Calzone Maker Jig

Darren Wright

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Browsing through a little home store we have here the other day, I came across one of these Calzone maker jigs for $3.69.

91ICUZc7NZL._SL1500_.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/Pizzacraft-Large-PC0406-Calzone-Filling/dp/B005HU10GG

I picked up some Pillsbury pizza dough and some pie crust dough from the grocery store along with all the pizza fixings and some pie fillings.

The jig worked quite well for the assembly of both the calzones and some blueberry and apple pies. When in the open position, the jig actually has a cutter built into the bottom for cutting out the right size of dough for the jig.

The calzones came out OK, mostly wasn't happy with the dough, so will experiment with some pizza dough recipes. But overall was happy with the process of making them and everyone got to build theirs the way they wanted them.

Now the pies...with the apple ones coated with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, and the blueberry ones coated with a coating of raw sugar, turned out fantastic! I'd like to have shown you, but the evidence was completely consumed. ;)
 

Ryan Mooney

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We did a series of Calzones a month or so ago and there is certainly a trick to getting the dough just right. A pretty slack pizza style dough work quite well but there seems to be a very fine line between to thick and to thin. Somewhere right around 1/8" +- was in the ballpark.. I started making them like my pita which start out almost paper thin and that oddly enough made the crust kind of tough (not to mention the risk of blowouts :eek:). Making them to thick and they turned out doughy, but of 6 I got one juuuust right.. and it was really good :)

Not sure if you've made a lot of dough. Slack means that its well.. soft and floppy... Somewhere around 5 parts flour to 3 parts water by weight is pretty close. You can use the ingredient mix that Rhulman uses and get really close: http://ruhlman.com/2010/05/homemade-pizza-2/

Repeated here for posterity:
  • 10 ounces flour (two cups)
  • 6 ounces water (if it’s warm the yeast will work faster, if it’s really really hot you can kill the yeast)
  • Big pinch of yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 big pinches salt (1 teaspoon)
  • A drizzle of olive oil for flavor

I prefer to make the dough one or even two days ahead of time. This is because I'm lazy and don't like to knead (it also tastes better so bonus).
  • mix ~most~ of the flour with the dough and other ingredients (yeast, salt, maybe a dash of olive oil) into a thick batter... mix it real good with a heavy spoon..
  • go take a nap for 30m or so. While you're not doing anything the flour is taking up all the water and doing a lot of the work that you'd have to do to knead it.
  • After you've woken back up, gotten a coffee and checked your email add in the rest of the flour a bit at a time until it makes a wet sticky dough.
  • Turn it out onto the counter (lightly floured) and .. stretch and fold. Don't bother trying to knead it but just kind of flop it out until it gets big enough to easily fold back on itself and repeat this about 10-12 times. If it starts getting hard to stretch go check your email for 5 minutes and give it a little rest to relax or call it good enough for now.
  • It should be getting a bit springy by now if you poke it (i.e. it will bounce back a smidge from your finger).
  • Now form it up into a ball and wrap with saran wrap and stick it in the fridge (or put it in a bowl and push one layer of saran wrap down onto the dough and the stretch another layer over the top of the bowl.
  • ===========
  • Leave it in the fridge for one, two, three days. Generally I think white breads hit their peak at about two days and whole wheat at three (but varies a bit).
  • If it gets to big and starts to escape take it briefly out and give it one or two folds to degass and stick it back in the fridge.
  • ===========
  • When you're getting ready to cook, take the dough out about 30-40m ahead of time (while the oven is heating). You can pinch off what you need and stick the rest back in the fridge (as above)
  • either pinch off or cut off with a dough knife approximately the right sized pieces and roll them out and use them now.

The reason this works without much/any kneading is that the long hydration period allows the gluten to self activate. The folding makes sure the ingredients are fully integrated and incorporates some air into the dough (yeast uses oxygen during its growth phase which is what produces the CO2.). I originally learned how this works from "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads" book (https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Reinharts-Whole-Grain-Breads/dp/1580087590) where the long rest also softens the whole grains (but the technique works well with white flour as well). As a bonus some other changes happen in the chemistry of the dough with a long rest that improves the flavor (or makes it more complex and deep anyway) and increases the Maillard reaction during cooking (making a browner crustier tastier bread).

