Recipes

stromboli

This is not a stromboli. If we’ve spoken in the last day, I’ve demanded that you weigh on a name for this dish. Pizza Strudel? Thousand-Layer Stromboli? Stromboli Babka? But that’s not where it began. It began as a dish called Scaccia Ragusana, which I found in an old Saveur issue. This stuffed flatbread is a Sicilian specialty from the province of Ragusa, made with a very thin rectangular layer of dough that’s folded in on itself a few times to make a veritable mille-feuille of a pie, with a dozen stunning layers greeting you when you, lucky you, cut into it. Not all scaccias have these thin folded layers; usually only the tomato and cheese ones do, while others have fillings from ricotta and fried eggplant, ricotta and sausage, greens, beans and more, folded over and crimped at the edges, sometimes elaborately with a braid, like a giant empanada.


what you'll need, mostly

I haven’t heard of any that are tweaked to taste like an American pizzeria pepperoni pie — fluorescent red salami rounds, oregano, red pepper flakes, mozzarella and all — but we can thank my husband for this suggestion.

dry mixturewet into drycraggy before kneadinghand-kneaded doughmachine-kneaded doughdoubledsizzling garlicadd the tomatoes, basil, then simmersauce, cooledfour types of cheese (but you only need two)

It’s also not not a stromboli. My pizza-loving friend and I have had elaborate conversations over the last few days over what defines a stromboli (an Italian-American invention that Philadelphia lays claim to, of a rolled pizza or Italian bread dough, filled generously with various cheeses and Italian cured meats and vegetables), a calzone (more of a turnover with pizza ingredients but the sauce on the side; I have a beloved one with eggplant and ricotta in my first cookbook), and this scaccia. All of this is juicy stuff if you’re a bit nerdy about food and cooking, but is distracting when the only thing you need to know is that I think this might be my new favorite way to make pizza, possibly forever, because just look at it.

pizza streudel
pizza streudel

Why would you make pizza if you could make this? This is a pizza mic drop, and it’s barely more work. I’m showing it here two different ways: first, as a packet-looking loaf, baked on flat sheet. It looks so rustic when you take it out, just a deeply browned, partially charred, almost unfortunate-looking slab that looks like a pizza croissant when you cut into it. It was, in fact, our favorite. But I’d be remiss not to share the second way too, because I think this is the only part anyone will remember: the pizza babka. This was inspired by an updated scaccia from Saveur, in which it is folded into a loaf pan and then sliced like a loaf of the happiest, most show-stealing bread in the world.

pizza babka
pizza babka
pizza babka

Stromboli (Scaccia Ragusana-Style)

Can’t decide whether you want to make a stromboli or babka shape? Don’t and make both. There are 8 servings in each, and I’d expect hungry adults to want to eat 2.

About the flours: A persnickety thing here is this, and all scaccias, call for hard durum wheat flour, which is readily sold here as semolina flour. (It’s also used in pasta.) I find it easily from Bob’s Red Mill at any store that has a display or section, and use it for only a portion of the flour here; I suspect you’ll be just fine without it. But if you can get it, or have any interest in pasta making, it’s absolutely worth it because it gives the loaf a great crunchy edge and a sturdiness to hold up to the filings.

About the cheese: The traditional cheese for a scaccia is caciocavallo (the Saveur recipes suggest pecorino romano as a swap but you should not do this; 12 ounces yields a tongue-singeing saltiness). I sought some out, because I’m spoiled to not live far from Murray’s Cheese, and was delighted to find that it comes in a gourd shape and tastes, forgive me, it’s not an exact match, I know, like a slightly aged provolone, far more easily to find around here. For my pizza-like version here, I use a little bit of pecorino for salt and bite, a lot of provolone and a small amount of mozzarella for that recognizable stretch, but not so much that it will sog the layers.

About the sauce: This recipe will yield about 3 cups of sauce; you’ll probably only need 2. Put the rest in a jar and be so happy that you have really great homemade tomato sauce around for a week or so. It’s a great core recipe for sauce.

Picture note: The packet version you see in my photos is scaled back from the recipe you see here, because I was retesting and didn’t need a full one. The full one can be cut into 8 squares.

    Dough
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 165 ml) lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (115 grams) semolina flour
  • 1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil
  • Assembly
  • 2 ounces finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces coarsely grated provolone (aged is great if you can get it) or caciocavallo cheese
  • 2 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella (if buying in a ball, buy wrapped in plastic, not sitting in water)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 3 1/2 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni (optional)
  • A few slivered leaves of fresh basil (optional)

    Make the dough by hand: In a large bowl, combine flours and salt with your fingers or a whisk. Make a well in the center and pour in warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, until foamy, then add oil to liquid and mix together with your hands or spoon until a craggy ball forms. Knead it together, gathering any loose flour, into a ball, then transfer to a counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until a smooth, elastic ball has formed. Oil your now-empty bowl and return dough to it, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; it should double. (Mine was done on the early end — for once.)

