Weekend Fare: Meat Piroshki

These tasty meat pies go by many names internationally. In Kazakhstan, you can find them being sold on the street corners and in bakeries – they are nearly always wonderful! These hearken back to bierocks that my husband enjoyed and pierogies that are traditional for our friends. Whatever the name, these are great for travel, for making ahead, and for freezing. I think they would be really good with some cabbage or other vegetables in them as well.

adapted from Cooking for Kaz: Meals for Hope, Volume 2
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 Meat Filling:
1 med. onion, diced
1 T. oil or butter
8 oz. ground beef
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
fresh herbs (opt.)
1 egg

Brown the onion and ground beef together with oil or butter if needed. Add seasonings. Allow to cool. Add egg. Stuff in piroshiki dough as described below.

1 ½ tsp. dried yeast
pinch of sugar
5 Tb. warm water
5 Tb. butter, softened
1 lb. (about 4 c.) flour
1 tsp. salt
8 T. milk
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve yeast and a sugar in the warm water. Mix in the softened butter, flour, salt, milk, and eggs. Knead into smooth dough (I let my mixer do the kneading). Leave to rise until it has doubled in volume. Punch down. Roll out dough until quite thin. Cut out in small circles and brush the inner edges with milk. Stuff with filling and fold into semi-circle or canoe shape. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Weekend Fare: Quick Rolls

I simply must share how I adapted my pizza dough recipe into light and fluffy dinner rolls. We had company and I hadn’t really done a great job at planning a menu so I threw these together hoping they would work – they don’t have to rise which is why I love them the most! Anyway, it worked and we loved them.

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2 Tb. yeast
2 c. warm milk or water (I used half of each)
2 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter, melted
5 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix yeast, milk, and sugar together. Add salt, butter, and 2 c. flour. Combine and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add remainder of flour. Knead (I allow my mixer to do this part) for 10 minutes by hand or 4-5 minutes in a mixer or until elastic. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes. Shape into rolls. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Guest Recipe: Wheat Bread

As long as I can remember, my mom has baked bread from scratch. It’s wonderful and the house smells amazing when it’s baking. One of my favorite memories growing up was having hot, fresh bread and homemade soup for lunch. We would devour an entire loaf with butter melted on each slice. Her recipe has changed a lot over the years but I asked her to share a basic recipe with her notes here at The Cooks Next Door.

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2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 tsp. bulk active dry yeast)
1/2 c. warm water (105-115)
1//3 c. honey
1T. salt
1/4 c. oil, butter, or shortening
3 c. unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
3-4 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in honey, salt, oil, rest of water and the white flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough whole wheat flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a large greased bowl; turn greased side of dough up. Cover with a lightweight cloth (tea towel); let rise in a warm place until double’ about and hour. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.)

Punch down dough; divide in half. Flatten each half with hands into a rectangle (9×12). Roll dough tightly starting at the 9 inch side. Pinch edge firmly to seal; fold ends under.

Place loaves seam sides down in 2 greased loaf pans, 9x5x3 or 81/2×41/2×21/2 inches. Cover again and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375. Place loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.

Mom’s  notes: Bread dough is pretty forgiving. You can easily adjust the amount of honey or oil according to diet needs and end up with a good product. I have made this completely by hand.

After adding the white flour to the liquids, beat with a sturdy wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until the batter slips off the spoon in a sheet, sort of. Then add the whole wheat flour a cup at a time and beat in until the dough is easy to handle for kneading. When you knead, you will work in more of the whole wheat flour as you keep the dough from sticking to the kneading surface. Making the bread without equipment to mix or knead will build your muscles and get your heart rate up–good aerobics. 🙂

A note about whole wheat flour: Use the freshest whole wheat flour you can. The oils in whole wheat begin to deteriorate (get rancid) when the grain is ground. Whole wheat should be stored in the refrigerator (or freezer for a longer period of time). If you have a grain mill, you can grind a mixture of several grains (millet, barley, rice, quinoa, kamut, groats, etc.) having the majority of the grain being wheat (for the gluten). This will produce a multigrain bread. Also if you prefer to use all whole wheat or multigrain to improve the nutritional quality of the bread, add about 1/3 c. gluten for some of the flour. Gluten is a necessary protein for the texture of the bread. The initial beating of the dough and the kneading both help to activate the gluten.

This bread freezes well and the batch can easily be doubled. It’s an even better workout!