The Half Moon Calzone

OK, a calzone isn’t technically a heritage recipe yet but in a hundred or so years it will be so I’m just ahead of my time!

I think the calzone is Italian, at least it sounds like it. I bet in Italian the word ‘calzone’ means, “ARGH! I just dropped my pizza on the floor, luckily it folded over on itself so I can still go ahead and eat it!”  (or something like that).

This recipe makes two nice big dough balls. You can get 4 giant sized calzones, two 16″ pizza’s or a combination of 1 pizza and 2 calzones. Whatever…

The dough can be frozen or refrigerated after proofing (doubling in size)to be used later on. I make mine in the morning along with my bread then refrigerate it until I’m ready to make it for dinner. Cooling it in the refrigerator makes it easy to work with and it won’t really begin to rise until after you have made your pizza or calzone and let them warm to room temperature just before baking. Now…here’s the best recipe! (Remember, I used to own a pizza shop in the Florida Keys so I know good dough!)

Dough Ingredients:
3.5 cups bread flour (plus 1/4 cup for rolling)
1.5 cups warm water (approx. 110F)
2.5 tsp. active dry yeast (room temperature)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (plus a drizzle for greasing)

Optional- 1 Tbl dough enhancer – ( * See dough enhancer below this recipe)

Instructions:
1) Combine bread flour, honey, active dry yeast, enhancer and salt in a bowl.  Mix well.
2) Add warm water and olive oil to the mixture.  Knead until the dough begins to form into a ball.
3)  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead with the palm of your hands until dough forms a smooth, firm ball (approximately 15-20 minutes).  Use the extra flour to dust your workspace if necessary.
4) Continuously fold the ends of the ball under itself until most of the air pockets are released.
5) Grease the bottom of a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil.  Place the dough into the bowl and cover with either a damp cheesecloth or plastic wrap.
6) Place bowl in the oven with the light on and let it proof to double its size (approx. 1- 1.5 hour depending on the weather).  To check if the dough is ready, poke the risen dough with a finger.  If the indentation remains and holds its shape, then dough is ready to be rolled out.

* Dough Enhancer (professional bakeries add this to achieve the properties of  ‘store bought’ bread. it does make a difference)

in a bowl mix all ingredients together then store it in the freezer in a plastic container.

1/3 cup lecithin granules

1 tsp vitamin C powder or ascorbic acid (canning acid)

1 tsp ginger, ground

1 cup of powdered milk

1 tsp salt

1 Tbl sugar

1/3 cup of vital wheat gluten

Add 1 heaping Tbl to each loaf of bread mix or dough ball
Mix all ingredients and store in tightly closed glass jar.
Add to other dry ingredients in equal amounts as the yeast.

To make a calzone…

Follow the above recipe to make your dough. Once it has risen to twice it’s size divide it into the desired sizes for which product you are making. EG; divide in half for two 16″ pizza’s, into four for calzone’s or any combination of the two.

Here I am making calzones but for lack of room will only show two being made.

1

To make a round disc, fold the cut ends into themselves. The edges will ‘glue’ together instantly but need to be molded a bit. Afterward, use a rolling pin on a flour dusted surface to form two 12″ circles.

2

Now it’s time to add the fillings; Using your eyes, divide the disc into top and bottom halves. You will only fill the lower half!

First apply a good coat of Ricotta cheese. Make sure you leave the edge free of filling as you will need to fold this edge into itself to form the crust.

3

On top of the Ricotta cheese, start layering your desired fillings. I like to add pepperoni, black olives, mozzarella on top o0f the Ricotta cheese.

4

Pepperoni 🙂

5

Black Olives 🙂

6

Banana Peppers 🙂

7

Lots of Mozzarella Cheese!  🙂

 

After adding all of your fillings, it’s time to close up your calzone. Fold the top completely over the filled bottom half.

8

To prevent the ends from popping open during baking, fold the two corners over onto themselves.

9

Next comes the part that’s hard to describe. Start at one end and begin twisting the edge kind of like making a rope. I use one hand to fold over the edge and then follow with the other hand to fold the edge over one more turn. This makes a tight seal that will not open during baking.

