Monday, January 20, 2014

Sourdough Bierocks and Empanadas

My friend, LeAnn, shared a wonderful bierock recipe with me. The ingredients are very simple and the end result is so delicious. I did substitute my own recipe for the dough since I am trying to ensure all my grains are prepared to maximize their nutritional benefit. I was worried the substitution might change the taste overall, but it did not. In fact, this dough is really wonderful and very close in taste to my friend's original recipe.
It was so good that I started filling it with all kinds of yummy stuff. So, you'll find the recipes below for Bierocks and also for Bacon Cheeseburger Empanadas and a *bonus* for Breakfast Empanadas in the Comments. I am sure you will also come up with lots of delicious fillings for this wonderful dough - please leave your ideas in the comments.

It is easy to keep a sourdough starter (I promise)! - please check out my Quick Start Guide for more information.


2 1/2 cups flour (I have used a combination of all kinds-- Unbleached White, Whole Wheat, Einkorn, Spelt, Sprouted Spelt, etc.), plus a little extra to work the dough
6 tbsp. cold butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk, as needed (start with 1 cup)
1/2 cup sourdough starter, I use this one
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling - Bierocks
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 small cabbage, diced
1 small onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Filling - Bacon Cheeseburger
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 to 1 lb. (8 to 16 oz.) bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups grated cheese of your choice
2 tbsp. naturally fermented soy sauce, like this one
1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. dried parsley

Lard, Expeller-pressed coconut oil, or tallow to fry the bierocks

**** See Comments below for breakfast empanadas

How To:
1. Start dough: In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until the butter pieces are small and crumbly (I use this, which works awesome). Then add milk (start with 1 cup), starter, sugar, and salt, and mix with a spoon until incorporated. You want it kind of dry and hard to stir, but not to the point you need to use your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and a few towels, set in a warm place, and leave it alone for six to eight hours or overnight. It will be much more moist after sitting for a while.

2. Make filling: In a large pan or skillet, brown the ground beef and onions until the beef is cooked through and the onions are tender. Add bacon (cook through) or cabbage (cook until tender), depending on filling version above. Then season. Taste and re-season. For the cheeseburger version, add cheese and mix until melted.

Bacon cheeseburger version after adding cheese
3. Finish dough: After sitting all day (or all night) remove your dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface. It will probably be pretty moist, so just add flour as needed to work the dough. Knead until it is soft and easy to work, about 5-10 minutes. Use a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness (closer to 1/8 but not so thin it will tear). Cut into rows and then cut the rows into squares. You want about 3 inch squares, but it doesn't have to be exact. You'll have about 20 to 25 squares in total.

4. Make your "packages": Place two or three spoonfuls of beef mixture in the center of each square. Use one hand to pull up each corner and use the other hand to hold the corners and pinch together. After pulling up the corners, continue to pull up the remaining gapped areas so you have a little package and pinch closed at the top. You will do this for all your dough squares.

Bierock package
5. Cook: Heat oil to medium heat in a skillet. You want about a 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom of  your pan. When the oil is hot, gently place your "package" into the oil, seam side down, and flatten a bit. Let cook a few minutes on each side, flattening as needed, until browned. You may need to turn down the heat to medium-low. If your sides aren't done enough you can turn them on their sides to brown up a bit. Let rest on a plate lined with paper towels or a rack.

Bacon cheeseburger empanada

One of our favorite ways to use this dough is to make breakfast empanadas with any leftover dough. It is the way we normally make the bacon cheeseburger version, because we will typically use a pound of ground beef, which only uses up about 2/3 of the dough. Re-knead any unused dough into a ball and stick that into the refrigerator until you're ready to use. Then roll it out on a floured surface and fill with your favorite breakfast combo.

Filled with scrambled eggs, onions, bacon, & grated cheese

Try scrambling five or six eggs with 6 to 8 oz. of bacon (or sausage or ham) with about half an onion, some herbs, and a little cheese. For breakfast, I will typically make smaller "packages", about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the bierock version. Then fry as indicated in Step #5 above. This works out really great because these little empanadas make quick breakfasts that you can easily reheat in a toaster oven (or your regular oven) and they taste so good. When making along with the bacon cheeseburger filling (using only a pound of ground beef), you will have about 15 to 20 medium-sized bacon cheeseburger empanadas and then about 15 small-sized breakfast empanadas.

This dough is really awesome and I think you're going to love it. I highly recommend that you make a double batch and freeze anything you don't use right away so you can have quick bierocks or empanadas another day. A note about rising times--I have let the dough rise for 24 hours. The flavor is more sour, as expected, but the dough does not hold together well. I find myself having to make "patches" or double wrap the "packages" so that I don't have a bierock wardrobe malfunction of sorts. I think 8-12 hours works really well. The dough rises nicely, but still holds together. If you are going to let rise for 24 hours or if your dough seems to pop holes easily, you will want to chill it a bit before making your packages.

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This recipe was shared at Fat TuesdayReal Food Wednesday, Foodtastic Friday, and Saturday Show and Tell. Please follow the link for other great recipe ideas!

1 comment:

  1. Our family loves bierocks so i can't wait to try this recipe, using sourdough; instead of an egg dough. Thanks for sharing:)


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