Pushing my limits with gluten-free baking, I'm trying to create a calzone this time. This is definitely quite a challenge knowing that gluten-free dough just doesn't have the elasticity that making this specific type of pizza may require.
As always, let's give our yeast a headstart. Leave it for about 5-10 minutes to bloom in a bowl of warm water and sugar.
I'm using a pre-mixed gluten-free all-purpose flour blend for this recipe just for convenience. You may certainly use your own blend if you do happen to have a trusted one.
Let me share mine:
1.75 cups Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
1.5 tsp. Xanthan Gum
As soon as the yeast's all foamy, stir it into the dry ingredients, together with the olive oil.
It shouldn't take long until everything comes together.
Knead the dough briefly, just until smooth, and set it on a lightly oiled bowl. Leave it to rise for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Honestly, this dough ended up cracking as I tried to prepare my calzones in the more traditional way of folding.
Eager to make this work, I proceeded to make my calzones in a similar way to making ravioli.
So, I laid the dough on a floured surface and flattened it about 1 mm thick with a rolling pin.
Then I cut them into uniform shapes with a knife and a small rectangular plate as a guide.
I then got my toppings on top of the pre-cut pieces of dough.
Finally, a second piece of dough goes on top to close-up the calzone. You really won't need any binder to seal those edges. Pressing lightly around with your fingers should get the job done.
Set the calzones on a lightly oiled pan and bake them for 20 minutes at 425F.
Calzones are certainly an unusual style of pizza but that doesn’t stop them from being incredibly popular. They have the distinct advantage of being self-contained, meaning that they are often easy to eat while on the move. In many ways, a calzone can basically be considered a savory turnover, one that is filled with some of the traditional pizza ingredients.
As with other types of pizza, there is no shortage of variation on the ingredients included in a calzone. Mozzarella cheese is, of course, a key component but other cheeses like ricotta or parmesan are often present as well. Likewise, a calzone may also contain various types of meat and vegetables, with tomatoes also being a particularly common addition.
On a side note, calzones are often popular for delivery, especially in Italy. A key reason is that they are thought to be better for heat retention due to their shape and the fact that they are self-enclosed. While this may not be a deciding factor for everybody, it is still one reason for the popularity of the pizza style.
A key component of calzones is the way that they are folded. Typically, a calzone is made from a single disk of pastry, and fillings are placed on one side. A gap is also left to ensure that a good seal can be made.
The pastry is then folded in half, to create the traditional half circle shape of a calzone and the edges can then be sealed with pinching, often with a little water added. The end result is the puffy calzones that you see time and time again.
With this recipe, folding simply didn’t work because of the nature of the pastry. However, making two halves and pressing them together produces a similar result overall, even though it doesn’t look nearly as traditional.
To be honest, the calzone in this recipe doesn’t look much like a traditional one at all. For one thing, it doesn’t have the standard shape, although you could do so by cutting semi-circular pieces of dough rather than rectangular ones. Additionally, the dough doesn’t rise as much as one that contains gluten, so the pizza is less visually impressive.
But, be that as it may, you do still end up with a pizza that has many of calzone’s properties. If nothing else, it is very portable and makes for a great snack or dinner.
Additionally, making a calzone with gluten-free dough is always going to be somewhat limited. You may be able to make your finished product more closely resemble a calzone but it isn’t going to be the same regardless.
Still, the style is worth trying out, especially if you are a fan of calzones – or if you just want something a little bit different.