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Creative Calzones!

30 Jan
Creative Calzones!

One of my very first jobs in the food business was working for a pizza place. It was called Pizza USA, and it was one of those food court pizza places you’d find in a mall. Think of Sbarro, only worse. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know any better. I was in high school just trying to make some spending money. I actually enjoyed the job quite a bit, and it introduced me to a few cooking skills that helped to lay the foundation of my knowledge today, to include bread making.

Of course, the place is out of business now. It was owned by shady people and managed by even shadier people. We had a manager that ended up being convicted of embezzling money from the petty cash safe. Funny story: I got fired for it! It wasn’t long, though, before the manager got caught and I got my job back, with a fairly hefty raise 😉

Once again, I digress. One thing I remember well from that job was making calzones. They were actually pretty decent and one of the few things that I enjoyed eating from there on a regular basis. When I made the ricotta earlier, my mind went immediately to making calzones! This time, though, I wouldn’t be limited to just pepperoni or spinach. And, since I’ve already got a pretty good pizza dough here to work with, it should be pretty easy!

Indeed, it was, as most of my time was actually spent cutting and preparing the ingredients to fill the calzones with, rather than making the actual calzones!

Since it’s just the two of us, I decided to scale down the pizza dough recipe a little so as not to end up with half a dozen calzones lying around. Also, since calzones aren’t really that big and the focus is the filling, rather than the dough, I chose not to make a preferment, making this a same day recipe. If you are a bread novice, feel free to preferment some of the flour (perhaps the all purpose flour in its entirety) if you like, or scale the formula to your choosing. Also, I tweaked the yeast again, because I thought the dough was too active last time.

I really hope you made the ricotta recipe from my last entry! It was born to be a calzone filling! If not, you can certainly buy the stuff and it’ll still end up being pretty tasty.

Calzones!

For the Dough

Makes 3 calzones

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of whole wheat flour
  • 4 ounces of all purpose flour
  • 6.82 ounces of water
  • 0.17 ounces (5 grams) of salt
  • 0.1 ounces (3 grams) of active dry yeast
    How the heck do I measure this? Ok, I had to do a little math here. 1/4 ounce of yeast is 2 and 1/2 teaspoons, according to the yeast label. Well, since there are 28.35 grams in an ounce, that means there are 7 grams in 2 and 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce.) 3 grams is about half of 7, so equals 1 and 1/4 teaspoons. Lets round that down. 3 grams of  yeast is about a teaspoon. Does that help?
  • 0.5 ounces of olive oil

Have I ever mentioned my love for bacon?

Directions:

  1. Using the straight dough method, combine ingredients in a kitchen aid style mixer with dough attachment in the following order: Water, yeast (stir to dissolve), whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, and oil. Mix on low speed until well combined.
  2. Mix on speed 2 or 3 for about 8 minutes to develop the dough. Test dough for elasticity and tenacity by gently pulling on it. Dough should spring back when pressed and not tear away when a piece is gently pulled. See the original recipe in an earlier post for more info.
  3. Transfer to a bowl that has been lightly sprayed with oil spray and cover with plastic. Let this bulk ferment for one hour.
  4. Now we’re going to fold the dough. Lightly flour the top and pour out onto the counter. Fold the dough in the following order: Top down a third, bottom up over the top, left side over a third, right side over the left. Turn over with the folds down and place back into the bowl. Cover and let ferment for another hour.
  5. Time to divide the dough. Plop the dough out onto the counter again and cut into 3 equally sized pieces. Each piece should weigh about 6 ounces (although mine were each closer to 5.9 ounces. Who knows?)
  6. Roll these into balls, cover them again and let them bench rest for about 20 minutes.
  7. At this point you can place these on a plate and refrigerate them. Unless, of course, you are high-speed and already have your fillings ready. When you’re fillings are ready, go ahead to the last part for filling and baking.

and cheese

For the Filling

Makes enough for 3 calzones

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces of ricotta
  • 3 ounces of shredded mozzarella
  • 1 ounce of fresh grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano
  • Any other ingredient you could possibly think of:
    pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, spinach, garlic,  caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms, whatever you want!

bacon flavored cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine the ingredients.

    Cheese please!

    Cheese please!

  2. Um. That’s it.

or cheese flavored bacon

To Finish

Directions:

  1. Using a rolling pin, start rolling these out into about 6 – 8 inches in diameter, using flour as necessary to keep from sticking. When using your rolling pin, start in the middle of the dough and roll upwards. Return to the middle and then roll downwards. Turn the dough 90 degrees and continue to roll this way until you have a nice round and flat dough.

    Plop that filling down on that dough

    Plop that filling down on that dough

  2. Place the filling in the middle of the round. Using a little water and your finger, wet one half of the dough and fold the other half down over. Gently press any air out and seal the calzone. You can try my fancy way (I’m not sure how to explain it in words) or you can use the prongs of a fork to seal the ends.

    Fold it over

    Fold it over

  3. Finish the other two calzones. Place these on a sheet tray that has a little semolina sprinkled on it to prevent them from sticking. Cornmeal works too.

    Seal the calzone

    Seal the calzone

  4. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit out while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

    Semolina flour helps keep them from sticking

    Semolina flour helps keep them from sticking

  5. Make sure to cut a couple of slits in the top of each calzone. Brush with oil over the top if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

    Baked and ready!

    Baked and ready!

Mmmmm!

Mmmmm!

Serve these delicious babies with your favorite marinara sauce. Feel free to be creative, the sky is the limit!

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Entree/Main Dish, Food, Pizza

 

Tags: , , , , ,

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