These days I no longer order delivery from "The Pizza Dude" (really, that was the name of the pizza place!), and more times than not we make our pizza and calzones at home. It does take a bit of work.. well, not so much work as just planning ahead to allow time for the dough to rise. I always feel it's worth it, and I never feel the guilt or well, grossness, that I do after eating store bought 'za. As Jim Gaffigan says, "Did I just eat that or rub it on my face?" Now, who wants that?
This is a dough well-suited for calzones or a thinner, denser crust for a pizza. I like it for calzones because it's not too thick, and it doesn't over power the filling.
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot, but not quite lukewarm either. if you want to get techy, 110-115 degrees)
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water in a medium-large sized bowl, and let sit for 10 minutes. You want to see a sort of foam happening on top of the water mixture so that you know your yeast has activated.
Add in some seasonings here. You really can't go wrong. I typically do:
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Also add in some oil, and mix well:
2 T. olive oil
Time for the flour! I like to do about half and half unbleached white all purpose flour and whole wheat flour, but do what you like. It might take some time to figure out what kind of ratio you like - if any. To begin, mix in:
2 1/2 cups of flour
On a clean surface, sprinkle some flour, and turn your dough out onto the surface. Knead in additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Keep kneading - about 10 minutes all together, until the dough is elastic. Don't be intimidated about kneading the dough! Just push with the heel of your hand, fold the dough in half, turn it 1/4 turn, repeat, repeat, repeat! Easy peasy!
Oil your bowl, and place your dough in there. Cover with a cloth, and allow to sit and rise at least 1 hour. After the hour (or more), punch the dough down to form a tight ball. Let it relax a little (maybe 10 minutes), and then get ready to roll. Cut your dough into equal sections - about 6. Then roll out those individual sections for your individual calzones.
Lay your filling on one half of the circle, fold, and poke some air vents! Place on a greased baking sheet, or even better, a parchment paper lined sheet for easy clean up!
Bake at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes - until crust is golden and center is heated through.
*A Note About Fillings: If you're using veggies, saute them up just briefly before stuffing the calzone. Just with a little bit of oil, or boil the broccoli, etc.