2 cups very warm (not hot) water
2 envelopes dry yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
6-7 cups flour (up to half whole grain)
1/2 cup brown sugar or ¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons good quality salt
Filling (see recipes below)
Soften yeast in water and add oil and sugar. Stir in salt and 6 cups of flour. Knead by hand or with dough hook for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be soft. (Add more flour if too sticky.)
Allow to rise until double in bulk. Separate dough into 16 equal parts and roll out each piece to form a circle. Place filling (plus cheese with pizza filling) on dough, being careful to keep filling away from edges, to avoid problems with sealing. Fold circle in half and pinch the edges closed. (Note - You can also make round calzones by placing filling in the center of the rolled out circle and pulling the edges toward the center and pinching them closed.)
Place on greased pan and allow to rise until smooth and puffy. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Serve hot.
Cool completely before storing. Warm up in the oven and not the microwave to avoid sogginess.
Recipe Calzones - Pizza Filling (enough for 16 calzones)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced (may substitute garlic powder*)
1 large bell pepper, chopped (optional, if peppers bother your digestion, leave it out)
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (or 4 small cans)
2 cans black olives, sliced
1 small can tomato paste (or about 4 Tablespoons)
1 medium can diced tomatoes, well-drained
2 teaspoons sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch of thyme
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
16 oz. shredded cheeses of your choice
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and sliced black olives. Heat through, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in spices and allow mixture to simmer on low heat, stirring as needed. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
Cool mixture before assembling calzones using filling plus cheese.
Recipe Calzones - Spinach Filling
2 pints ricotta cheese
1 cup cooked, chopped spinach (2 cups raw before cooking)
16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (for added flavor, use a mixture of cheeses that may include Mozzarella, Colby, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Mix all ingredients completely. Divide up into 16 equal portions for calzones.
Notes for Recipe Calzones
1) Recipe may be cut in half for 8 calzones.
2) Spices may be adjusted to taste.
3) Pizza filling may be made without mushrooms and/or black olives, if desired.
4) Calzones may be made in a pocket shape or a round shape. If you are making both kinds (pizza and spinach), you can make one flavor in the round shape (easier to form) and one in the pocket shape to make it easy to tell which is which.
5) When making pizza calzones keep filling away from edges of dough to avoid problems with getting calzones to seal properly. (However, even if they occasionally “leak” during cooking, they will still taste great!)
6) *A head or bulb of garlic usually contains about 10 cloves. 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice