Stromboli. (makes one "loaf")
What you will need.
For the dough
6oz (175g) of strong flour (half white, half wholemeal)
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon dried yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of "runny" honey
4 fluid oz (120ml) hand hot water
For the Filling
250g packet of pre grated mozzerella / cheddar
A selection of dried meats like Parma Ham or Salami
Baby spinach (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper to season
Sift the flour, salt and yeast into large mixing bowl. Then add the olive oil using a tablespoon measure. Then add the honey from the same measure. When you add the honey last, you make sure that it all gets in as it'll slide off the spoon because the oil has been on it before. Science in action. I'm giving you gold here. Also, anyone that says you have to have a well in the flour is talking nonsense. You don't need to. "Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon." somebody once said. Chant the mantra. Pour the water in and bring the whole lot together with a wooden spoon. Or a plastic one, whatever floats your boat. You'll find that after some vigorous stirring, the mixture will start to come together in a lump which is good. When its in a rough ball you will be ready to work it properly. Up end the contents of the bowl onto a well floured surface.
Now, roll up your sleeves and get into it. Bring all the flour and your dough together and knead until you have a dough that will spring back when you touch it. The dough will be tacky to touch, if you feel too much of it on your hands, just add more flour while kneading. When you are done, there should be very little residue on your hands. Put the dough back in the bowl you were using before and cover with a dish towel and leave in a warm place to prove for about 45 minutes to an hour. Make yourself a cup of coffee and resist eating the Parma ham straight out of the packet. Well, I have to do that at least.
Now, after about an hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Once again, up end the bowl onto a floured surface and knead to "knock the air out" of the dough. With a cold rolling pin (I have a marble one, but a glass one that has water in will do just as well) roll out the dough until it is a bit bigger than an A4 piece of paper. Now you are ready to put the filling in.
Take a look at the pics below. Put a layer of grated cheese on the dough, then some of the dried meats, then spinach leaves with the stalks taken off (too spiky to roll up), then more cheese. Now, just a note about the grated cheese. I use the supermarket bought cheese as it's dry and doesn't shed water when baking. Blocks of cheddar and of course mozzerella are full of water and this will expand while baking and split the dough. Then it will leak out and make you sad. Don't improvise on this ingredient, trust me.
Season the filling with salt and pepper from the grinder and then fold in the sides as shown in the pictures. Then roll the dough up from the top to the bottom so it looks like a swiss roll. There should be a spare bit of dough on the bottom that you can "seal up" the bottom with. Brush some olive oil on a baking tray and put the loaf seal side down on it. Brush the whole loaf with olive oil, especially the sides. Don't go crazy, you just need a coating. Then grind some pepper and salt on the top.
Put the tray and loaf in the middle shelf of a pre heated oven at Gas Mark 7 / 200 degrees F / Hot (for my american friends). Close the door and come back in 25-30 mins. The loaf should be nice and brown and smelling epic. Cool on a rack for as long as you can resist it, then slice up and serve. The Stromboli should keep for about 4 - 6 days if you wrap it well in foil and keep it in a cool place. It lasts about half an hour in our house.
|Oiled and ready for the oven|
I choose to use salt on the outside of the loaf to give some crispiness while cooking. You don't need to if you don't want. The pepper is a must though. You can experiment with other fillings, but avoid fatty salami's as they will make the dough split when baking. It is possible to use fresh peppers and tomatoes too, but ensure they are as dry as possible before adding them. Patting down with kitchen towels works ok and taking out the seeds and juice. Sun dried tomatoes are better though, Once again, the dryer the better. Generally, I make Stromboli in batches of four, just multiply the ingredients by however many you want to make and divide the dough evenly after proving.
You know this post was a bit longer than I anticipated, but hey ho, cooking needs explanation. I hope those of you that try this out enjoy it. See you next time.