Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten Free Bierocks

Gluten Free Bierocks (German meat pies)

Before I met my husband, in his bachelor days he used to throw huge New Year's Eve Parties, he tells stories of people getting locked out of the house over night in the snow, someone sleeping on the stereo cabinet, countless tales of horrifying hook ups (won't detail those here, we do need to discuss food later and I don't want people losing their appetite.)  Suffice to say it was a huge sloppy mess of a party for a few years in there.  Then he met me, and had to change his life because I do not enjoy cleaning up other people's messes (besides my child's), you want to party like that get a hotel room and tip the maid!  Over the last few years the parties have toned themselves down anyway without me laying down the law.  Last year was our first year having kids at the party and in October I started worrying about keeping several toddlers up till midnight, I started brainstorming.  I realized that New Year's Eve is celebrated around the globe, why are we locked into celebrating it at 12:00am EST.  So last year we started a new tradition of celebrating the midnight of a different country so that we can still toast, spend time with our friends, and get the kiddos in bed at a decent hour.

Last year we celebrated Italian New Year's Eve, with (admittedly Americanized) Italian food, and a toast at 6:00pm EST.  We had a great time and all our friends told us they loved it for all the reasons we did, particularly getting kids to bed on time.  So we realized we had a hit on our hands, and we are fortunate that a good portion of Europe is in the same time zone so we can pick a new country every year and have a new theme.

This year we decided on a German theme, and for a while couldn't figure out what to serve beyond beer, brauts, and sauerkraut.  Then I started remembering a dish that my dad used to talk about from his childhood.  I recall him talking a lot about eating Bierocks that his "Little Grandma" used to make for his family when he was a kid.  Now that Dad eats gluten free, and Little Grandma is long gone he hasn't had a Bierock in years.  I thought it would be a great idea if I could test run a Bierocks recipe while we were out visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, in preparation for this year's New Year's festivities.  Plus Dad would be able to tell me how close the Bierocks were to the real thing, and if I needed to research a new recipe.

We scoured several cookbooks, and even asked around to find out if Little Grandma's recipe was ever written down anywhere.  No luck on Little Grandma's version, but we did find a suitable stand in.  Fortunately my parents keep a huge barrel of Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour, so it was less work for me to convert over the recipe.  It's certainly not a simple recipe, in fact I would suggest that you plan on starting to make these about three days before you want to eat them.  It is not only a long process because it's a yeast dough, but it is incredibly labor intensive, I needed a nap halfway through making them, but it was worth it.

Two days before New Year's Eve I was here at home making a full batch of Bierocks, and opted to mix my own flours.  What a disaster!  It was as if changing out the flours made a totally different product, the original recipe called for 10-11 cups of wheat flour.  I think I used at least that if not more of different gf flours, my whole kitchen was covered in a fine layer of tapioca starch that took two days to clean.  And the final product of Bierocks looked like they were made out of dried play dough.  They tasted really good, but I was not at all happy with the dough portion.  As a result I will provide my first recipe which was a huge hit, Dad loved them and said I got it right, I was so excited!

Cute little dough purse full of yummy meat and cabbage.

Gluten Free Bierocks

2   Cups Bob's Red Mill GF AP Baking Flour
1   Tbs Xanthan Gum
1 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/4  Cup Sugar
1   tsp Salt

1 1/4  Cup Water
1/2     Cup Milk
1/4     Cup Butter

1   Egg

1 lb   Ground Beef
1  medium Onion (chopped)
1  tsp Salt
1/2  tsp White Pepper
1 lb bag Coleslaw Mix (without dressing)


  • Mix Dry ingredients and set aside
  • In a sauce pan, heat water, milk and butter just until butter melts.  Remove from heat and let cool to 120-130 degrees (F).  Combine with flour mix and add egg
  • Using Kitchenaid (or other heavy duty mixer) blend on low speed until moistened, then beat on medium for 3 minutes.
  • By hand gradually stir in enough extra flour to make a firm dough.
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 min.
  • Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease top.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place till doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down and let rise again until almost doubled, re-wet tea towel and cover again.


  • Start making filling while dough is rising so you will be ready to assemble when after dough is rolled out.
  • Brown Beef and onion in a large pan, add salt and pepper
  • Pour in bag of cabbage, and cover pot until cabbage softens and wilts
  • Spoon 1/3 - 1/4 Cup of filling onto each dough square
  • Bring the four corners up over filling and pinch together and seal
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 30 min
One batch all ready for the oven.  My folding and sealing process needs a little practice