Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns Recipe (Pyrizhky)

Yikes, it’s been over a month since my last post! Sorry about that. We’ve been super busy with 3 conventions, Pi Day, AND a long road trip in that time. Back now, and it’s about a month til our next convention, so… here I am!

Growing up, I loved Sauerkraut buns… soft little bready balls of joy that would show up at family gatherings. Though we’re not Ukrainian ourselves, growing up in Winnipeg meant that many of the traditional foods from other cultures – Especially Ukrainian – were pretty… ubiquitous. Bacon, onion, and sauerkraut is a pretty genius filling, so it’s no wonder that these were super popular back home.

I’m kind of surprised that it seems like no one I know here in Minneapolis has ever heard of them!

While preparing for Pi Day, I decided that it was time to develop a recipe for a gluten-free version. These aren’t QUITE as soft as the original – and the technique is different for putting them together… but they are full of flavour, inside and out. The bread has a great texture, and they’re easy to make.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns (Pyrizhky)
Makes about 35 buns

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
1 1/2 cup+ Brown rice flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1/3 cup Potato starch
2 Tbsp Tapioca starch
3 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
1 lb bacon, chopped
1 bag saurkraut (about 19 oz), well drained
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Melted butter

Prepare the dough:

Gently mix together warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the brown rice flour, remaining flours, starches, xanthan gum and salt. Form a well in the middle, and pour oil, eggs, and sour cream into it. Mix well, then add the yeasty water. Mix until everything is well incorporated, then knead lightly for 1 minute – it will be a bit wet. Place dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise somewhere warm for 1 hour.

As you are waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling:

Cook bacon & onions until bacon is almost cooked, but not crispy. Add saurkraut to the pan, cook and stir well until bacon fat is absorbed and everything is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

One the hour rise is up, mix remaining 1/2 cup rice flour into the dough. Pinch off a walnut sized piece of dough, and work into a circle. If dough is too wet to work with, add a little more flour. You want it more wet than normal dough. Let stand for another 10 minutes.

Assemble the sauerkraut balls:

Note: I like to wear latex gloves for assembly:

Divide dough into a bunch of walnut sized pieces – about 35 of them.

One at a time, flatten a piece of dough into a circle approximately 3″ across – I like to do this in the palm of one hand. Place a 1 Tbsp mound of filling in the center of the circle. Carefully pull up the edge of the circle up and around the filling, sealing the filling in (like a drawstring bag). Roll around between your hands a bit to get a uniform spherical shape, and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling, leaving at least 2″ between dough balls.

Loosely cover cookie sheets with plastic wrap, and allow to rise another hour.

Heat oven to 375F. Remove pastic wrap from cookie sheets, bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and brush liberally with melted butter.

Great served hot, fresh out of the oven, cold, or even reheated. IF they last that long.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten Free Paska! (Citrussy Ukrainian Easter Bread)

Recently, I was asked to make 3 huge batches of my Paska for a screen test for a local TV show. I was so confused at what I was thinking – it was such a great opportunity, and I love to turn people on to Paska – it’s *glorious* stuff – but I had already planned to not have to make Paska this year. It’s too great a temptation for me – last year, I went off gluten free when I made it and lived to sort of regret it. (The pain was awful, but the bread was kinda worth it – it’s THAT good!).

I really didn’t want to go flying off the gluten free wagon, especially with my health doing so well lately. I’m strong, but some temptations are too great, even for me. I know myself well, so I decided to create a gluten free version.

Sure, I’d never made a gluten free bread before this point (and this was before my recent Gluten Free Deep Dish Pizza epiphany.)… but you know, I love a challenge.

Oh lord. This was amazing. It didn’t have quite the same texture as the real deal, but the flavor was there. I slathered butter on a slice fresh out of the oven, and it was heavenly. So good, in fact, that I immediately messaged local friend Alissa, of “The Accidental Celiac, to inform her that I am a GENIUS (and so humble!), and that if she was around, I had to bring her something. There may have been some capitalized expletives and exclamation point abuse involved also.

