Stromboli Part II: A How To Tutorial

Why is it so important to do a tutorial on how to make Stromboli? It is a simple dish; roll out dough, layer ingredients, roll back up, bake. After many years of experience in making this, it isn’t always quite so simple. They can be overstuffed, over cooked, under cooked, doughy, greasy, salty blobs. Yesterday we discussed what a Stromboli was versus a Calzone or Panzaratti, but why chose the Stromboli to highlight? Stromboli can be served hot, warm, room temp, or cold. It travels well and is great for picnics or the lunch box. It feeds a crowd along side a big salad and is the perfect gift for a new neighbor, someone sick, or a mommy with a new baby. These are so very pretty and rustic along side a bowl of soup. So you can see I have a fondness for Stromboli. Read this entire post before making your own Stromboli.

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 375°, place a large baking stone on center rack.

BEGINNINGS: DOUGH


I have used many doughs over the years and the one that stands out as the most delicious and convenient is the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day’s Master Recipe. This recipe will allow you to make 3 Stromboli. The above photo is the dough as soon as I made it and the picture below is two hours later. You may refrigerate your dough up to two weeks if you desire. This will allow you to make your Stromboli at a moment’s notice. I used mine right after that initial rise.


You can see the bubbles made by the gas given off by the yeast. Sprinkle a generous handful of flour over the entire top of that dough.


You are going to want to divide this dough into thirds. I have found it is easier to roll my dough out on parchment paper but this can be tricky as you do not want the dough to stick. Flour three pieces of parchment paper generously. If you think there is too much flour, you are wrong! Flour your hands and grab 1/3 of the dough from the container. It will be very sticky. Place on the pile of flour on the parchment. Add more flour to top and knead it in. It will take a couple of small additions of flour to keep it from sticking. Re-flour the parchment and let the dough rest while you work the other two dough balls.


You may do this on a floured counter top but I use the parchment to transfer the Stromboli in and out of the oven. As long as you flour the parchment as you would the counter top you will have no problem. By the time you get the third dough ball ready your first had rested enough to be rolled. You will not need this dough to rise but if you are using it from the refrigerator then is will need some time to come to room temperature before rolling. Simply follow the above procedure but cover with a towel until room temperature.


Roll your dough to a large rectangle, about 10×12 inches. I like to use a small pastry roller rather than a rolling pin. You will have better control this way. Do not roll the dough too thin, it still should be about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Too thin and it will break. As you are rolling sprinkle the parchment with flour to prevent sticking. See all the flour I had used, it is everywhere!

Note- If you use a premade dough from Trader Joe’s, a pizzeria, or frozen, then you will not have to worry so much about using as much flour. The Artisan Bread in 5 is a wet dough and needs that special care, but it is the best!

FILLING YOUR STROMBOLI: SALAMI AND CHEESE


This first Stromboli is made with Genoa Salami and Provolone Cheese. Other fillings can be ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, roast beef and cheese but you will mostly find it done with the Italian meats. Pepperoni is good too but may I suggest you use turkey pepperoni as the regular is too greasy. You do not want to over stuff your Stromboli, it will break or be too heavy, salty and filling. The key is to keep it simple, the more you have in there the harder it will be for that inner dough to cook. Your Stromboli will be doughy and almost have the consistency of being steamed instead of baked. See the photo below? This is how the inside should look once baked; light and airy.


To fill, lay the cheese first, that will protect the outer surface of the Stromboli from getting to greasy. See how I’ve kept the filling on the lower part of the dough? This will make it roll better. I used 6 slices of provolone and 10 slices of salami. Keep the filling about an inch from the bottom and side edges. You may now sprinkle the filling with a little Italian seasoning or oregano if you desire, I used Penzeys’ Tuscan Sunset. Take that bottom one inch lip and roll it away from you over the filling.


Continue rolling the dough and filling very tightly, trying not to allow air space in there as you roll.


If the dough sticks as you are rolling, simply use a rubber scraper or spatula and scrape it toward the dough. Sprinkle parchment and roll with a little more flour. Roll until the filling is covered.


Stop rolling and pull the back lip toward you over the top of the roll and start pinching the seam shut.


Some parts will stick, others will not, so pinch well. If it tears, press together. Wetting the dough with water will not help.