    Make the dough in a stand mixer: Pour water, sugar, and yeast into the bottom of the mixer’s bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil to yeast mixture, then flours, then salt and use the machine’s dough hook to pull the mixture into a craggy ball. Knead on low for 5 minutes, scraping down as needed, until a smooth, elastic ball has formed. Briefly remove it from your mixer bowl, oil the bowl, and return the dough to it, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; it should double. (Mine was done on the early end — for once.)

    Meanwhile, and I mean right away so it has time to leisurely cool, make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a medium-sized pot over medium, then add garlic, cook until it barely picks up color, and add pepper flakes and oregano, stir again. Add canned tomatoes (be careful — it’s going to splash up) and salt and stir to combine. Add basil, bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce to a low simmer, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard basil. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature while dough rises.

    Mix cheeses together in a large bowl and refrigerate until needed.

    To make a stromboli/packet-like/scaccia shape: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll your dough into the thinnest rectangle that you can, pulling and stretching it as needed. You’re looking for 1/16-inch thickness; the longer sides should be parallel to you.

  • Spread tomato sauce over the whole rectangle in a thin, but not too thin, layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with about half the cheese, scatter with slices of pepperoni and slivers of basil, if using.
  • Fold the left and right sides of the dough over the filling to meet at the center. Spread the top with more sauce, seasonings, cheese, and toppings.
  • Fold the top and bottom in so they meet in the center; spread the top with more sauce, seasonings, and remaining cheese and toppings.
  • Fold top half over bottom half, take a deep breath, and lift this from the counter and onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Prick the top all over with a fork.
  • becoming a packet becoming a packet prick with a fork pizza streudel

    Bake the stromboli/packet/scaccia shape: For about 1 hour, until deeply browned all over and charred in some spots. Rotate the pan as needed for even coloring. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting into squares with a serrated knife, and serving.

    To make a pizza babka: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with a sling of parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll your dough into the thinnest rectangle that you can, pulling and stretching it as needed. You’re looking for 1/16-inch thickness; the longer sides should be parallel to you.

  • Spread tomato sauce over the middle three-fifths of the rectangle in a thin, but not too thin, layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with about 2/3 to 3/4 of the cheese, scatter with slices of pepperoni and slivers of basil, if using.
  • Fold the two plain sides of the dough over so their edges overlap in the middle of the rectangle by 2 inches. Spread the left two-thirds (I read this like five times when making it, it never made sense, just do it, I promise it does) of the dough with more sauce, seasonings, and the remaining cheese and toppings.
  • Fold the righthand, plain third, halfway over the sauce. Fold the lefthand side of the dough over the righthand, as if completing the tri-fold of a letter.
  • Fold the dough crosswise over itself and gently twist the ends of the rope together once.
  • Take a deep breath, and lift this from the counter and into the parchment-lined loaf pan.
  • Prick the top all over with a fork.
  • in center three-fifths another fold another fold another foldfolded to fit in loaf pizza babka

    Bake the pizza babka: For about 1 hour, until deeply browned all over and charred in some spots. Rotate the pan as needed for even coloring. Immediately invert the pie onto a rack, remove the loaf pan and parchment paper, and let the pie cool in this position for 10 minutes. Invert the pie right-side-up before slicing with a serrated knife to serve.

    Both shapes: Reheat fantastically. I wrap them in foil in a 350 degree oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. I’d expect them to freeze well too.

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158 comments on stromboli

  1. Deanna

    Yum! I’m going to try to adapt it to use my sourdough starter, since I’m pretty obsessed with it. Even if it fails, it’ll warm up my house!

  2. Maria Bishop-Carns

    I have been looking for a stromboli recipe and now that you have posted this I am inspired, whatever the name of these beautiful stuffed breads! Thank you, I’ll try to let you know how mine turned out!

  3. Morgan

    Such a gorgeous presentation!!

    So if my stand mixer is at my mom’s, and I’m feeling lazy, how do you feel this would turn out with jarred pizza sauce and that fresh pizza dough from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? Obviously not as amazing, but maybe still gets presentation points for a Super Bowl party?

    1. deb

      Yes, but if it’s quite wet, maybe drain it a little. For the pizza dough, might be too puffy. You really want to roll it paper-thin, and that’s hard with storebought doughs. I wonder if you let it warm up and overproof slightly if it might stretch further, though.