I wrapped some still-hot goodness up, stepped away from preparing supper, and went the few short blocks to deliver it. Yep, fresh out of the oven Paska is THAT urgent… especially because having access to safe, GOOD bread when gluten free can make you sort of… feral.

Says Alissa:

“GF Paska, I dub thee “Magic Bread.” My daughter already has had 2 servings..and a part of the braid on top. It was so yummy…and the scent was heavenly. Nice and lemony…mmmmm THANKS for the surprise delivery!!!”

Anyway, the screen test ended up cancelled, but at least I got THIS out of it all. This morning I was reminded that I had not posted this recipe, though all of this went down just over a week ago!

Enjoy! (more…)

Paska – Ukrainian Easter Bread

As I mentioned in my “How to make Pysanky” blog post, my absolute favorite part of Easter – growing up – was Ukrainian Easter bread, called Paska. My grandmother’s neighbor would bake it every year and share it with us. After the egg hunt was over, I knew we’d be going to my grandmothers and this delicious, citrussy bread would be waiting for us. SO GOOD. It’s sweet, and almost like a cross between a cake and a bread, and she used to bake it in coffee cans. It’s traditionally served at Ukrainian Easter celebrations, and I think of it as a breakfast bread.

The memories of that bread were so vivid, when that Pysanky post brought them up, that I decided to get the recipe from my grandmother. It’s always interesting when you’re trying to get a recipe through a game of telephone – especially when the first two passes are through old ladies 🙂 As usual with my family, the recipe came as more of a formula – no instructions… and I adapted it a little (increased the flour, increased the zest, changed lard to butter, ditched the coffee can in favor of decorated style), figured out what the directions would be, and made it last night.

I had originally planned to make this as a blog entry only, pass the finished product off to my husband to share at work, and behave myself. Gluten allergy be damned, I dug into that sucker AS I was taking it out of the oven! Whatever fallout should happen as a result, it’ll be worth it!

I prefer this bread served warm, either fresh out of the oven or microwaved. It’s a very tender, moist bread, so be sure to keep it from drying out. Also, it makes a TON of bread, so be prepared to make some friends VERY happy. There seem to be some wildly different ideas of what Paska entails – many don’t have citrus, some have a frosting – but this is what I was raised on, and it won’t disappoint!

I’m thinking that this will make some AMAZING French toast this weekend. Oh yeah. With a little vanilla, orange zest, and a splash of OJ in the custard… MMMmmm…








Easy Pysanky How-To (AKA Epic Easter Eggs!)

Though I’m actually Irish Canadian, my best childhood memories of Easter are decidedly Ukrainian flavored.

Manitoba is known for a huge population of Ukrainians. Huge! Excellent homemade perogies could be found anywhere… but I digress. My grandmother’s neighbor was Ukrainian, Easter meant that she’d bake up these wonderful citrussy breads – Paska – and share with us. Oh, they were amazing. My favorite part of Easter, I still remember those delicious breads.

Another favorite part of Easter back then was seeing the Ukrainian Easter eggs, which would show up in advertising, or on display, or whatever. I’d marvel at the intricate designs, the bright colors. Tons of beauty and talent, right there.

One year – I’m sure I was probably in grade 4 or 5 – my class went to the Ukrainian Cultural Center to learn how to make the eggs. We were given little tools to draw wax designs on our eggs – a little stick with a cone shaped well. We’d scoop some wax into the little well, use a candle to melt it, and draw our initial outlines on. We’d dye it, dry it, draw more wax on… lather, rinse, release. When we were done, we’d carefully hold our eggs up near the candle flame, to melt all of the wax we’d drawn on, to reveal all of the colors that we’d protected from subsequent dye baths.

Although none of our eggs looked anything like the gorgeous egg art displayed in the Center, it was a lot of fun. I’ve always loved learning new skills, and I’ve always loved learning about other cultures.

The other day, I was thinking about how much fun I’d had back then, and decided that I would try it again, with my husband. As we’re both sort of anti social, doing at at home was the most attractive option. As I didn’t own any Pysanky tools, I needed to either buy some, or some up with an alternate way to get the wax on the eggs. I briefly considered painting melted wax on with art brushes… but then thought of another way – CRAYONS!

