Stromboli is a type of bread that is similar to a calzone. It is definitely of Italian origin, but some say it is Italian-American and was created in Philadelphia, PA in the 1950’s, whereas others believe it is from the old country and was brought to America when the Italian immigrants came over in large numbers, during the 19th century. It is made either with pizza dough or a calzone dough and is filled with cheese, usually mozzarella, and herbs. Sometimes it is also filled with either cold cut meats or vegetables or both as well. A calzone is folded over like a pocket and a stromboli is rolled, giving it layers of goodness.
The name stromboli is said to have come from two completely different inspirations. One being the Italian film Stromboli, with Ingrid Bergman. The other one, which makes more sense to me, is that the name was inspired by the volcanic island of Stromboli that is located off the coast of Sicily. Stromboli is called an “erupting” bread because holes are poked into the dough before baking which allows the cheese to “erupt” from the dough while it bakes. But no one really knows for sure. Where the name came from really doesn’t matter. What matters is the taste that “erupts” from this delicious, cheesey bread. I did not put meats in mine this time around, but that just might happen next time. You never know. 🙂
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2-2 cups water
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 1 /2 tsp salt
3 TBSP olive oil
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese – if you have smoked mozzarella, use 1/2 regular mozzarella and 1/2 smoked mozzarella
1 TBSP garlic
2-3 TBSP fresh basil, chiffonade or chopped fine
3 TBSP olive oil
salt & pepper for topping
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
Sprinkle the yeast in about 1 cup of lukewarm water and let it set for about 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy. Mix the flour and the salt together and make a well in the center, then add the yeast mixture and the olive oil and mix it in from the sides to the center until everything is combined. You may need to add more water as you go.
Once everything is incorporated, turn the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough forms into smooth, elastic ball. Rub oil on the inside of the bowl and place the dough back into the bowl and cover. Let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it is doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and let it set for another 10 minutes. Then roll it into a rectangular shape on a lightly floured surface.
Add the cheese, basil and garlic, making sure to cover the whole piece of dough. Next time I will be much more generous with the basil, but this was all I had this time.
Preheat the oven to 400* F or 200* C.
Oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
Starting from the smaller ends roll the dough into a roll, making sure it is not rolled to tightly. Randomly poke holes with a fork all over the top of the dough roll. Place the roll onto the prepared baking sheet.
Rub olive oil all over the top of the dough roll, then add salt, pepper and the rosemary.
Bake the dough roll for 1 hour or until golden brown. Once the bread is done, let it cool slightly, then rub more olive oil over the top and slice. This bread is best when eaten warm. Mangia!