I mentioned making calzones to my step brother one day over Christmas. His response was one similar to shock: “But aren’t those hard? Do you make the dough?” My answer to those questions: No, and yes, of course. But I use a bread maker.
So I figured, since there seems to be a bit of a misconception about the difficulty of making a calzone, I would clear the air on here. I have made this dough from scratch several times, and before my mom passed on her trusty bread maker to me, I made it by hand. Although it can get a bit messy, it’s definitely worth the time and effort. And really, who doesn’t love playing with dough?
Since I didn’t make my dough by hand this time, I don’t have any pictures for you to go off of. But I’ll try to explain this as we go so that you get the idea. So, first things first… set up your yeast. In a bowl, pour 1.5 cups of warm water, about 110 degrees F. To this, add 1 teaspoon of sugar (you could also use honey here, it’s really just yeast food). Then throw in 1 tablespoon of regular active dry yeast. You’ll know if your yeast is fresh if, after about 5 minutes or so, you come back to a frothy looking bowl. When this has happened, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Separately, mix together 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 cups of whole wheat flour (I used white because we didn’t have any whole wheat and I was NOT going back to the store to get some) and 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour. At this point, you can also add some herbs and other stuff to the flour; I threw in some dried oregano, parsley and basil, as well as some garlic powder. In a large bowl, or on your very clean and dry counter, create a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour your liquids into this well and gradually combine everything with your hands.
So, now that you’ve got that all combined, put it into a large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let it rise until it’s about doubled in size, then punch it down. Once you’ve taken your frustrations out on that poor dough, it should look something like this: [If you’re curious about the bread maker method, just through that crap all in there and use your dough setting. Done and done.]
So! That was the hard part. I promise you, everything from here is easy-peasy.
Next up, cut that hunk of dough in half. One half will give you enough to feed about 4 people, depending on the fillings you put in. If you like, from there you can cut each half into either quarters or in half again, depending on the size of calzone you’re going for. I chose to make two calzones, so I cut my half-chunk of dough in half again.
Sorry, that was unnecessarily wordy. Cut that bitch however you want it, and wrap up whatever you’re not using today and toss it in the freezer. This dough works even better the second time around. Then, when you’ve figured out your calzone situation, roll them out into roughly circular shapes. Don’t make them too thick, but definitely don’t go for thin crust here. This is not the time or place to get fancy.
Aha. So there’s your dough. Looks good, right? (Except I thought I was making a giant calzone and that got cut in half, hence the oddly shaped dough blobs you’ll see later. Sigh…)
So now, throw on your preferred pizza sauce. Maybe you’re fancy and you’ve got some homemade marinara that you want to use. Or maybe you’re like me and you have old pizza sauce from last time you made pizza at home and you need to use that. Whatever, because it’s all good.
See how ridiculous that dough looks now? Ugh.
Sauce of choice around here is a combination of pizza sauce, barbeque, and sriracha hot sauce. I highly recommend this route. Once you have enough sauce on there, add your toppings du jour…
Red onion, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil and cilantro
Cheddar, provolone and parmesan
So. Freaking. Good. We bought these at the Farmers Market and they were very much worth it.
So, pack those babies in there:
And beware the Cheese Thief!
Seal them up, and put them in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and the crust is hard.
Wait a few minutes for the cheese to become less like molten lava, then grab a knife and fork and enjoy!