So, last night we bought some crayons and eggs, and went to it. We had a BALL! It was so much fun, and definitely an interesting, fun alternative to our usual Tuesday night “date night”. Though our results were far from professional, they were definitely more interesting than your average “egg dyeing kit” results… and really easy! This is a fun craft for kids AND adults or all skill levels. Let me show you how we did it:



What you need

Newspaper
Napkins or paper towels. LOTS.
Egg Dyes and/or food coloring
Vinegar
Cups or bowls for dye
Spoons
Hard boiled eggs
Crayons
Candles, optional

How to make Pysanky, the easy way

– Cover your entire work surface with newspaper – preferably a few layers. Put a good stack of napkins at each seat – you will go through a ton of them!

– Mix up your egg dyes according to instructions. We actually used Americolor food coloring, guessing at the amount.

– If your dye instructions don’t include the addition of vinegar, I highly recommend adding some – about 1-2 Tbsp per dye cup. This results in much more vibrant colors on the finished eggs. If you’d prefer to do pastel colored Pysanky, then skip the vinegar!

– Add 1 spoon to each dye cup, and line them up on your work surface, progressing from light to dark. Our dyes were ordered: Yellow, Red, Green, Blue, Black.

If you have food coloring bottles, dye jars, or anything else, it can be helpful to place them in front of their respective dye cups – for identification.

– Decide on what you’re looking to design, and what colors you’re using.

– If you are using any white in your design, draw that part of it onto the egg with a crayon. Make sure that any lines or spaces that you want white are completely covered – you are using the wax to protect that part of the egg from subsequent dye baths! Once you are satisfied that all of your white is drawn on, dye your egg in the lightest color you’ll be using.

– If you are not using white in your design, dye your egg in the lightest color you are using.

– Allow your egg to sit in the dye for about 2 minutes, until the egg is the desired vibrancy. Use spoon to remove egg from dye, pat COMPLETELY dry with paper towels.

– When egg is completely dry, use your crayon to draw on the design for the color you just dyed. For instance, if your egg is now yellow, draw the yellow part of your design on with the crayon.

– Dye egg in the next lightest color you’re using. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Here are a few progressions:




Once all of your eggs are fully designed and have gone through their final dye bath, dry them all off completely (this is very important). We placed ours in a mini muffin tin to rest:

Now here is where we diverge from tradition, and kind of live to regret it!

Traditionally, you use a candle to melt the wax off. However, in googling to see if I was COMPLETELY off the wall in wanting to use crayons, I came across a post from Martha Stewart that recommended using an oven to remove the wax. I was intrigued by the idea, and my husband definitely preferred that to using a candle, so we tried it.

The idea is to put your eggs in a 250F oven for 10 minutes, and then use a paper towel to gently rub off the wax, revealing your final design.

I don’t know if it was our dye (doubt it!) or the technique, but we found that the oven caused moisture droplets to appear, and ruin the dye job. Our darkest eggs were left with neon pink dots on it, almost looking like someone had splattered bleach on it.

The solution we figured out after our first batch turned out weird:

Use a mini muffin tin. Lay paper towels out over the impressions, and gently rest your eggs on top. Bake at 250F for only about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully blot away any moisture. If any wax is melted, gently rub it off AFTER removing the moisture droplets. Return to oven, bake another 3 minutes, repeat. Do this until all of the wax is removed.

Some of our finished eggs:

Here are the eggs pictured in the progressions above:

Also – of COURSE – we *had* to make a Klingon Easter Egg:

(@jenusellis had the cutest comment on our tweeted picture: “LOL Is that a Klingon egg amidst the other pretty ones? 🙂 Easter FtlhW” Hahaha! ‘FthlW’!!! Love it! I have the *best* Twitter followers!)

Tips:

– You WILL break crayons. Have a lot on hand, and consider them disposable. The Dollar Store is your friend!