      1. Jenn

        You can err on the side of colder with no ill effect – perhaps just a bit longer of a rise time. It’s too hot of water that kills yeast.

  4. Amy

    For the stromboli/packet/scaccia shape, how do you fold the decorated dough over (three times!) without the cheese and pepperoni falling everywhere? Just close your eyes and go for it?

  5. RobynB

    I have had that Saveur recipe bookmarked forever! Every few months I look at it, try to decide what needs to be changed to make it actually work, and then forget about it again for a while. Thanks for doing the legwork for me, now I have no excuse not to make this.

  6. Marilyn

    I love Saveur’s recipe for scaccia and make it often. Sometimes I make it with eggplant and ricotta, as you suggest here, but my preference is for the simple tomato and cheese (I think it stands up to the semolina dough a bit better). I was not aware of the babka mod (!), which is something I will have to try the next time I make this.

  7. Russell Aminzade

    This reminds me very much of the “sea pies” described in Patrick O’Brien’s seafaring Aubrey/Maturin novels (you may be familiar with the Russell Crowe movie “Master and Commander,” based the books). O’Brien seemed to love food almost as much as he loved words and the history of British Navy, and the series even resulted in a cookbook “Lobscouse and Spotted Dog.” In the words of Captain Jack Aubrey: “Pies at sea are made on nautical lines, of course. They are quite unlike pies by land. First you lay down a stratum of pastry, then a layer of meat, then a layer of pastry, then another layer of meat, and so on, according to the number of decks required. “

    1. Yael

      Russell, I love the connection you make to the Aubrey Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brien. I read all 21 (is it?) in a row because they were so fantastic. I don’t recall the seapies, but was always in the mood for some melted cheese and coffee, or a good pudding after reading the books. I’ll have to check out the cookbook.

  8. Anne in Yardley

    with apologies for nit-picking, perhaps the cheese you refer to is “caciocavallo”? And a perfect recipe for Football Weekend.

  9. Megan

    This sounds fantastic for kids lunches too – although my littlies have issues with pepperoni – would this work if I scattered diced cooked bacon instead?

  10. breannetuttle

    This looks like such a fun cooking project! I want to go make it right now – darn work. Guess I’ll have to settle for this weekend.

  11. Sarah H

    This is perfect timing! I attempted a buffalo chicken stromboli last night with some leftover pizza dough and was unimpressed by the results, but also really wanted a better version of it because it had such potential! I think this will tick that box and exactly what this weekend will need :)

  12. Elisa

    I’ve been meaning to say this for weeks, but I love having you back on the blog. It always makes my day to have a new recipe here. Your first post after your book-tour hiatus came out on my birthday–the best present of the day!

    Plus, now I can daydream about pizza babka for my weekend projects…

    1. deb

      A longer bake next time, perhaps. I should have guessed there would be some variability — if yours is taller or wetter. What were your fillings? Is this the loaf-shaped one or the one baked on a sheet?

      1. I did the one on a sheet and used pepperoni in the fillings (along with the cheese and sauce). I’m thinking maybe I went to heavy on the sauce. I used nearly all three cups that were made. I also only had diced tomatoes so I ground them in a food processor first. Maybe that made them more liquidy??

          1. deb

            Going heavier on the sauce might have just meant you needed more baking time. It’s tricky to know. All the times I made this, I basically just let it bake until a moment longer would have tasted burnt on the outside, not just charred spots (i.e. there is quite a lot of color on all of mine) and that seemed to ensure they were also baked inside.

  13. JP

    I guess Pizza Loaf sounds rather anti-climatic. I think, rather than meat, I would be very happy with some thinly sliced olive. Will just have to try it and see. This looks so, so tasty. How can you stop at one slice?

  14. Debbie

    Oh Deb, my dough looks nothing like yours! I used the cup measurements (when I initially tried weighing out the flours it was drastically different than your weight to cup – 1/3 cup semolina was about 60g so I went with the cups instead). The dough is attempting to rise but is quite dense and definitely not elastic. Do I start over?

    1. deb

      The dough should be a bit stiffer than a regular pizza dough — did you knead it by hand? Also…. oof, you’re right! The semolina weight was wrong. I’m so sorry. It should be 112 to 115 grams. I will update the recipe now. :/

  15. Rosa V.

    Hello Deb, I make these at home a lot I am Sicilian from siracusa Pachnio and they’re very similar to what you made but I use vegetables like broccoli or rep beanies with the bit of salted Tomatoes a little bit oil garlic or I make the ones with the ricotta cheese sauteed onions and garlic.

