Rye Piroshki with Roasted Onions, Caraway, and Swiss Cheese – Recipe

Rye Piroshki with Roasted Onions and Swiss Cheese
Rye Piroshki with Roasted Onions, Caraway, and Swiss Cheese

Piroshki (not to be confused with pierogi) are individual yeast buns that are popular in Russia and all over Eastern Europe. They can be filled with anything from potatoes and cabbage to cottage cheese and jam. In Seattle, we have a shop called Piroshky Piroshky that does a really nice job with them. I used to live around the corner from one of their stores and loved to run in and grab one for a quick lunch.

As far as I know, piroshki are generally made with white flour. I had made a rye pizza dough that I ended up unhappy with – as pizza dough. I had some left over the next day, and was just messing around with what to do with them. Free association – rye … Swiss … onions … caraway. So I figured I’d just roll that up and bake it while I worked on something else. Turned out to be delicious, so I wanted to share it with you. At first I thought I’d call it a Jewish deli calzone, but then I figured piroshki is a closer match.

I did this with quick skillet-roasted onions, which have a browned exterior but a crunch remaining. I’m sure it would also be delicious with slowly caramelized, fully melted into sweet deliciousness. You’ll just need more of them.

Rye Piroshki with Roasted Onions and Swiss Cheese
Yields 8 piroshki

For the sponge (first part of the dough)

  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 650 grams warm water
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 25 grams sugar
  1. Put all ingredients in stand mixer and mix with paddle on medium-low speed until uniform, about 2 minutes. Allow to rest, loosely covered, at room temperature for 2 hours. (You can of course also mix this by hand.)
To finish the dough
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams dark rye flour
  • 75 grams vegetable oil
  • 15 grams salt
  1. Switch to the dough hook, turn on medium-low speed, and slowly add all of the remaining ingredients to the sponge.
  2. Continue to run the dough hook for ten more minutes (or knead by hand.)
  3. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl. Cover loosely and allow to rest for one hour in a warm part of your kitchen.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 balls and place on a floured baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rest one more hour.
To make the piroshky
  • 4 large white onions, sliced about 1/3″ thick
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted caraway seeds
  • Big pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces grated swiss cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt) salt or other finishing salt of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. Put the oil in your largest skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are well browned but still have some crunch. Stir in the caraway, cayenne, salt, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Taste and add more seasoning as needed.
  3. To form a piroshki, roll one ball of dough out on a floured board to about 10″ by 8″. Spoon in one eighth of the onions and one eights of the cheese, forming a line running lengthwise down the dough about 2″ from a long edge, and leaving an inch or so at either end. Roll up into a torpedo shape, sealing the ends and the seam. Place on the baking sheet and repeat for the remaining piroshki.
  4. Whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons of water and brush all of the piroshki, then sprinkle on a few grains of salt. Use a sharp knife to put three diagonal slashes across each piroshki.
  5. Bake until golden brown and oozing cheese from the vents. Serve hot. You might like to cut each piroshki into 3 pieces to let them cool a little faster and make them easier to handle.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, August 6th, 2012 in Baking, Main Courses, Recipes.

16 Responses to “Rye Piroshki with Roasted Onions, Caraway, and Swiss Cheese – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    August 6, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    This looks just wonderful! Glad you were able to make good use of that dough after all.

  2. Reply
    August 6, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    🙂 Lovely piroshki! I know that bakery on Pike Place Market, it’s a good one. There is another place in Auburn, that makes fantastic piroshki, both baked and deep fried. They also have a great selection of other baked goods and variety of vegetarian meals. Love that place!
    Traditionally, piroshki were made of rye flour, and only recently wheat flour started to dominate. So you made an authentic piroshki! 🙂 All is missing is a drink, that piroshki were served with: kvas, which is fermented drink made off stale rye bread, water and a little sugar. You can see a photo of kvas (link to picnicatmarina.com). 🙂

    • Reply
      August 6, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      Oh my god, the kvas looks fantastic! Interesting that piroshki were traditionally made with rye – I had done some basic searching and hadn’t come up with that, though I’m not surprised given where they are from. If you know where to find a traditional recipe, please share.

      • Reply
        August 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

        Hi Michael!

        I am teaching a hands-on piroshky class at PCC Cooks this fall and would love to share my recipes with you! We’ll be making savory piroshky with cabbage and carrots and sweet ones with apples, as well as larger, sharing-size pies with mushrooms and onions. I use wheat flour, so my recipe is not “traditional” in that sense, but it does come from my mother-in-law who lives in Siberia!

        Here is a link to the class schedule: link to pccnaturalmarkets.com. I hope you can join us!


      • Reply
        August 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

        I’ll have to translate for you some information then… 🙂 I hit some technical problems with my computer today. I have a few books on history of Russian food downloaded to my computer, and wasn’t able to un-zip it. Let me deal with it, and then I’ll send you the information. Are you like me interested in food anthropology?! 🙂

        • Reply
          August 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

          I certainly find food history and anthropology interesting, but please don’t go to too much trouble! That sounds like it could be a lot of work.

  3. Reply
    August 6, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Looks beautiful. I love to see old world recipes continue and dance with some new twists.

  4. Reply
    August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    This looks fantastic! I would like to try and taste this. This is a challenging recipe for me because it’s my first time but I would do anything just to make this recipe perfect.

  5. Reply
    August 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Yum! I love everything about this, great job.

  6. Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Definitely a recipe I will try – already bookmarked! Thanks for the idea!

  7. Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    wow ! great recipe, well worth the work, can’t wait to try it out….

  8. Reply
    August 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Oh my, these look heavenly. I must admit that I instantly clicked on the picture because they looked a big like stuffed soft pretzels, which I am totally addicted to, but I LOVE the idea of a ry flour calzone-like dish. I can’t wait to give these a try!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      Well I think the idea of doing them in a pretzel crust is outstanding!

  9. Reply
    August 17, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    The piroshki is mouthwatering and I can’t wait to make it on my kitchen. What other types of cheese can I use for this recipe?

    • Reply
      August 17, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      You could use any kind of cheese that will melt – so, not Parmesan for example.

  10. Reply
    August 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Looks stunning. I love rye!

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