You can also use this same dough for:
  • pita; roll out 1/16" thick rounds maybe 4-5" in diameter - smaller is easier build up to larger ones. Flip carefully onto a hot pizza stone. The key to an even getting them to puff is wet dough, evenly rolled thickness, and don't pinch them while in transit to the oven. Cook around 450F (preheated).
  • Focaccia - roll out to around 3/8" thick. Put on a well oiled sheet pan, Dimple deeply (pretty much all the way through) then cover with a damp towel or saran wrap and let rise for 20-30m. Drizzle heavily with olive oil and prinkle with coarse salt, herbs and optionally cheese, etc.. Cook at 425F or so.
  • I also use this (or dough very like this..) as a base for a variety of other breaks like baguettes, etc.. but that gets a smidge more complex.
 

Darren Wright

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Thanks Ryan, after I posted I had remembered that we used to buy the frozen white bread loaves that you set out to defrost and rise, then roll those out for pizza crust. I'll give your recipe a try after I finish using up the other two rolls of Pillsbury I bought. ;) I think we're just going to do some plain ole pizzas later this week with them on the pizza stone in the pellet smoker.

I also picked up an Anova Sous Vide cooker this weekend on sale (the bluetooth version), so planning on doing some experimenting with it this week. mostly with chicken.
https://www.amazon.com/Anova-Culinary-Bluetooth-Precision-Cooker/dp/B00UKPBXM4
 

Ted Calver

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Darren Wright

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Thanks for the heads up, Darren. I'm treating myself to one of these for fathers day. Anything special you are going to use for a container?

It's maiden voyage will most likely just be in a large stock pot. I saw a recipe for corned beef that is about a 48 hour cook, I may modify one of my old igloo coolers for that.
 

Brent Dowell

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For short soaks, I usually use a cambro container, well, just because I have some. I've also used a stock pot and a cooler.

Before I got the anova, I used to do 'psuedo sous vide' in a cooler for rib eyes. Filling the cooler up with hot water from the tap, put in the mean, and top off with boiling water till I got to the temp I wanted. Put the lid on the cooler and it would be good for a couple of hours.
 

Ryan Mooney

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I just use a large stock pot as well mostly... Stainless is actually pretty decent because it has rather poor heat transfer properties so holds the temp better than you would expect. If I need to go past that one of my various kegs with the top cut off I use for homebrewing is a good choice (especially as I can pre-heat the water). The Anova is big enough to hold temp pretty well but struggles a little getting a large volume to temperature.

My favorite so far was probably turkey legs/thighs (x2) plus a stick of butter (yep whole stick melted so it vaccum packed in good) and some miscellaneous herbs. The 64C eggs the chef did were pretty amazing as well - chilaquiles with 64C soft boiled .. yum!

If you don't have a GOOD vacuum sealer its pretty much required for most things (past eggs).
 

Ryan Mooney

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We love turkey thighs. Do you do anything to crisp up the skin? broiler? micro torch?

I didn't, but should have crispy skin is delicious (motivation for a repeat!). We just ditched the skin on that one the meat was ... beyond succulent.

The one problem I've had with using a torch is the unburnt hydrocarbons can leave a bit of an off taste. The butane micro-torch was certainly better than the propane welding torch in that regard but its pretty slow for anything of size (fine for a creme brulee but a bit tedious past that).

The hotness for meat searing is the searzall: https://www.amazon.com/Searzall-Torch-Attachment-Small-Stainless/dp/B00L2P0KNO
From Dave Arnold of CookingIssues fame: http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html?p=6031.html
They basically came up with the idea by holding a chinois over a torch to diffuse the flame (this has probably the most information on the idea): http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html?p=5885.html

This is from the site that came up with another of my other favorite cooking magic tricks I've tried - hand pulled cotton candy:
http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html?p=4880.html
We did it in coco powder for the "powder" (to keep it from sticking) and salty toasted almond chunks for the nut portion. Very good (and out of ~16 attempts I managed to get 12 to work, do NOT let the sugar pucks sit to long - maybe 2 days tops but sooner is better, once crystallization kicks in the game is over).
 

Darren Wright

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Man, this thread is making me hungry. :)

Well, Between my wife starting to get "Hangry" and the grandson the same, I opted to fall back to grilling the chicken tonight to get dinner done, so will need to stop by the store for more chicken later this week for a second attempt.

I did fire up the Anova and put it in a small pot. It did seem to take a bit to get up to temp, so may have to come up with a cover for my stock pot with a cut-out for the Anova to poke through. Pretty easy device to use, just plug it in, set the target temp, and click start.
 
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