  16. Charlotte in Toronto

    I’ve never had this and I’m totally intrigued by it. It looks delicious and wonderfully messy to make and eat. I’ll definitely be trying this. Thanks!

  17. Svetlana Nedovic

    Thank you! Yet one more of your recipes that I will have to try!
    Last night’s dinner consisted of three recipes from your blog: glazed chicken wings, oven fries and roasted broccoli.

    1. Gayle S.

      Similar words but different foods: strudel is a filled pastry, often sweet (such as apple or cherry) though there are savory versions such as this; streusel is a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, butter and sugar used to top fruit desserts.

  18. This is so funny! I posted a similar recipe and video yesterday. I would have posted it earlier but just couldn’t figure out what to call it! It’s a version of stuffed pizza (bread?) I picked up in Puglia, but didn’t make it into my books. In the end I just called it stuffed bread. Boring but delicious .

  19. Maryna

    Thanks! Dinner tonight! Um, Deb, did your copy editor go on hols? Not the smooth reading I’m used to from SK. That’s ok- everyone needs a break!

  20. Saurs

    My mouth started chomping air the moment I saw that first slice, in a sort of Brando-esque mid-slouch. Can a quartered loaf of American pizza bread look like Marlon Brando, effortless and desirable? I say it can, and I’m not even really keen on men, but I am keen on cheese and tomato when they look like this.

    Definitely not what I expected when I clicked to read about stromboli, which summons up something almost fussy by comparison.

    1. deb

      I am using a 9×5 but it’s not terribly important here because I think an 8×4 would work fine too. In fact, the non-babka one is smaller here; I used a smaller amount of dough when testing the time I took these photos.

  21. Saurs

    Also, you’ve sort of cured me of the desire for a twice-cooked (red) pizza sauce when you did your lazy pizza dough a few years ago. The simplicity of that little blender affair speaks deeply to me — plus it seems to diffuse rather than concentrate the disappointing metallic edge of tinned tomatoes — so I wonder if I could switch the one you’ve got here for the only slightly simpler garlic-, sugar-, and chili flake-kissed one? The one objection I can think of for doing so is that the one I prefer relies on the direct and dry heat of the oven to do a little bit of “ripening,” plus it’s enriched with the fat of the cheeses and olive oil glugged on top. What do you think, Deb? Would that end up sogging the thing up?

    Also, I will absolutely do this with a white sauce at some point. It’s a format just crying out for nutmeg and greens (ramps sound good, or kale cooked down until it’s melty in your mouth) and maybe a little fennel-forward sausage.

    1. Saurs

      Okay, so I did two (Deb’s as-is, and brilliant as expected) and a white sauce with corn toasted in cumin, fried shallots, and a coarse hazelnut & rosemary paste (a combination I enjoy on pizzas), both scaccia-style. Deb’s was better and mine was… goopy and indulgent in mostly an unpalatable way, something about the way the sauce interacts with the layers that make them feel soppier than they ought (I can’t even imagine the textural results of a babka), plus it needed a good dose of acid somewhere to cut the richness and, in addition, more heat. Next time I’ll try thinly sliced yukons, smothered greens with charred poblanos, and a restrained smattering of cheese, maybe something hard. But first I’ll do Deb’s again.

      The dough is wonderful and worth it. I’ve never worked with semolina in this fashion, and now I’m a convert. It does magical things here and accomplishes what similar pastries can’t, which is bread that’s just as good as what it’s stuffed with.

  22. I always wondered how on earth you can grate mozarella until I realised (ik took me years) that there is such a thing as hard mozarella. We only get the soft one (in water) around here, in the Netherlands (or at least I think, anyone ever found the hard one?). What could I use as a substitute? I guess I shouldn’t try drying a mozarella at home…

    1. Laura

      I read somewhere that you can firm up fresh mozzarella in the freezer in order to grate it. I’ve not tried it, so I’m not sure how long it would take in the freezer. 30 min? Worth a try!

    2. Peggy

      When we have lived places where we could only find fresh mozzarella I would always keep a bit in the freezer. I would drain it and then wrap it up in a bit of cling wrap and just keep it stored in the freezer.

    3. deb

      Just take it out of the water and set it on paper towels while you do other things. “Fresh” mozzarella can come in water or be packed in plastic (dry) here; I was using fresh. The water just, of course, makes a pizza more wet and nobody likes soggy pizza, so I always recommend (if/when you have a choice) the in-water stuff for fresh uses, like cold salads, and the dry-packed stuff for baking.

