The flavorful combination of beef and cabbage stuffed in a fluffy roll makes German Bierocks the perfect hand-held food to go along with your Oktoberfest beer.
Oktoberfest in Munich
How we wish we were back in Munich right now.
Saturday marked the start of a huge, two week long celebration of German culture, heritage, and tradition.
Some of you may be thinking, “Wait. I thought Oktoberfest was all about the beer?”
People from around the world have gathered in Munich to celebrate these things through one, much more specific thing.
Oktoberfest: The World’s Largest Fair
This 16-day festival, held each year in Munich, Germany is considered the world’s largest fair, bringing over 6 million people to that Bavarian city each year.
To the locals the festival is known as “die Wiesn” after the name of the festival area “Theresienwiese” (literally “meadow of Therese“).
The history of this festival goes all the way back to 1810, but we’ll go into the rich history later this week.
Of the attendees, almost 3/4 are from the surrounding Bavarian region, with the last 1/4 being made up of visitors from all over the world.
These visitors consume liters upon millions of liters of Oktoberfest beer, which must meet special purity requirements.
Basically, it’s one HUGE festival!
German Bierocks: The Perfect All-In-One Meal
We thought these bierocks would be a great way to kick off the next two weeks, since, what goes better with beer, than a hand-held all-in-one meal?
Bierocks (pronounced bee-ROK) are yeast-raised rolls that are filled with a savory filling.
They originated in Eastern Europe and are very common among German immigrants to the US.
(You can find a similar hand-held meal from Eastern Europe in the Russian piroshki.)
The bread that surrounds the cabbage, beef, and onion filling in these bierocks is dense, eggy, and so delicious that it could be a meal in itself.
But it is also a perfect complement to the savory filling.
It’s sturdy enough to stand up to the filling, but soft enough that you’d swear you were eating your favorite, fluffy dinner roll.
How To Make Bierocks
For what looks like it could be a complicated dish, bierocks are quite simple to make. The most time consuming part is the time it takes for the bread dough to rise, and that’s all hands-off time.
We make use of this time to make the filling, which is just a simple sauteed mixture of beef, cabbage, and seasonings.
Once your dough is risen and ready, you simply divide it into eight portions and roll each into a ball. These balls get flattened a bit, so you can add the filling and create a pocket.
The important part is making sure the dough gets pinched tightly closed around the filling.
You don’t want any filling to spill out before you take a bite!
How To Reheat Bierocks
We like to make a double batch of these rolls whenever we make them, because they freeze SO well.
We freeze them after baking, so they just need to be thawed on the counter for a few hours. Then a quick stint in the microwave is really all you need to get them nice a warm!
It’s so handy to be able to pull a couple frozen rolls out of the freezer and reheat them for a quick meal!
For the Dough
- 1 c milk, warmed to 80F
- ¼ c white sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
- 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¾ tsp salt
For the Filling
- ½ lb ground beef (85-90% lean)
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 c shredded cabbage (about ¼ of a medium head)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Last But Not Least
- 1 Tbsp milk
For the Dough
- In a large mixing bowl, mix milk and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the milk mixture and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast softens and starts to foam.
- Whisk mixture to combine and whisk in 2 c of flour.
- Add melted butter, egg and salt. Whisk to incorporate.
- Stir in remaining flour ¼ c at a time until the dough comes together. Turn dough onto your counter and knead, 10-15 min, until a soft, smooth dough forms, adding flour as needed. (Your finished dough should be tacky, but not stick to your hand or your kneading surface.)
- Shape dough into a round; place it in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
For the Filling
- While the dough rises, make your filling. In a large non-stick frying pan, brown meat over medium high until mostly cooked, 5-7 min.
- Drain as much of the grease from the pan as you can, while not losing the meat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add onions. Cook 2-3 min, until they begin to soften.
- Add cabbage and cook 7-10 minutes, until cabbage is tender.
- Remove filling from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Putting it all together
- Knock back the risen dough and turn onto your work surface.
- Divide dough into 8 balls (roughly 3 oz each). Flatten each ball to a circle 4-5” in diameter. (If the dough springs back, flatten as much as you can, cover, and let the dough rest for 3-5 min before attempting to flatten further.)
- Spoon 2 large tablespoons of filling onto the center of each circle, leaving the edges clear.
- Bring the edges together and pinch them to seal the dough completely. Continue until all the dough and filling has been used.
- Place the shaped bierocks on a greased baking sheet and let rise, covered 30-45 min, until roughly 1.5x their original size.
- During the last 10 minutes of rising time preheat your oven to 375F.
- Brush the bierocks lightly with milk and bake for 20-25 min, until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Remove from oven and let cook on a wire rack.
These rolls freeze well after baking. To eat, just take them out of the freezer in the morning and they will be thaw by lunchtime. Warm them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes in 30 second increments to heat through.
Want to convert to WEIGHT measurements? Have a look at our ingredient conversion guide.
Serving Size:1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362
We’ve updated our pictures since we first shared this recipe on Curious Cuisiniere, but we’ve left some originals here, in case you’ve found us in the past and are looking for that old, familiar image.
If you liked this recipe, here are some similar dishes you may enjoy!
Sarah is co-owner of Curious Cuisiniere and the chief researcher and recipe developer for the site. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.