A good calzone is hard to find. For some reason, the calzones turned out by local pizzerias suffer from severe bloat; the last one I ordered in a restaurant could easily feed a family of four. I set out to make a reasonably-sized calzone (pictured), with the help of Peter Reinhart’s New York-style pizza crust recipe (from his book American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza) and some high-gluten Sir Lancelot flour from King Arthur. The high-gluten flour is key. It yields a dough sturdy enough for vigorous handling (like spinning in the air, though I haven’t mastered the toss myself).
Reinhart’s recipe (p. 114) calls for 5 cups of high-gluten flour, 1-1/2 T sugar, 3-1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1-1/2 tsp instant yeast, 3 T olive oil, and 1-3/4 cups room-temperature water. Mix all together in a stand mixer; knead with a dough hook at medium low speed until the dough passes the windowpane test. Next, divide the dough into three balls, coat with olive oil, and rest at room temp for 15 minutes. Place each oiled dough blob into a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator a couple of hours before use. The dough will keep, refrigerated, for two to three days; it can be frozen after the 2-hour cold rest.
The high-gluten dough feels alive in your hands, resisting gentle tugs and pats. I rolled the heck out of it with a wooden pin, worried a bit that my rough handling would lead to flat, lifeless crust. My fears were unfounded; it stretched beautifully around a filling of ricotta, chopped spinach, a tiny bit of tomato sauce, and fresh basil. The oil-enriched dough browned evenly and crisped up–even the pizza crust under a mound of fresh-veggie toppings–something that a pizza napoletana vera (my usual pizza-crust choice) crust just won’t do.
Best of all, the crust reheated exceptionally well, gaining a crisp snap on its second trip through the oven.
Check out more yeast baking over at Wild Yeast’s weekly feature, “YeastSpotting.”
Thanks for your posting…..high gluten flour makes all the difference in calzone, grilled pizza, or pizza on a stone! Thanks for sharing your recipe and tips.
I just wish I could find a local retail outlet selling Sir Lancelot! Guess I’ll just have to wait for a “free shipping” sale…
Yes, I’m afraid anymore of ordering a calzone in a restaurant! They are always gigantic. I think it’s because they use portioned dough, and the smallest piece is still too big.
I’m currently doing high gluten experiments in my baking – it does some interesting stuff. I personally like chewy bread, so I’m adding large amounts of vital gluten just to see what’ll happen. I’ll post about it soon.
I bought a box of vital gluten, forgot about it, and discovered that it expired two years ago…thus, my switch to high-gluten flour. Your mushroom bread looks great; I need to learn to identify my local edible fungi.
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followed this recipe to a T and it ended up baking to become a massive blob that looked like a football (same size)
waste of time and money.
If the baked calzone turned into a football, perhaps the dough wasn’t stretched thin enough. Failure may be a waste of money, but it is never a waste of time. We learn much from our mistakes, and repetition is the key to better bread skills.
The recipe doesn’t say, but I assume since it was divided into three balls, this recipe is for 3 calzones? If so, maybe that was marcel’s problem with the giant football.
The instructions above clearly say to divide the dough into three portions.