– Try to use a different color after each dye bath, so you can tell what you drew last time around, and which is new. Depending on the design, it CAN get confusing after a couple colors.

– You don’t NEED white, and you don’t NEED to end with your darkest color. Some of the prettiest designs don’t have one of those – or either of them. It can be very tempting to use every color, so try to break out of the habit!

– If you don’t *completely* cover a spot with wax, the next color of dye can/will seep in. If this happens, shrug if off and claim you meant to. It’s like… Easter Egg Patina finish. Yes. That’s what it is. You read it here first, I pioneered crayon Easter Egg Patina. Royalties, baby!

– Next time, I think we’ll be doing the traditional method of removing the wax. It’s slightly more labor intensive – and not as kid-friendly as the oven method – but I am sure it’ll produce a better final result. To do so, hold your finished-design, DRY egg up near your flame. Don’t let it touch the flame, or hold it OVER the flame – you don’t want it to smoke, as it may ruin your egg. Allow a small section of wax to melt, and gently rub it off with a paper towel. Repeat, until your whole egg is revealed!

– If you don’t have ankle biters around, this is a GREAT date night activity. Especially with booze. I tried to get #DrunkenPysankyMaking to trend on Twitter last night, to no avail. Regardless, it was fun, and highly recommended!



Sauerkraut Balls (Pyrizhky?)

I recently obtained this recipe from my aunt, by way of my grandmother. My husband was professing his love for sauerkraut, and I recalled the sauerkraut balls that this aunt used to make around the holidays. I remembered them being really addictive little bread balls filled with sauerkraut and bacon, but couldn’t remember much past that – it had been 2 decades since I’d had one!

So, after a couple of calls, I received an email with the vague recipe. I *immediately* set about making a batch for my husband. Between the bread, kraut, and bacon, I think he was about to start foaming at the mouth if I didn’t get right on it!

Sauerkraut Balls (Pyrizhky?)

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
1 lb bacon, chopped
1 bag saurkraut (about 19 oz), drained
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Melted butter

Prepare the dough:

Gently mix together warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Form a well in the middle, and pour oil, eggs, and sour cream into it. Mix

well, then add the yeasty water. Mix until everything is well incorporated, then knead lightly for 2 minutes. Place dough in

a large, greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

As you are waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling:

Cook bacon & onions until bacon is almost cooked, but not crispy. Add saurkraut to the pan, cook and stir well until bacon fat is absorbed and everything is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

Assemble the sauerkraut balls:

Roll dough out to an even 1/4″ thickness. Cut rounds that are between 3″-4″ in diameter.

On the center of each round, place a mound of about 1 Tbsp filling. Gather edges of the round and seal the filling in (like a drawstring bag). Roll around between your hands a bit to get a uniform spherical shape, and place on a lightly greased / sprayed baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling, leaving at least 2″ between dough balls.

Loosely cover cookie sheets with plastic wrap, and allow to rise another hour.

Heat oven to 350F. Remove pastic wrap from cookie sheets, bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and brush liberally with melted butter.

Great served hot, fresh out of the oven, cold, or even reheated. IF they last that long.

Grandma’s Perogies / Perogy / Pyrohy / Pierogi Recipe

Recently, I was craving perogies something fierce. At the time, I settled for crappy store bought frozen perogies, but vowed to make a batch of homemade perogies soon.

Growing up, my grandmother used to make amazing perogies, and I’ve never forgotten that – most else pales in comparison! Of course, she was the first person I called when I decided to try my hand at making them. She graciously provided her recipe, as well as an endless rant of tips. LOL.

My husband had never tried homemade perogies, and I’d never actually made them by myself before (just helped or watched!).. so it was an interesting experiment. Luckily, he was a huge help in the kitchen, and they actually whipped up a lot quicker than I thought they would! I had remembered them being an all-day kind of task, this was more like 2 hours, start to finish. This recipe may look involved, but it’s actually really easy. SO
good. Om Nom.. num.. yummmy!

Makes 4 or 5 dozen perogies – Enjoy!

(more…)