Once you have sealed the seam, pinch the ends shut and fold up toward what will eventually be the bottom of the Stromboli; the seam side. Seal to bottom if you can. We have used so much flour to keep the dough from sticking that it will now give you trouble in sealing, just keep pinching it will be fine. You can see from some of the photos that my seams opened.


Turn your Stromboli over and using a sharp knife cut diagonal slits through the top layer of dough. This will vent the Stromboli while baking and reveal the filling, very pretty. If you do not vent you will have huge blow outs on the sides of the Stromboli during baking.


Brush the entire Stromboli with an egg wash; one egg yolk beat with 1 tablespoon water. This will give a nice golden sheen to the Stromboli.


Here is a photo of one with egg wash, left, and one without, right. You decide. Also the one on the right was baked on a metal cookie sheet and not a hot stone, therefore the bottom seal did break. Click on the photo for a closer view.


Once your Stromboli is ready to bake, then slide a pizza peel or cookie sheet under it to help you slide it onto your hot stone in the oven.


Do be sure your rack is in the center and that you have preheated your oven to 375° at least 30 minutes, you want that stone good and hot. That hot stone will seal that bottom seam more quickly. Bake for 25-28 minutes until deep golden brown. And there it is. Beautiful.


See why I don’t cry if is breaks a little? The baker gets to eat all the crispy cheese that has spilled out. Mmm. If I had not vented the top, this hole would be gigantic.

FILLING YOUR STROMBOLI: SPINACH AND CHEESE

In a large pot over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced, and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add 1 pound baby spinach, few pinches of nutmeg, generous sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper, and 1 tsp. Kosher salt.


Stir until the spinach is cooked, about 4 minutes. It will shrink to practically nothing!


Let cool until ready to handle. Using a slotted spoon, spoon out onto 4 layers of paper towels. I find this easier than having to wash a dish towel. Plus I use fabric softener and don’t want that in my food.


Wring out very well until the spinach is completely dry. This is an important step. Wet ingredients will steam the dough leaving your Stromboli doughy and chewy.


Place 1 1/2 slices provolone in the middle of the dough, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese, and place the spinach over the entire dough. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of the blended cheese. Spinach is more pliable than the salami to it can be put all over. I do not sprinkle my Spinach Stromboli with Penzeys or anything else. I like the spinach and garlic to shine. Roll as you did the Salami Stromboli. Bake the same as well- 375° for 25-28 minutes.


Isn’t this nice. Remember do not over do it on the cheese, it will be too gooey, leaving the bread doughy. Trust me I’ve tried!

Note- You may use one box of frozen spinach in place of fresh spinach. Still cook it as stated above for flavor.

IMPORTANT STOMBOLI MAKING TIPS:

1. Not to sound like a broken record, do not over do the filling, this leaves the dough chewy.

2. Be sure your oven is preheated to 375°. Any hotter and the outside will brown too fast while the inside remains raw.

3. After removing from the oven, let the Stromboli rest for 10 minutes then cut with a serrated knife.

4. If you do choose to use vegetables then sauté until completely cooked first, drain very well and use sparingly. Meaning do not double up on the layers, spread it out evenly over the lower half of the dough.

5. If you do choose to use pepperoni, use sparingly, do not cover the entire dough with it and do not overlap. It gets very greasy and your dough will not cook properly, it will be dense. I recommend turkey pepperoni for the job.

6. Do not brush the inside of the dough with olive oil. It is too oily and will definitely not seal. If you want to brush a little on the outside prior to baking you may do so.

7. These freeze well either un-baked or baked. To freeze un-baked, do not apply egg wash, freeze on a tray for 3 hours, wrap very tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. To freeze baked, freeze on a tray for 3 hours, wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. Let defrost for 24 hours in refrigerator. If un-baked, bake as explained above. If already baked then place uncovered in 350° oven for about 20-25 minutes or until hot through. Freeze up to one year.


Serve your Stromboli at any temperature with a fresh hot off the stove marinara sauce and some peppers- hot, sweet or both.

Now go make Stromboli this weekend. It takes a little practice but I don’t think anyone will mind.

Related Posts:
Stromboli Part I: Interpretation

25 Comments

  1. HoneyB
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    Oh wow, Grumpy would so love me if I made this for him. Oh, um, well he loves me anyway…but he would love me more! Looks great and I believe I will try this as I never have!

