as I’ve gleaned from the innerwebs, bierocks is not really supposed to have carrots or garlic or some of the other seasonings that I’ve added.  But, as I’m someone who doesn’t really love vegetables, I’ve found this to be a great way to “sneak” more veggies into my diet (not sure how sneaky it is seeing as I’m the cook, lol).  I also love how the carrots add a lovely sweetness to the filling. 

This is the perfect meal idea for a picnic lunch or hiking snack, AND they freeze really well!!

Bierocks: Beef and Cabbage Buns

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. **

Bread Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm Water (480 mls)
  • 2 TBSP Yeast (20 grams)
  • 1 cup Buttermilk (240 mls)
  • 3 TBSP Butter, melted (45 grams)
  • 3 TBSP Molasses (60 grams)
  • 3 TBSP Sugar (37 grams)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Potato Flakes (15 grams), optional
  • 7-8 cups Bread Flour (~1 kg)
  • 1 Egg + 2 tsp Water—for Egg Wash

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP Cooking Oil
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced (200 grams)
  • 5 medium-large Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 5 small-medium Carrots, grated (200 grams)
  • 6 cups Cabbage, finely chopped (600 grams)
  • 2-4 Jalapeños, chopped with the seeds, optional
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp dried Thyme (or fresh if you have it)
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Bread Directions:

Start with ½ a cup of warm water and add your yeast to it.  Stir it well and set it aside for about 10 minutes to bubble and froth. 

Meanwhile, in a separate, large bowl (or your KitchenAid mixing bowl), pour the remaining 1 ½ cups of water, the buttermilk, melted butter, molasses, sugar, salt, and potato flakes. Use a whisk to mix it all together. 

Once the yeast/water mixture has sat or about 10 minutes, add it to the bowl and give it another whisk so that it’s all evenly mixed.

Gradually start to add the flour, mixing as you go, until you have a nice ball of dough.  Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding small amounts of flour, as needed, if it’s too sticky. You want the dough to spring back at you when you gently poke your finger into it.

After kneading, grease a large bowl and place the dough in it to rise.  Cover it with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.

When it has fully risen, punch it down. 

Filling Directions:

In a large sauté pan (we got this set for our wedding, and the 4.5 quart sauté pan is perfect for this job!), heat the oil and butter .  Once the butter has melted, add the onions and garlic, and fry them until they are tender (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the ground beef, and sauté it until it is nicely browned. 

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.  Place a lid on the pan and let it simmer on low for about 30 minutes, or until the cabbage has cooked all the way through and is nice and tender.

Set the filling aside to cool a bit while the bread dough finishes rising.

Assembly Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the bread has doubled in size, punch it down and weigh out 2 oz balls of dough (it should be enough for about 3 dozen buns)–see time saver tips below to speed up this process!

Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball so that it is about 3-4 inches in diameter.  Place 1 oz of filling in the center (this ends up being about 2 TBSP).  Bring the edges of the dough up and pinch them together so that you end up with a nice round ball with no holes in it. 

Place the filled buns on a greased baking sheet.  Because of how long the assembly can take, you don’t have to let them rise again.  But, if you get your Littles to help you and have a nice little assembly line going, speeding up the process, then I would recommend letting them rise for 10-15 more minutes after you have placed them on the baking sheet.  Beat the egg with 2 tsp of water until it’s smooth.  Gently brush each bun with the egg wash. 

Bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown. 

Remove them from the oven and place the buns on cooling racks

They are best when they are warm, but also make a delightful picnic or hiking lunch as well!  Our favorite condiments to eat them with are ketchup and ranch dressing.  Growing up, we also used to put soy sauce on them, which is also very good.

Time Saver Tips:

  • I know that this is a precise (or dare I say, tedious) process with the weighing of the dough and the filling.  If you don’t have the time or patience for it, you can just divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll out each part into a rectangle, and cut it into 12 squares.  Put 2 TBSP of the filling in each square, and proceed with pinching the edges together as described above–no weighing necessary! My husband and I have been keeping close tabs on our caloric intake, which is why I tend to go through the effort to weighing out the ingredients as precisely as possible.
  • Should you decide to weigh everything, I would recommend that you start weighing out the filling and setting it in small piles on a large cutting board while the dough is rising so that it’s one less thing to weigh during assembly.