I often wonder: How many changes/adaptations does it take to change a recipe from traditional/authentic to something else/mine? There must have been a time in the beginning that I followed a recipe to the letter because I have none of those romantic stories of learning to cook with my mother, grandmother or aunts or even my dad. Dad was the baker – he worked in a bakery for several years starting at age 17. Mom was the cook.
I mostly grew up in the 1950’s when “convenience” for the housewife was in vogue. I best remember two food items in my mother’s cooking. An extremely frequent fast and economical meal was a can of tuna mixed into a can of mushroom soup then ladled over minute rice. Yes, my brother, sister and I not only ate that but I believe it became comfort food to us. Yes, that really was the meal. Maybe I should suggest you take a deep breath or two to get around that. The second thing I remember about mom’s cooking was the fried chicken she cooked every Sunday after church. This was fried chicken for the angels. Totally, totally then and now the best fried chicken on the planet.
Now what has that got to do with the BBB Runza recipe that Kelly from AMessyKitchen brought to the kitchen table this month? Kelly gave us a great beginning story about Runza Rolls, brought to Nebraska and Kansas by immigrants, and the Runza Restaurant in Nebraska that is now on my Please can we go there list. Elizabeth from BlogFromOurKitchen then jumped repeatedly down rabbit hole after rabbit hole and really fluffed out a detailed story of Runza.
I am going to refer you to Kelly and Elizabeth for the full Runza history. Here … well here I’m going to tell you my Runza is probably in name only, not traditional and not authentic. My rational for My Runza is I think immigrant cooks from 100 or more years ago probably made Runzas with what they had on hand many times and only got really set in stone when modern supply chains took over. That’s my rabbit hole and I’m in it.
Gorn & I are absolutely in love with these. First, for the dough recipe I used an eBook, Shauna Sever’s Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland. This dough is a dream.
makes 12 rolls
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
380 g unbleached bread flour
340 g sprouted wheat flour
45 g King Arthur Special Dry Milk
20 g ground flax
20 g brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
380 g warm water (110° to 115°F/43° to 46°C)
113 g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Oil for bowl
Whisk yeast, flours, flax, dry milk, sugar and salt together.
Warm water then add melted butter and two eggs and mix.
Mix the dry with the wet ingredients and knead until you have a smooth silky dough.
Allow to rest and rise in a covered oil bowl for 30 minutes. Gently give the dough a stretch and fold, return it to the oiled bowl covered for another 30 minutes.
My dough weighted 1368 grams; divided by 12 made each dough ball 114 grams. Yeah, I’ve gotten comfortable with weighting and pinching dough to get same size dough balls. That does not translate to all the rolls looking the same when baked.
Roll the dough ball to about a 6 inch circle. Thanks to a hot tip from Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories to leave the center of the circle thicker, I ended with a nice roll on the top and not a super thick bottom!
Use 1/3 cup filling for each roll. I pulled two sides together and then pushed the stuffing into each end and pulled the dough slightly then folded it to the center. Placed each roll on sheet pan lined with parchment.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Mine took about 23 minutes.
The first batch were ground turkey, onion, and sauerkraut! WOW they were great. I gave four away. We ate the remaining over the next four days. They reheated beautifully.
Yesterday, I made the dough again. I only made 3 (remaining dough overnighted in the fridge). Two rolls I filled with beet tops and one I filled with mincemeat.
Tomorrow I have another plan entirely for the remaining dough…
Really you knead to knead these! Have you ever had a runza? What is/would be your favorite filling? Bake along with us this month and try it out! No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to Kelly by the 30th of this month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants’ baking results during that time.
October 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm
The dough is such a dream, isn’t it? I love your filling and the addition of the whole wheat. Beautiful bake!
October 17, 2020 at 8:33 pm
A dream come true!
October 18, 2020 at 2:35 am
Beautiful! Love the filling, the dough, the stories, the additions, the memories, and the rainbow. Seems like many of us used that dough!
October 18, 2020 at 8:23 am
I’m with you that immigrants probably made their food with whatever ingredients they could get and just tried to make the final product be as similar as they could to what they were accustomed to eating. (Think of chopsuey and pizza…) This is completely understandable with people who are coming to a place that doesn’t really have a set cuisine.
But I was really interested to read that the Volga Germans tried to retain their food traditions in the hundred or so years they lived in Russia, where there was already established food influenced by Persia, China, France…. As I wandered through the warrens of the internet, I couldn’t quite figure out if meat-stuffed bread might not have been something they already made in Germany and brought with them, or if they truly were copying something they saw being prepared by their new neighbours. It’s truly fascinating how our food choices evolve, isn’t it?
Your runzas look delicious.
And I love the rainbow!
October 18, 2020 at 8:42 am
Oh yes Elizabeth, I’m sure their aim was to come up with something similar to what they remembered. I’m fascinated that those attempts sometimes resulted in something fabulously new and unique that has become “prime”.
Truly it is fascinating how cooking and baking takes many twists and turns. Incredible how almost any country I know has some form of flat bread precisely because it is reasonably low labor to get on the table.
October 18, 2020 at 11:35 am
I’m constantly amazed at the similarities between different cultures on opposite sides of the globe. (Think of tortillas and chapatis!)
And of course, runzas would be ideal to throw into a pocket or satchel for workmen to take out into the fields. When you think of it that way, it’s kind of surprising that there are many variations at all.
What I find really wonderful is how many dishes that were primarily peasant fare have become gourmet foods. Evolution is an amazing thing!
October 18, 2020 at 8:45 am
Oh and I love the rainbows I get in my kitchen. We hung countless crystals in our high (peak of the roof) south facing windows and then some low hanging in the west. Now if there is sun I get rainbows all over.
October 18, 2020 at 11:30 am
I love rainbows too. We have draped a chain that has several inexpensive crystals hanging from it over the curtain rod on the sole kitchen window in our little house. (The chain was a discarded decoration we found on a Christmas tree waiting by the side of the road one January to be picked up by the City compost trucks) . I love the rainbows that appear on different surfaces depending on the time of day. They’re so cheery, aren’t they?
October 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm
Moving from our huge house in Dallas to our small house in the woods I got rid of so much. Somethings I couldn’t get rid of and had to get creative about storage or use. Years ago my mother, who was always a proper and sophisticated woman, gave me a crystal star burst candle holder. I never used it as a candle holder. That was my first rainbow maker here. We used fish line to hang it. When I got rainbows it always felt like my mom was visiting. Strange idea but it works for me. After that I found various inexpensive crystals on Amazon.
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October 18, 2020 at 6:39 pm
I like that you used whole wheat. I meant to add some but forgot. Thanks for sharing the photos of how you shaped it. I did something similar but ended up with too much bread on the bottom and not enough on top. Yours look really nice.
October 18, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Cathy, it was Karen who suggested rolling the dough ball flatter around the edges and leave the center thicker but Pat suggested adding some extra dough to the center. More than one way it would seem. Rolling the edges thinner worked well for me.