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I then temporarily place the calzone’s on parchment paper on my pizza screens to finish the calzone.

12

Using a fork, puncture the calzone to prevent swelling and bursting with any design you wish. I use names because each calzone is made to whatever toppings the other folks want in it.

13

Using a brush, brush on a good layer of olive oil and then sprinkle with dried basil. The olive oil protects the surface from drying out while baking.

14

Next, get your dipping sauce prepared. Standard pizza sauce works best for this. I make my own.

15

Remove the calzone’s from the parchment paper and place them directly onto the pizza screen then place the calzone’s in a 400 degree oven in the center rack. Placing them in an upper rack risk burning the top.

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17 to 20 minutes later this is what they should look like when done. Since all ovens bake differently, watch your calzones so they don’t burn!

18

Remove the calzone’s from the pizza screen and place on a cutting board. I use flexible cutting pads so that I can transfer the cut up calzone directly onto a plate.

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Lastly, beautify your plate so your guest feel like they are in an expensive restaurant… minus the TV and dog staring hungrily at you while you eat!

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Easy and delicious homemade English Muffins

muffins

I can’t say enough about these. I love English Muffins and normally make my own.  (OK, the last time I had them I was lazy and knew I didn’t have time to make a batch of homemade by morning so I bought a famous name brand muffin from our supermarket) After I popped them out of the toaster, I thought they were smaller than they used to be so I measured a fresh one from the package…3 inches!  What? Muffins are supposed to be 3 1/2 inches! All muffin rings today are a standard 3 1/2 inches in diameter. This allows restaurants to place eggs (also 3 1/2 inches) into a muffin and make it look good. Anyway, the new muffins are smaller and more expensive.

So today I took the time to make my own again…oh were they delicious too! Much better than those thin shrunken ones from the store. I realized I have never put this recipe online on my blog so today I will. I use a 3 1/2 muffin ring to cut mine out but by the time I’m done man handling them, they get a bit cockeyed. (not identical).

These are so easy to make I bet you’ll rarely ever buy them again. Besides, with these you know exactly what ingredients go into them. Plus, all these in the photo cost me less than $1.00 (Oh, the photo is two short because I already ate two!)

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) yeast
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • Cornmeal for pans

Instructions

  1. Place milk in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and sprinkle the yeast over top.
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes and then add the melted butter, salt, sugar, egg, and flour.
  3. Mix on low until the flour is incorporated and then switch to medium and beat for 5 minutes – dough will be very soft and slightly sticky. You should be able to form it into a ball without it sticking hard to your hands though.
  4. pull dough out and place into an oiled bowl and cover, letting rise for up to 2 hours or at minimum double the size.
  5. Place dough on a floured surface and using a rolling pin roll to a thickness of 3/8 to 1/2 of an inch. Using a muffin ring or a glass at least 3 1/2 inches in diameter cut out muffins as you would cookies. Each should weigh 2 oz.
  6. Carefully place muffins on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freely covered with corn meal. Coat by spinning muffin then flip over and repeat on the other side. Use two cookie sheets if needed.
  7. Let rest for 20 minutes. I let mine rise in a warmed oven to increase the rise…NOT HOT!
  8. Turn on open griddle to medium (300 to 350) and cook until golden brown, Aprox 12 minutes on each side. (If they brown too quickly, reduce the heat.) Turn over and repeat on other side. (You can use a frying pan too.)
  9. Carefully transfer the next batch to the griddle so as not to deflate them and cook the same way the first batch was until done. Repeat until all are cooked.
  10. Let all of them cool completely on a rack before splitting open with a fork.
  11. Muffins will keep fresh on the counter a few days in a gallon sized zip lock bag and they freeze well.

Was Grandma ahead of her time ‘Greenwise’?

Grandma recycling her babies diapers

Wasteful old person  shown recycling her babies diapers

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained.

“We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

“Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then. We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. So… don’t tell anyone of our generation just how “green” you are because we beat you hands down when it came to being ‘green’!