Homemade Sourdough Bierocks

For the past few years, I’ve tried to make foods that have components of both teams in the Super Bowl. This year’s teams are San Francisco and Kansas City. I could have gone the easy way and had a steak sandwich on sourdough bread, but I wanted to try something a little bit different. Something that would let me test my cooking skills. I saw that the Kansas City regions (both Kansas and Missouri) have something called bierocks as a popular local dish. They are a yeast dough pastry pocket sandwich filled with savory foods.

Since this was a bread dish, I thought that sourdough would be a good match, since sourdough bread is one of those things I think about when it comes to San Francisco. I looked for raw sourdough bread, but was not able to find any in the grocery stores, so I decided to make my own sourdough starter, which I wrote about yesterday.

One of the tough things with sourdough bread is that it can have a very hard crust. I didn’t think a hard crust would be a good fit for the bierocks, so I had to make adjustments.

Last night, I mixed up 2 cups of my sourdough starter, 3 cups of flour, 1 1/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. It was a better consistency than my first effort, and I covered it loosely and let it sit on a cookie sheet over night.

I thought about the timing of the food and how it would best be prepared. I had to make the filling and provide it with enough time to cool, so that was the next thing I worked on.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground beef

1/2 head cabbage

1/2 large white onion

dash of salt

dash of pepper

Step one was to chop 1/2 head of cabbage and 1/2 of a large white onion.

Next, I browned the ground beef. I used an 85/15 split, so there was some fat but not too much. I added the salt and pepper right before it was all browned.

Next, I added the chopped cabbage and onion and reduced the heat to medium low. I covered with a lid and cooked for 25 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

I took off the lid, turned the heat up to medium, and cooked for another five minutes. I then set it aside to let it cool. I tried a couple of bites, and it tasted much better than expected.

While the mixture was cooling, it was time to turn my attention to the sourdough. After about 15 hours of sitting, it expanded and got flat. I put some flour on a wooden board and worked the dough a bit.

I could have stopped here and made a bread bowl, but I wanted to make those bierocks. I rolled the dough until it was about two inches around, and then took off two inch portions and made round balls.

They didn’t keep their shape, but that was okay. This batch made 19 dough balls. I let those sit for about 15 minutes, which also gave the filling more time to cool. I didn’t want the filling to be too hot, since it was going to be surrounded by dough.

It was now time to make these stuffed sandwiches. I flattened out the dough balls.

Next, I added in a spoonful of filling.

I sealed it up at the top, and then I rolled it around in my hands to be more rounded.

This is one of the trays. They didn’t keep a round shape, but they still looked good. There were a couple of spots where there was too much filling and it tore through the dough, but I wasn’t looking for perfection. The meat mixture was about twice as much as I needed. I don’t mind the leftovers, since I can use them in the next few days. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I did this to let the dough have some more time to rest before getting baked.

I cooked them for 15 minutes, rotated, and then another 16 minutes, and they were done.

It was now time to eat. I know that I made this well before the Super Bowl started, but there was no way I could wait until 6:30 PM to eat food. And prep time would take away from watching the game (and the commercials). Biting into this stuffed sandwich was pretty nice. The top was easy to bite through and was not crunchy like a normal sourdough bread. The bottom was a little more crisp, but still easy to bite through. I think this would be better with the traditional dough, which would be softer and a little more sweet, but this was still good.

The meat mixture had some good flavor to it. I’m not always a big fan of cabbage, but it had a nice consistency to it and it absorbed the flavors of the meat and onions really well. I had one bite that was just cabbage, and it had a velvety consistency and a smooth flavor that pleasantly surprised me. I really enjoyed this meal. It would have been better to have people to share it with, but at least I already have my lunch and dinners prepared for the next week. It’s easy to stay positive when the food you spend time to prepare works out. No matter what happens in the Super Bowl, this has been a great day. Enjoy!

The Habit Burger Grill – Rockville, MD

I had a plan to go to The Habit Burger down in Rockville, Maryland for a few weeks. This was the weekend that the timing worked out the best.

The Habit has been in the news recently, since it was bought by Yum! Brands. I used to work for Yum! Brands at the Taco Bell Corporate office in California, but my opinions for this are my own. I’m not sure if I’m happy about the change in ownership. I was working for Yum! Brands when they took over A&W and Long John Silver’s, and I don’t think they did things right. I’m hoping that they can sit back and let The Habit do what it does best, and not get too mired into trying to change the way they do things to the “Yum” way. If they support them in the background, it could be a mutually beneficial deal for both sides.

The first time I heard of The Habit was about 15 years ago. We used to visit my uncle and grandmother in Goleta, and I remember one time my uncle was talking about liking to go over on Hollister Street at a hamburger joint called the Habit. I never thought too much about it, but looking back, I wish that I would have recommended going there with him at least once.

It wasn’t until a few years later that The Habit started popping up in Orange County, and I enjoyed it. If you haven’t been there, think more along the lines of Five Guys or SmashBurger, not McDonald’s or Burger King.

Now that I live in Maryland, it’s not a place I can go to whenever I feel like It. I have to take the time to plan a day to go there. When I was in California, I could have driven by one of their restaurants any day of the week on my way to or from work, or visiting with family.

As far as the Rockville location goes, it’s right on Rockville Pike, but if you blink you might miss it. I’ve been there a few times, since it’s one of those places that reminds me of California. It’s close to CostPlus World Market, so if I time things right, I can get there right at lunch time.

They’ve got some paintings up, which pay homage to their roots. I think that’s pretty cool.

I decided to go with the Double Char with Cheese combo, which includes fries and a drink. The Double Charburger has two Chargrilled burger patties, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayo, and caramelized onions on a toasted bun (and I got it with cheese as well). I ordered mine without the pickles and forgot to order without tomato. The buns had good flavor and held the sandwich together well. They didn’t get mushy and didn’t break apart. They were intact down to the last bite. The burgers had a nice, juicy flavor with the right amount of seasoning. The caramelized onions gave an extra layer of flavor that really elevated the overall experience. No ketchup needed for this burger at all. Everything in there worked perfectly. The fries were nice and crispy, but I should have asked for light salt. These didn’t have too much salt on them, I just prefer to have little to no salt on my fries. Compared to fries you can get in other places, these were still good. They were a nice complement to the burger. The bonus was that they have Mr. Pibb, so I had a complete meal.

This was a very good experience. The burgers are made fresh, but it wasn’t a long wait. It helped that I got there right at 11AM, but even when it got busy, there was still a good flow to the other customers getting their food.

I was happy to eat at The Habit Burger Grill today. The food was really good. It also brought back nice memories of California. It made me think of my uncle. Although he’s not here anymore, having these little reminders of the good conversations we used to have makes it easier to focus on the positive side of things.