  2. Bobi
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    WOW – I discovered you through Rindy at Kitchen Klique but has Martha Stewart discovered you?
    If not, why not – that stromboli would make a great segment on her show along with all your other expertise.

  3. Rachael
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Ooooh….that spinach stomboli looks WONDERFUL!!!

    You really did a great job with the tutorial, you need to be the next “Food Network Star” 🙂

  4. tamilyn
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Oh gosh, that looks killer! I wish I had time to make it for dinner tonight!

  5. Linda
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Excellent tutorial! And they look so good too! I’ll have to try making these rather than buying them!

  6. RecipeGirl
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    That post was a LOT of work. WoWWW! Just WOW! I’ve always wanted to make stromboli. Now I see that I’ve got to set aside a good amount of a day to work on it! It truly looks amazing. Great job.

    You should enter this in my Superbowl Recipe contest to win $250 to Sam’s Club! It’s perfect!

  7. Anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Robin, You did a wonderful job and I learned a lot about why my strombolis always leaked. I put too much filling and I do not always use a stone. You make great bread which I have not been able to master until recently (about last 3 years.) You must tell your bloggers about the rolls you made from the Klause cook book.

    However, since I am intimidated about making bread, I use frozen bread. Leave in refrigerator overnight to thaw or follow package directions. Cut in half and roll as Robin has indicated. Ma

  8. Sandy
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    oh yummy, that looks like an old pampered chef recipe that i used to make – yours i could take a bite out of now :))

  9. Karen
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    This looks like so much fun. I *love* the Artisan Bread in 5 recipe and definitely will give this a try. Great tutorial!

  10. biz319
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    Wow – great job. Okay, I need to make my lunch now – you made me hungry!!

    Thanks for the dough recipe too – can’t wait to try it out over the weekend!

  11. That Girl
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    You make it look so easy!

  12. grahamstravelblog
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been enjoying the 5 minute a day bread master recipe as well. So far I haven’t done anything with it aside from loaves, but the strombolis certainly look good.

    I guess I should probably buy the book though. I can’t wait for Super Sunday though. Junk food is good food.

  13. Elra
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Goodness me, this is just great. Step by step photographs certainly help a lot. Looks utterly gorgeous, and scrumptious.
    Cheers,
    Elra

  14. noble pig
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Okay this is a beautiful post and dedication to this food. So lovely! I mean it’s a work of art…you’ve inspired me.

  15. Grace
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    so what you’re telling me is that they’re a lot of work to make…but totally worth it. amen. 🙂

  16. Kevin
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    That stromboli look so good! I am going to have to try it.

  17. Larissa
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    I’ve never had stromboli before, but I’d be interested in making this. Thanks for the tutorial…great tips!

  18. Jessica
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Hey Mrs.Joss, I’m not sure if you remember me, but My Dad was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist in Heidelberg. 🙂

    Anyways, I’m a wanna be cook, and this looks terrific. 🙂 I think I will try this recipe out sometime. 🙂

  19. Robin Sue
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Jessica- Of course I remember you! But you were a little girl we called Jessie. My how time has flown! I will have to check out your blog. Your mom is a fantastic cook, so you will learn much from her for sure (and sewing!) Oh and here is a secret- Church ladies have to be about the best cooks in the world!! Thanks for stopping in!

  20. Joie de vivre
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Oh my, how embarassing, I happen to be drooling now. What a wonderful post!

  21. Peter M
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Robin-Sue, thanks for the detailed play-by-play. It’s alot of work and I mean to make such a post…it’s not un-noticed.

    Here’s how we roll…you show me Stromboli and I show you a slow-braised lamb ragu, deal?

  22. Robin Sue
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Peter- Deal!

  23. Anonymous
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    Do you think you could post the recipe for the bread? NYTimes seems to want to make you register to see the recipe

  24. Anonymous
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    Made these tonight with Pilsbury Thin Pizza Crust and they were delicious! I used hard salami, provolone, and some leftover ham. Will make this again soon!

  25. dyfrgi
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip on slitting the top! My stromboli always wind up bursting the sides – hopefully that will help cut down on that.

    BTW, regarding the fabric softener on your dish towels, what use are they if you aren't willing to touch food or food prep items with them? I assume you use them to dry dishes – shouldn't the same fabric softener problem apply there?

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