Pizza and Stromboli


I love to make pizza dough. I do this often and usually I get at least 2 meals out of the deal. Half of the dough i normally use to make a thin crust pizza and the second half normally finds itself being turned into a calzone or stromboli. I will admit, making pizza at home does not turn out quite the same type of pizza you would expect from your favorite pizzeria for one simple reason: your home oven is not meant to cook at such high temperatures which can creep up around 700 or 800 degrees in some commercial kitchens. But this should not deter you from making it at home. You can make a delicious pizza with a chewy, crunchy crust and whatever toppings you want with a few simple pieces of equipment: a pizza peel and a pizza stone. I have a round pizza stone and peel that “matches” it but this is not what I would recommend. I have found that it is just not big enough for most of the things I make and I have a very hard time sliding my pizzas and other creations onto the stone without knocking some toppings to the back of the oven or having some crust hanging over the front edge, even with a thorough coating of corn meal or semolina on the peel.  Maybe you will be just fine with your average round pizza stone. But I myself, plan to upgrade soon (not sure yet if i should go with a rectangular stone or tiles). In the meantime I make do just fine.

sausage, pepperoni and tomato pizza

sausage, pepperoni and tomato pizza

This recipe is a combination of a few I’ve used in the past but is closest to the one I found in Italian Classics from the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated (a book I highly recommend). I find the combination of all-purpose unbleached flour and bread flour yields a nice consistency but in a pinch you can use only all-purpose flour. If you use only all-purpose flour however, your crust will not get the same chewiness or crust when it bakes. The sauce recipe it a simple but delicious one that is superior to any of the jarred ones I’ve tried from the grocery store (also found in Italian Classics).

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (DOUGH AND SAUCE PDF)***

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees- this is important or you will kill the yeast)
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups of bread flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Extra olive oil or nonstick spray for oiling the bowl

Directions:

  • Measure the warm water into a 2-cup measuring cup
  • Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until it swells (aka blooming), about 5 minutes
  • Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine
  • Briefly mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
  • Slowly add the liquid ingredients at low speed until a cohesive mass forms
  • Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with a dough hook
  • Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes
  • Form the dough into a ball and put into a deep, oiled bowl
dough before rising

dough before rising

  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours
dough after rising

dough after rising

  • Once the rise is complete, cut the dough into the desired number of pieces you wish to have (cut it in 3 for 3 medium sized thin crust pizzas. I cut mine in 2, one slightly larger than the other and saved the larger half for strombolis and the smaller for a thin crust pizza)

Simple Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 or 3 large cloves or garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp granulated sugar, optional (for a sweeter sauce)
  • Pinch of fennel (optional)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  • Process the tomatoes in the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade until smooth
  • Heat the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the garlic is sizzling, about 1 minute (take care not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter)
  • Stir in the tomatoes, sugar (if using), fennel (if using) and Italian seasoning (you could add some crushed red pepper at this point if you want to spice it up a bit)
  • Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
simple pizza sauce

simple pizza sauce

Thin Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

  • About 1/3 dough from the above pizza dough recipe
  • About 1/3 of the sauce from the above pizza sauce recipe
  • Toppings. i used the following: freshly shredded mozzarella, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh grated parmesan, crumbled hot italian sausage, sliced pepperoni, halved grape tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil- to brush the edges of the crust
  • Italian seasoning to sprinkle over the top of the pizza
  • Cornmeal or semolina for the peel

Directions:

  • Shape the dough into a rough circle by flattening the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingers to press the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. holding the center of the dough in place, stretch the dough outward and rotate the dough 90 degrees and stretch again (etc). It should be about 12 inches in diameter in the end.
pizza dough

pizza dough

  • Liberally sprinkle your pizza peel with corn meal or semolina flour. This is what will prevent your dough from sticking to the peel when you move it to the oven
prepared pizza peel

prepared pizza peel

  • Carefully transfer your dough to the peel
  • Spread a ladle full of sauce onto the crust and top with whatever you like!
pizza before baking

pizza before baking

  • Brush the edges with olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of italian seasoning and salt (if desired)
  • Slide off of the peel with one quick motion onto the preheated stone and cook until the crust edges are brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven. If you loose a few toppings or the dough sticks somewhere, use a spatula and push it back into place as best you can. Don’t try to remove the pizza from the stone at this point, it will just make a bigger mess and could rip the crust. No worries, homemade pizza should look a bit “rustic” 🙂
  • Remove from oven with the peel and allow to cool about 5 minutes before slicing and serving
sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella stromboli

sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella stromboli

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (STROMBOLI PDF)***

Stromboli

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (i used about 2/3 of the above recipe to make 3 small stromboli)
  • Pizza sauce (i used about 1 1/2 cups of the above recipe for 3 stromboli)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Other fillings of your choice; i used crumbled hot italian sausage and pepperoni
  • 2 large eggs
  • Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

  • Divide dough into desired number of pieces. I used three for my recipe. allow dough to rest under moist paper towel for about a half hour. *If you are using leftover dough that has been kept in the refrigerator as I did, allow it to sit more like 45 minutes so it can come to room temperature before stretching, still placing under paper towels so it doesn’t dry out.
three dough balls

three dough balls

dough balls resting

dough balls resting

  • Shape dough balls using method described above in the pizza recipe to form each ball into rectangles approximately 10 by 6 inches
  • Keeping a 1 inch border around the edge, top dough with sauce and then your toppings
  • When adding cheese, reserve about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese for later
  • Beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl with about a tsp of water to make an egg wash
  • Using a pastry brush paint a line of egg wash across one of the long edges of the dough
unrolled raw stromboli

unrolled raw stromboli

  • Roll up the dough starting at the long edge without the egg wash to form a cylinder
  • Pinch the edges to seal and tuck them under the stromboli
  • Brush the top of the stromboli with egg wash and put three slits in the top of each with a sharp knife
  • Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the top to season the dough
  • Transfer to a preheated pizza stone using either a pizza peel coated with cornmeal and semolina or a large spatula and your hands. I used the spatula and my hands so that I could place the stromboli where i wanted them on the stone. If you slide them in, use a spatula to adjust them so they aren’t touching at all. Be careful not to touch any part of the hot oven or stone (I have my share of scars from doing this sort of thing lol)
  • Bake for about 15 minutes
  • Mix the reserved Parmesan with a pinch of italian seasoning
  • Slide the rack of the oven out and sprinkle the top of each stromboli with the reserved Parmesan mixture
  • Continue to cook for 5 to 10 more minutes or until the stromboli is completely golden and crisp and the cheese is melted
  • Remove from oven and allow to sit at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving (it will be very hot!)
stromboli

stromboli

You could certainly make one or two larger stromboli if you prefer. I just made them this way so they would be more single serving size (still a fairly large single serving!). experiment with fillings and toppings (or omit the topping if you prefer).

Enjoy 🙂

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One response to “Pizza and Stromboli

  1. Pingback: Ground Beef Stromboli Recipe | Nosh My Way·

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