Submitted by Russian_Cuisine on Sat, 11/17/2012 - 14:34.
The weight of dough should be a third of the weight of filling(s).
Different fillings are separated in layers by blinis (crepes).
Kulebyaka's shape is a long thin rectangle.
When you cut this rectangle into portions, each portion should include each kind of filling.
One of the fillings is considered the main one, and decides the pie's name: it can be meat(s), in which case the name is meat kulebyaka. It can be fish, then it's fish kulebyaka, mushrooms for mushroom kulebyaka, etc.
This is a very old Russian pie, and its name comes from the old Russian expression “to knead dough”.
It's made with fermented dough, with several layers of varying fillings, either by themselves or mixed together with meat, fish, viziga (a part of sturgeon that goes along the spine), mushrooms, porridge of various kinds of grain, onions, hardboiled eggs, etc. Generally, a kulebyaka is a closed pie with multiple fillings in the pie in layers separated by crepes.
The elongated shape was purposeful, to ensure thorough cooking of all the ingredients, as well as the assurance that, should a slice be traded, each slice will contain a hearty portion of the fillings.
In Moscow, kulebyaki (plural of kulebyaka in Russian) were famed not just for the fillings, but also for their shapes and variety of form. The pies were made closed, open, half-open, multilayered, and even very tall. There was even a special kind, called hlebalny, which had liquid fillings, and was served open with spoons like a bread bowl.
The dough should be stretchy and springy, akin to pizza dough, so the main filling didn't start entering the other layers, nor began to seep into the pie crust. It can be porous or solid, with or without butter, and with milk or meat bouillon added.
It's rolled so that, once cooked it's only 1/3” (1 cm) thick. Once the rectangular dough is rolled, the fillings are added in layers, and afterwards the dough is pinched lengthwise along the top, then flipped. Prior to baking, eggs, sour cream or butter should be smeared on the outside of the pie, and the pie should be poked through in a few spots to allow release of pressure before going into the oven.
Kulebyaki became popularized in the 19th century when French chefs and confectioners who had made it in Russia brought their own spin to the recipe, with a lighter, “French dough” and new fillings like sturgeon, salmon, rice, champignons, and wild game. At the same time, the recipe's traditional Russian cooking steps were respected, ensuring they were and remain kulebyaki.
In Russia, kulebyaki were served at the table after the soup, but before the main dish and desserts.
Traditional ingredients for the dough:
2 lb (900 g) all-purpose flour
1 pack (20 g) fresh yeast, or 1 pack fast dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water or milk
1 tbsp cleared butter (ghee)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup beef broth (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in water or milk.
Put 1 cup flour in a high sauce-pan.
Pour the yeast mixture into the sauce-pan, and stir well.
You should to get a thin dough of a sour cream consistency.
Cover the sauce-pan with a piece of clean fabric, and set in a warm place for 1.5 hours, until it's grown twice the original size or bigger.
Then, add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 1/2 tbsp cleared butter, and stir well.
Add the flour in small portions, while kneading.
Knead very well, until you get a thick dough that isn't sticky and doesn't tear easily.
Note: if the dough is too dry, add a little beef broth.
Then, place the dough ball on wet fabric, sprinkle the sauce-pan's bottom with flour, and place the dough ball back onto the sauce-pan.
Cover the sauce-pan, and set in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Take the dough out, divide it into 2 parts (1 part is for the kulebyaka's decorations).
Roll the main part of the dough very thinly into an oval shape. Place it over a large piece of wet fabric.
Cover the middle with 1 large crepe, and place the first filling over the crepe.
Note: All fillings should be cooled.
Cover with second filling, and put the second crepe over it.
Continue with the other fillings, and cover them with crepes.
Then, tightly connect the edges of the dough lengwise along the top.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with the butter, and flip the kulebyaka onto it.
The connected parts of the dough should be the bottom of a kulebyaka.
Pre-heat an oven to 400-420 F (200-220 C).
Roll the dough planned for decorations into thin strips, and decorate the pie.
Set the kulebyaka aside for 15 minutes (cover it with a clean fabric).
Whip the eggs, and smear the pie's top and sides. Pierce the top lightly with a fork.
Bake to readiness.
To check if it's ready, use a thin wooden stick to pierce the pie, if it is clear afterwards, the kulebyaka is ready.
Take it out of the oven, cover with a clean towel, and let sit for about 20 minutes.
Then, cut and serve.
Note: turn the baking sheet if it's not baking evenly.
Cover the top with foil if it starts to burn.
Filling for kulebyaka:
Cabbage and Eggs
3 lb shredded green cabbage
1 tbsp salt
¼ G (1 L) boiling water
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp cleared butter (ghee)
Method for making filling:
Press the shredded cabbage with salt, until the cabbage gives off juice, let sit for 15 minutes, then wash with cold water, and drain.
Put the cabbage in boiling water, and bring to boil.
Place it in a colander, and pour cold water over it. Drain.
Preheat a skillet with the cleared butter, put the cabbage onto the skillet, and stir-fry until the cabbage turns soft.
Put it in a deep dish, and let cool, then stir well with cold chopped eggs.
The filling is ready.
Other traditional fillings are boiled fish-viziga-rice-green onions, ground boiled meat-chopped eggs-rice-chopped onions, boiled salmon-fried onions-boiled buckwheat, and also many others.