Braided Calzone

Whenever I make a calzone I think of the Parks and Recreation episode when Ben loses his job and is going crazy and starts talking about the calzone restaurant he is going to open called "The Low-Cal Calzone Zone". This is one of my go to meals. It is super easy and it is one of those things you can just use whatever is in your fridge. I have made it with spinach and garlic and with bacon and veggies. It is kind of an anything goes. I will just give you the basic instructions and you can go from there.

  • Dough Ingredients:

    • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (can use a combination of white and whole wheat)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
    • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
    • 1 cup very warm water
     Combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup of the flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil and mix. Stir in remaining flour slowly until dough is soft, but not sticky. Knead until smooth. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before making the calzone.The longer you let it rest the better flavor you have.
Once your dough has rested/risen you want to roll it out into a rectangle. You want to do this on the baking sheet you are going to want to use. I usually just sprinkle a little seasoning in the center. For this one I used garlic powder, dried basil, onion powder, and a little garlic salt. You can use whatever you want. I have done it with tomato sauce and even pesto.
 If I am going to use pepperoni I always us the good stuff.
 Then I just layered it on in the center like so. I put a little layer of mozzarella cheese on before I put the pepperoni's on.
 Then I added a little olives, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
 Then I topped it off with more cheese.
 This is where it gets fancy. Start cutting slits on both sides. I use kitchen shears, but you can also use a knife. Make sure you have an even number of slits on both sides.
 Then once you have cut them all you start folding over one side at a time. Alternating between sides.

 Once I am finished I sprinkle a little bit of the same mixture from inside on top. This is totally optional.
 Bake for 25-30 minutes.
 Then serve plain or with a dipping sauce. I like to use this Alfredo sauce for dipping. It is a nice meal to make when it gets to be the afternoon and you realize you don't have a dinner plan. I just throw together the dough and then look through my fridge to see what I have to put inside. It is a nice easy thing to serve for guests that looks complicated, but is really very easy.

Happy cooking!


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