We regularly have pizza night at our house – these days about once a month, although since there are only three solid food eaters here and one batch of dough makes enough for two pizzas apiece, one week each month we have two pizza nights. They are the best! Generally, we save them for a time when we have lots of random veggies leftover that need to be used up – the best time for pizza night since we can get really imaginative with the toppings! We have even been known to use shredded up bits of leftover roasts in them and they are often the most tasty pizzas we have created, and we each get to make them to our liking which is the most exciting meal! No extra work and everyone gets what they want.
Mostly we choose between making a calzone or a traditional, flat pizza but today, I decided to try a new “shape” – STROMBOLI!
Essentially, it is a rolled up pizza so that the interior has layers of dough, toppings and cheese.
I love the idea of it!
Rolling the stromboli into their tell-tale shapes was quite fun and required a little bit of trial and error – thank goodness Mei’s pizza’s are always the first to be made so that they have the most time to cool enough for her to eat by the time ours are baked and we are ready to sit down for dinner. No one, and no child, likes to be sitting and waiting to be able to eat their food while everyone else is chowing down! It is important to try and keep the thickness of your dough, once flattened out, as even as possible so that it will not only support the toppings but also keep the toppings from popping out as you roll it up. With a little finesse, and possibly a glass of wine, this is totally simple.
Are you one of those people that like their crust at the end of their slice of pizza? I totally am one of the “crust” people and you don’t loose that in a stromboli and you get the bonus of having a great bite of amazing crust and each of your toppings in each bite – which is phenomenal! Oh and did I mention that we are all about rolling up or encasing our pizzas so we can just grab them and eat it without toppings falling off?! This is certainly a great family tradition!
A great twist on pizza night and a crowd pleaser for sure! What will you stuff in yours? The stuffing options are only as limited as your imagination!
- 5-1/3 C unbleached bread flour
- 2 tsp salt or 1 TBS coarse kosher salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 2 TBS or 1-1/2 TBS honey or agave nectar
- 2C + 2 TBS water, at room temperature
- 2 TBS olive oil (optional)
- 1C of your favorite marinera sauce
- 1-2 C of shredded cheese
- any and all toppings you like!
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for one minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for about one minute until well blended. The dough should be coarse and slightly sticky. Let the dough rest for five minutes to fully hydrate the flour.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for two to three minutes, until the dough is smoother but still soft, supple and somewhere between tacky and sticky.
Spread one teaspoon of olive oil on a work surface, then use a bowl scraper to transfer the dough to the oiled surface. Rub your hands with the oil on the work surface, then stretch and fold the dough one time, reaching under the front end of the dough, stretching it out, then folding it back onto the top of the dough. Do this from the back-end and then from each side, then flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball. Divide the dough into five equal pieces, each weighing about 8 oz or 227 g. Form each piece into a ball, then place each into a separate sandwich-size freezer bag misted with spray oil. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight or up to four days, or in the freezer for several months.
About 90 minutes before you plan to bake the pizzas, place the desired number of dough balls on a lightly oiled work surface. With oiled hands, stretch and round each piece into a tight ball, then place them on a pan that’s been lightly oiled (preferably olive oil). Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature until ready to bake.
About 1 hour before baking the pizzas, preheat the oven and a baking stone as high as they oven will go. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can assemble the pizzas on baking sheets covered with parchment paper and bake them on the pans. While the oven is preheating, prepare your cheeses, sauce and toppings.
When ready to assemble and bake, put about 1 C of flour in a bowl. Use some of it to dust the work surface, your hands, and the feel, if you have one. Put one of the pizza dough balls in the flour to coat the bottom. Transfer to the work surface and gently tap it down with your fingers to form a disc. Slide the backs of your hands under the dough, then lift it and begin to rotate it, using your thumbs to coax the edges of the dough into a larger circle then push out the corners to form a rectangle or wide oval shape.
Don’t stretch the dough with the backs of your hands or your knuckles, let your thumbs do all of the work; your hands and knuckles merely provide a platform to support the dough.if the dough starts to resist and shrink back, set it on the floured work surface and let it rest for a minute or two. You can move on to another dough ball, repeating the same gentle stretching. Continue working the dough and resting it as need be until it is about ten to twelve inches in diameter. It should be thicker at the edges than in the center, and the center should be thin but not paper-thin. If the dough rips, you can try to patch it, or you can form it back into a ball, move on to another dough ball and try again in 15-20 minutes.
When the crust is ready to be topped, place it on the floured peel. Use flour rather than cornmeal or semolina as it doesn’t burn as quickly in the oven. Top the pizza as desired, then gently take one end and begin to roll it onto itself. You should be able to roll it three times, similar to closing an envelope – if you are able to roll it one additional time, go ahead and try. Pinch the seals shut and score it two or three times across the top, no longer than one inch long, to allow the steam to vent. Slide your completed stromboli onto the baking stone. If you aren’t using a baking stone, just put the panned pizza in the oven.
Bake for about ten minutes, then use the peel or spatula to rotate the pizza. Once the stromboli has got the color on top that you like, tent it with foil for the last ten minutes or so of baking so that all the dough on the inside will cook evenly an all the cheese will melt. It will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes for the stromboli to fully bake, depending on the oven and thickness of the outer crust. The edge should puff up and be a deep golden brown, perhaps even slightly charred. Remove the stromboli and let it cool for five minutes before slicing or serving.