I chose a recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book for Basic Pizza Dough. The recipe called for instant or rapid-rise yeast. All I had was active dry yeast. Of course I started to freak out. I was all geared up to tackle me fear of yeast and here I am with the wrong kind! Whoa... okay calm down. I quickly flipped to the front of the book where it gives a little info on yeast. I found out I could substitute active dry yeast for instant by using 25% more of it and by proofing it in warm water first. I also read somewhere else that if the water was too warm it would kill the yeast. So now I'm terrified I'm gonna kill the little creatures! I get a small cup of barely warm water (I'm praying I don't kill them), I stir the yeast in, NOTHING HAPPENS! Maybe I had an old packet of yeast. I grab the newer pack, I stir it into some more barely warm water, STILL NOTHING! I immediately go to YouTube (I like visual help). I search for "how to activate dry yeast." The very first video lets me know I'm doing something wrong. By being so worried I was gonna burn the yeast to death, I wasn't letting the water get warm enough. I tried it again with water that was comfortably warm, but not hot (My problems would be solved if I would just get an instant-read thermometer). FINALLY!! I got some action in the glass. My yeast was alive! I mixed the activated yeast in with the rest of the water from the recipe, and it was smooth sailing from then on.
So sorry for not getting pictures of the entire dough making process. I was so nervous the whole time. All I could concentrate on was doing everything right. I was so surprised by how easy all the steps were. The dough came together perfectly in the food processor. It rose perfectly in the oven with the light on. It stretched out to a nice round circle (with a little trimming of course). The filling was really easy to make. And folding and crimping the calzone was easy, too! It sounds really complicated, but really the only hard part is remembering to make the dough ahead of time. If you're reading this thinking, "Omg that's me! I'm scared to make pizza dough too!" Please please please try it! I promise you'll be making pizza dough all the time after you get over the initial fear! I'm already making plans for a pepperoni and italian sausage pizza next week. I'm even gonna make homemade sauce! :D
Dough rising by the heat from the oven light... Skip to... DINNER'S READY!Recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Btw, if you don't have this book already, you need to get it. It is so jam packed full of answers. Anytime I'm not sure about something, I grab this book and BAM! Problem solved!
Mmmmmm... It was sooo yummy!
Mmmmmm... It was sooo yummy!
Basic Pizza Dough (This is half of the recipe that in the book; It makes enough for 1 large calzone.)
2 cups (11 ounces) (plus 2 tablespoons, if needed) bread flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 envelope (slightly more than 1 teaspoon) instant or rapid-rise yeast (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; I wrote how to active it below)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup, plus 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
(If using active dry yeast, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup warm water and let sit for 10 minutes or until the foam rises near the 1/2 cup line. Add yeast mixture with the remaining water in the recipe.)
1. Pulse 2 cups of the flour, yeast (if using instant), and salt together in a food processor (fitted with a dough blade if possible) to combine. With the processor running, pour the oil, then water (and yeast mixture, if using active dry yeast) through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, 30 to 40 seconds. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 seconds longer. If after 30 seconds the dough is sticky and clings to the blade, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and form it into a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, before using. (I let mine sit in the oven with the light on.)
To Make Ahead
In step 2, do not let the dough rise, but refrigerate it overnight or up to 16 hours; let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. Alternatively, the pizza dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; let the dough rise as directed in step 2, then wrap tightly in greased plastic wrap and squeeze. Let the frozen dough thaw on the counter for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator, before using.
Spinach & Broccoli Filling (This is my own recipe)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup cottage cheese (ricotta would also work)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked broccoli florets (I just used leftovers from the night before)
Reserve cooked broccoli for adding on top. In a large bowl, combine garlic, red pepper flakes, cheeses, spinach, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well.
To Assemble Calzone
1 pound pizza dough (enough for 1 large calzone)
1 recipe for Spinach & Broccoli Filling
1 lightly beaten egg, for egg wash
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Press and roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet and reshape as needed.
3. Mound the filling onto one side of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Press the broccoli florets on top of the filling. Brush the bottom edge of the dough with some of the egg wash. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the bottom uncovered, then press and crimp the edges to seal.
4. Score the top of the calzone with a sharp knife and brush lightly with the remaining egg wash. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the calzone to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
To Make Ahead
The fully formed calzone can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 6 hours; bake as directed.