Use this recipe as a template for other calzones. Try other calzones with mushrooms, pepperoni, spinach, or more. If you use onions or green peppers, partially cook the veggies before adding them to the filling. Meats should always be cooked first.
For the crust
2 2/3 cups bread flour
1 cup water at 110 degrees
1 7 gram packet instant yeast
1/4 cup stone ground whole wheat or rye flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baker’s dry milk
1/2 teaspoon dough conditioner
For the filling
3/4 pound mild Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups whole milk ricotta
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper (optional)
Directions for the crust
1. Place about 2/3’s of the bread flour in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the water and yeast. Mix with the dough hook for about one minute to hydrate the instant yeast.
2. Add the rest of the bread flour, the whole grain flour, olive oil, the sugar, salt, dry milk, and dough conditioner. Mix for about four minutes at medium speed or until the gluten is formed.
3. Remove the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled.
For the filling
1. Sauté the sausage and onion together until cooked but not over-cooked. (The meat will cook just a bit more in the heat of the oven.) Stir in the basil. Crumble the meat into smaller pieces.
Putting the calzone together
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1. Once the dough has risen, divide it into three equal parts with a sharp knife. Roll out each into a nine-inch round. Avoid any thin spots that might leak.
2. Place 1/3 of the mozzarella on the lower half of each circle. On top of the cheese, place 1/3 of the meat and onion filling. On top of the filling, add 1/3 of the ricotta. Sprinkle each with a portion of the parmesan. Salt and pepper if desired.
3. Fold the top of the calzone crust over the bottom into the traditional half-moon shape. Seal the edges by crimping them with a fork. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to trim the crimped edges smoothly.
4. Grease a large baking sheet and dust it with cornmeal or semolina flour. With a pastry brush, brush the crust of each of the calzones with olive oil. Bake the calzones for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and turn to a wire rack. Brush the crust again with olive oil. Serve hot.
Baker’s Notes: In filling the calzones, you don’t need to measure the ingredients; just use what looks right. Unless your sausage is well-seasoned, you will probably want to sprinkle the fillings with salt and pepper.
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