Monday, June 10, 2019

stromboli cherry: popped, but not well

This is my first time ever making stromboli, and I made six of the fuckers. A stromboli is different from a calzone in a few ways, not least being that the tomato sauce is often (but not always) inside the dough pocket, not outside in a tiny dipping ramekin.

I somewhat faithfully followed Wolfgang Puck's recipe for pizza dough, per the instructions of YouTube's Chef John. All in all, the prep went well: the dough behaved the way it was meant to, although I didn't find the taste all that spectacular. For a beginner like me, though, the dough served its purpose.

Wikipedia's entry on stromboli says this:

Generally, strombolis do not usually contain tomato sauce, unlike calzones.

Hmmm. The entry on calzones says this:

In the United States, calzones are typically made from pizza dough and stuffed with meats, cheeses[,] and vegetables.

No mention of tomato sauce, but this guy puts sauce in his stromboli. Don't always trust Wikipedia. Here are some blurry shots of my stromboli:

Aside from using Wolfgang Puck's dough, I painted a bit of olive oil on the inside of the dough pocket, per Chef John's admonition that you don't want your sauce sticking directly to the dough. I layered on mushrooms, mozzarella, and a halal beef analogue for pepperoni that I'd bought from the Foreign Food Market, sliced, and pre-fried. On top of the pepperoni went some ricotta, super-thin deli-sliced ham, sopressa (a bit like salami), bacon (pre-fried), and a bit of thin provolone. I folded over the dough and crimped it, using a fork, in most cases, to make the seal tight. (It turned out that crimping with the fingers was sufficient—no forking necessary). Instead of an egg wash, I painted butter across the tops of all the stromboli, and I used kitchen shears to cut three vents into each pocket to prevent explosions.

Chef John's instructions say to bake the stromboli (well, his recipe was for calzones, but no matter) at 500ºF for 15 minutes. My oven goes up to that temperature, but it's somewhat under-powered, so I ended up baking for twice that long, adjusting my heating elements about halfway through so as to brown the top thoroughly (which is one of the features I love about my oven: you can go top-burner-only, bottom-burner-only, or both-burners-at-once). All the stromboli came out more or less well except for the second one, which got somewhat burned (see "C" in the third photo above).

I don't have a photo of it, but my sixth and final stromboli came out the best of all of them. I didn't add any beef "pepperoni" to that one because I had way more sopressa, at the end, than I'd calculated. So for the final stromboli, I used up the rest of the sopressa, plus a bit of extra mozzarella. Can't wait to eat that one.

There isn't enough room in my freezer, even after more than half a month, to tuck in all five stromboli: I ate the first one out of the oven for dinner, so there were only five left to deal with. I'll either fridge them up for now or take them to the office this week and dump them in the faculty/staff freezer.

The stromboli that I ate tasted fine. As mentioned above, the dough did its work, but it didn't taste like anything special. I'll look around and see what improvements I can make to both the taste and the texture of the dough.


Charles said...

I think you're right that Wikipedia has it backwards on the sauce: stromboli contain sauce, calzones have it on the side. Another prominent difference, though, is how they are shaped: The calzone is folded into a half-moon, while the stromboli is rolled into a log. (Incidentally, the former is Italian, while the latter was actually invented in Philadelphia.) So these look more like calzones to me. Maybe it's a calboli? Or a stromzone?

But it doesn't really matter what you call it as long as it tastes good, right? Alas, our ovens are not really ideal for getting the proper char on dough products. (I generally just settle for golden brown rather than overcook the dough.) My dream is to one day have a yard and build a wood-fired brick oven in it.

Kevin Kim said...

Yes, my stromboli may be suffering from gender dysphoria.