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!

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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…

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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:

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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!

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