If you’re a fan of pizza, then you’re sure to love calzones. These Italian turnovers are a delight to have as a meal or a snack, and making them from scratch can be a fun and rewarding culinary project. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making homemade calzones, from preparing the dough, choosing fillings, baking, and serving. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks for making the perfect calzone every time.
Why making calzones from scratch is worth it
While it’s certainly convenient to order takeout or buy frozen calzones, making them from scratch is a whole different ballgame. Homemade calzones allow you to customize the dough, fillings, and flavorings to your liking, and you can be sure that you’re using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Plus, making your own calzones can be a fun and gratifying experience that will impress your friends and family. So, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get started!
Another benefit of making calzones from scratch is that you can control the portion size. Many store-bought calzones are oversized and loaded with calories, but when you make them at home, you can adjust the amount of filling and dough to create a more balanced meal. Additionally, making calzones from scratch can be a great way to bond with your family or friends. You can involve everyone in the process, from kneading the dough to choosing the fillings, and enjoy a delicious meal together at the end. So, next time you’re craving a calzone, consider making it from scratch!
Essential ingredients for homemade calzones
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s go over the ingredients you’ll need to make your own calzone dough. For a basic dough recipe, you’ll need flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar, and olive oil. It’s important to use the right type of flour- ideally, unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour work best. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try using different types of flour, such as whole wheat or spelt, to give your calzones a unique flavor and texture.
Aside from the dough, you’ll also need a variety of fillings to stuff your calzones with. Some popular options include mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, cooked meats such as sausage or pepperoni, and vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. You can mix and match these ingredients to create your own unique calzone recipe. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations!
Step-by-step guide to making the perfect calzone dough
First things first- let’s make the dough! Here are the steps:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix well. 2. Add the water and olive oil to the bowl and stir until a shaggy dough forms. 3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. 4. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Once your dough has risen, it’s time to prepare your fillings. Below, we’ll discuss some options for both meat-based and vegetarian calzone fillings.
For a meat-based calzone, you can use a variety of ingredients such as cooked sausage, pepperoni, or ham. You can also add vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms to enhance the flavor. For the sauce, you can use marinara or pizza sauce.
If you prefer a vegetarian calzone, you can use ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. You can also add cheese like mozzarella, ricotta, or feta. For the sauce, you can use pesto or tomato sauce.
Tips for kneading and rolling out calzone dough
Kneading the dough can be a bit of a workout, but don’t worry- it’s worth it! Here are a few tips to help:
– Use the heel of your hand to push down and stretch the dough, then fold it over and repeat. – Add flour to your work surface if the dough is sticking. – To roll out the dough, use a rolling pin to stretch it into a circle, being careful not to tear it. – If you’re having trouble getting the dough to the right size and shape, let it rest for 5-10 minutes and try again.
Once you have rolled out the dough, it’s time to add your fillings. Be sure not to overfill the calzone, as this can cause it to burst open during baking. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 1/2 cup of filling per calzone.
When it comes to sealing the calzone, you can either fold the dough over and crimp the edges with a fork, or you can twist the edges together to create a more decorative seal. Either way, be sure to brush the top of the calzone with egg wash before baking to give it a nice golden brown color.
How to make a flavorful calzone filling
There are endless possibilities when it comes to calzone fillings, so feel free to get creative! Here’s a recipe for a classic meat-based filling:
– Brown 1 pound of ground beef or Italian sausage with garlic, onion, and your choice of herbs and spices. – Stir in 1 cup of tomato sauce and let the mixture cool. – Add 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese to the beef mixture.
For a vegetarian filling, try this recipe:
– Sauté 1 diced eggplant, 1 diced zucchini, 1 diced red pepper, and 1 diced onion in olive oil. – Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and your choice of herbs and spices, and cook for a few minutes more. – Stir in 1 cup of ricotta cheese and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, try using whole wheat dough for your calzone. You can also add in some fresh vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes to your filling for an extra boost of nutrients.
If you want to switch up the flavors, try experimenting with different types of cheese. Feta, goat cheese, or even blue cheese can add a unique twist to your calzone filling. You can also try adding in some sliced olives or sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean-inspired filling.
Options for meat-based or vegetarian calzone fillings
Aside from the classic meat and veggie fillings mentioned above, you can also try a variety of other combinations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
– Ham and pineapple – Spinach and feta – Chicken and broccoli – Pepperoni and mushroom – Three-cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan)
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with different sauces and seasonings to add even more flavor to your calzone. Some popular options include marinara sauce, pesto, garlic butter, and ranch dressing. Additionally, you can try adding different types of vegetables, such as roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, or artichoke hearts, to create a unique and delicious calzone that suits your taste preferences.
Creative ideas for customizing your calzones
Once you’ve chosen your dough and filling, the sky is the limit when it comes to customizing your calzones. Here are a few additional ideas:
– Add chopped fresh herbs to your filling for added flavor. – Brush the crust with egg wash for a shiny finish. – Slice the calzone into smaller pieces and serve as appetizers. – Experiment with different dipping sauces, such as marinara, ranch, or garlic butter. – Try different shapes, such as half-moon or pocket-style calzones.
Another great way to customize your calzones is to add a variety of cheeses to your filling. Mozzarella is a classic choice, but you can also try adding ricotta, parmesan, or even goat cheese for a unique twist. You can also add vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers to make your calzone more nutritious and flavorful. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new combinations!
Baking and serving your homemade calzones
Now that your calzones are assembled, it’s time to bake them. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the calzones for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and crispy. Let the calzones cool for a few minutes before slicing them and serving them with your favorite dipping sauce.
When it comes to serving your calzones, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to slice them into manageable pieces, as they can be quite filling. You can serve them as a main dish with a side salad, or as an appetizer for a party or gathering.
If you have any leftover calzones, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat them, simply place them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. They may not be as crispy as when they were first baked, but they will still be delicious!
Pairing your calzones with the perfect dipping sauce
Speaking of dipping sauces, there are plenty of options to choose from. Marinara sauce is a classic choice, but you can also try ranch dressing, garlic butter, or even barbecue sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own dipping sauce by blending together herbs, garlic, tomato sauce, and olive oil.
Common mistakes to avoid when making homemade calzones
Like any recipe, making homemade calzones can have its pitfalls. Here are a few common mistakes to watch out for:
– Overstuffing the calzone with filling, which can cause it to burst open in the oven. – Rolling out the dough too thin, which can cause it to tear or become too crispy. – Forgetting to let the dough rest and rise before filling and baking. – Burning the crust in the oven by cooking at too high of a temperature.
Frequently asked questions about making calzones from scratch
Here are a few common questions and answers about making homemade calzones:
– Can I freeze homemade calzones? Yes! Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. – Can I make the dough ahead of time? Yes! Prepare the dough up to 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. – Can I use store-bought pizza dough? Yes, but homemade dough is recommended for the best results.
How to store and reheat leftover calzones
If you have leftover calzones, wrap them in foil or plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
Inspiring variations on traditional calzone recipes
Here are a few more creative calzone recipes to try:
– Breakfast calzone, filled with eggs, bacon, and cheese – BBQ chicken calzone, filled with diced chicken, barbecue sauce, and red onion – Philly cheesesteak calzone, filled with thinly sliced steak, peppers, and onions – Dessert calzone, filled with Nutella, bananas, and marshmallows
Conclusion: Enjoying the delicious rewards of homemade calzones
There you have it- a comprehensive guide to making delicious homemade calzones. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic meat and cheese filling or something more adventurous, making your own calzones is a fun and rewarding culinary experience. So, gather your ingredients, turn on some good music, and let the dough rise to greatness. Your taste buds will thank you.