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In Italy, in addition to pastry, you'll find another kind of edible container for a portable meal. This one is based on a yeast-raised dough. In fact it's really just our Hearth Bread dough in yet another guise.
Calzone can be had a couple of different ways. One is simply rolled out like a pizza and then folded over like a turnover and baked. The older and more traditional shape is like a jelly roll, or as the Italian translation of calzone suggests, a pant leg. This is the version that is more transportable so that's the one we'll give you.
First make up a recipe of Hearth Bread Dough which you'll find below. You can add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the dough for flavor and to keep it fresher longer.
2 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon or packet active dry yeast
6 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let proof for 5 minutes or so; mixture should begin to bubble.
Stir 1 cup flour into yeast mixture. Add salt, then stir in an additional 4 1/2 cups flour. When dough begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, it's ready to knead.
Knead dough, using remaining 1/2 cup flour for work surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then let dough rest while you clean and grease your bowl. Knead an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Dough should be smooth, elastic and no longer sticky.
Form dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl with a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours depending on where you set the bowl (as well as the humidity level in your kitchen.)
Punch dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface (alternatively, you can leave dough in bowl and let it rise again, for about half the time of the initial rising; this will produce a finer-grained product). Shape dough and bake as you'd like.
These suggestions will give you a place to start but plenty of latitude for developing your own version.
Sauce: marinara, spaghetti, pizza, any type of pesto, etc.
Meat: sliced ham, pepperoni, prosciutto, salami, smoked turkey, etc.; cooked and crumbled hamburger, sausage, hot or sweet, etc., etc.
Cheese, sliced or grated: Provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, feta, etc.
Herbs: minced oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, parsley, crushed red pepper, etc.
Vegetables, chopped or sautéed: onions, scallions, hot or sweet peppers, mushrooms, garlic, shallots, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, etc.
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for washAs you can see, the fillings can be almost anything you want. Just keep the following things in mind as you put your calzone together.
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
o Don't make the filling too juicy.
o Use strong flavors; they'll be moderated by the calzone crust.
o Leave enough room around the outside edge of the dough so you can seal it tightly, and don't overfill it or you won't be able to seal it at all.
Cut your Hearth Bread dough into 2 pieces. Roll out each piece into a rectangle about 10 x 14 inches. Spread a layer of sauce on first. Then layer it with your choice of ingredients.
Starting with the long edge, roll the dough around the filling jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam and ends together very tightly and place the roll on a cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet. Baking parchment would do well here in case the calzone springs a leak in spite of your careful engineering.
Cover the calzone with a damp towel or plastic wrap (grease the underside of it so it won't stick to the dough). Let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Fifteen minutes before you want to bake the calzone, preheat your oven to 450°F. To make the crust crunchy, preheat a roasting pan on the oven bottom along with the oven. Just before the calzone goes in, pour in 3 or 4 cups of water.
Slash the tops of the loaves, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F. Turn the heat down to 400°F and continue baking for a further 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
To serve, allow the calzone to cool and "set" for 10 or 15 minutes. Then cut in slices. For traveling, allow it to cool completely, slice, and wrap in an airtight bag.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 5, May-June 1992 issue.