Have you have looked in your fridge, found a lot of leftover bits and pieces and wondered what to cook with it all? Whenever that happens for me, I make Calzones. Calzones are like an outside in pizza; you make a pizza dough, roll a ball into a round, load it up with whatever deliciousness you can find in the fridge, close into a half round and bake in the oven. Easy as pie – which is sort of what it is. The trickiest part of making Calzones is making good dough for your bread. Today I am going to share some tips for making good dough.
I know I go on and on about flour, and today is no exception. Good dough is smooth and stretchy, so we want to use a strong or high grade of flour. High grade flour has a much higher amount of gluten in it. While we are kneading our dough it is the gluten that is going to make it stretch for us; it is also going to hold the wonderful air bubbles the yeast will make. A plain flour would break rather than stretch and would not hold our bubbles. I am not saying you can’t use plain flour, but if you do, your end result will be chewy bread.
One of the most common problems people have with making bread is that they don’t realise how important it is to measure their ingredients; bread dough is fussy, so you need to be, too.
Make sure your yeast is not over the ‘best by’ date and always keep your yeast in the fridge – it will stay fresher, longer in the cold environment.
You need to knead – or if you are as lucky as me, you will have kids who love to knead, too. Calzone and pasta are favourite things to make at our place since there is a lot of kneading today – it is a great way to get your kids working in the kitchen. Kneading is one of the most important things you can do when baking bread of any kind; it is how we develop the gluten and make good, stretchy dough.
Yeast needs warm water and a little sugar to get a good froth going on. Too hot and you will kill it; too cold and it will not wake up. You want your water to be warm to the touch – not hot.
Stick to these rules and you will make gorgeous bread that everyone will want time and time again.
Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x
For the dough
- 225g high grade flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 90ml warmed to just warmer than body temperature
- 50ml warmed to just warmer than body temperature
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 25ml olive or rice bran oil
- pinch salt
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved, or left over veges
- 200g mozzarella, roughly chopped
- 200g cold or leftover meats
- 30g grated parmesan and 1c pasta sauce to finish off.
- For the dough, sift the flour into a bowl.
- Mix the milk, water, sugar and yeast together in a separate bowl.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together to form a dough. Knead
the dough for five minutes on a floured and even service.
- Add the olive oil and knead again to combine. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave somewhere warm for two hours
- Preheat the oven to 230C. Place a baking tray into the oven to preheat.
- Add the salt to the dough and knead again, then divide the dough into four equal portions and roll into balls.
- Place each ball onto a floured work surface and roll out into 20cm/8in circles.
- For the filling, place all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.
- Place one quarter of the filling mixture onto one half of each dough circle, leaving a 2cm/1in gap around the edge.
- Brush the clean edges with water then fold the other sides over to cover the filling and pinch the edges to seal the four parcels.
- Place the calzones onto the preheated baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for eight minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and the filling hot.
- Before serving, top with pasta sauce and parmesan, then grill until the cheese has melted.
* NOTE: I like to line the baking tray with some good baking paper before I place the Calzones; this stops anything from burning on the tray if there is a leak.