  23. Thérèse Guédon

    It looks delicious !
    Could you please mention cup measurements for the cheeses, in addition to ounces ?
    (I am vegetarian, so I would skip the pepperoni and add veggies or olives!)

    1. deb

      I find cup measurements for cheese exasperating, to be honest, because you will never find two cups of cheese the same weight — cold cheese stays fluffier, room temperature flattens, some grating shapes collapse more, etc. Plus, we buy cheese by weight in most places. That said, 1 cup coarsely grated provolone is anywhere from 3 to 4 ounces, so 6 ounces is 1 1/2 to 2 cups. 1 cup of pecorino/parmesan is anywhere from 3.5 to 5 ounces per cup; for 2 ounces you might use 1/2 cup or a little more.

  24. Buzz D

    this looks like another great meal from your kitchen! Will be making soon for sure–semolina is a great addition plus the fact that you give weights for the dough is a plus for sure…probably a good use for the sourdough starter too thanks

  25. Peggy

    Oh my goodness I could kiss you!!! See my grandma had this “pizza bread” she would make for special occasions when I came to visit which left some of my cousins grumbling because she never made it for them. But hey when you actually lived with them for part of your childhood you get to be close. So back to what I was saying…. when Grandma died I ended up with her recipe boxes but her recipe for the bread was missing. It would appear it was never written down! She was born to Sicilian parents after they arrived in the states and grew up in an Italian household eating the foods they grew up eating. And yes grandma adapted hers to include pepperoni and sometimes a think layer of ground beef or sausage (they were farmers and raised beef cattle) so this is truly amazing to me. So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  26. You may have answered this already, but does the loaf (babka style) rise after you shape it, or do you just pop it straight in the oven? I’m assuming there is quite a lot of weight in the cheese and rising might be a challenge.

    1. deb

      I put it right in the oven for two reasons: I was picture pizza, which I do not give a second rise to, and the Saveur version of the loaf bread doesn’t either.

  27. Pat LeFebvre

    I made this last night and it turned out to be delicious! I was unsure about the dough because it didn’t quite double in the hour and a half but it rolled out very easily. As usual, I can trust your recipes to work every time. Thanks!

    1. deb

      No way! It’s one of those seasons that we can’t stream over here, much to our frustration. Saveur also called it Lasagna Bread, but pizza felt more descriptive to me…

  28. Sharon

    Looks amazing – but I try to prep dinner while my kids are in school, then bake. Do you think this could be shaped, then rest in the fridge til it’s time to bake? Maybe come to room temp for 30 ish minutes? Or would that add too much rising time?

  29. Susanne

    This sounds pretty delicious. Read this while waiting at my 2-yo to fall asleep (It’s already bedtime here in Germany 😁). Then showed it to my partner as my idea for tomorrows dinner and his reaction “so we’ll be eating volcano?” 😂😂😂 … I will sub fresh yeast for the active dry yeast and will use some smoked mozzarella (the only aged mozzarella besides pre-shredded and mozzarella sticks I was able to source here) and some parmigiani reggiano (the cheaper sister of real parmesan) and maybe some aged cheddar.

  30. Janet

    My father’s family came from Ragusa, Sicily, where scaccia originated. Any woman worth her salt made a version but some made it better than others. I can give you a tip that I think will make this recipe even better. As soon as you take it out of the oven, wet a clean dish towel, squeeze out the excess water and drape it over the loaf. Leave it there until the towel is almost dry or when the loaf is cooled off. The crust should not be crisp at all. This method makes sure that the crust stays very supple. It makes a difference. Every scaccia or rolled calzone my family made used this technique.

    My Great-Aunt Frances’ scaccia was the Holy Grail that others could only attempt to duplicate. Ingredients were simple. A simple tomato sauce, usually made from tomatoes bottled at the end of summer, pecorino romano cheese (never, ever parmesan), and lots and lots of whole leaf fresh parsley, stems removed. The tomato sauce had some garlic but never onion. The secret to Aunt Frances’ success was in the handling of the dough. Using her pasta rolling pin, which was a 3 foot wooden dowel kept only for this purpose, she rolled the dough out from the center and kept at it until it covered the kitchen table. Believe me, I saw it myself. It was incredibly thin. Then, she began the folding process, spooning sauce as she went along, creating numerous layers until it formed a compact package that fit on a large baking sheet. I have never had anything like it before or since. It’s probably 50 years since I had a piece of it and I can still see it and taste it. I was too young to be interested in finding out how to make it and no one ever used a recipe so I have never attempted it myself. I found that recipe on Saveur a few years back and toyed with the idea of making it and seeing this, I may give it shot. My mother, whose family came from Bari, made a version that used the jelly roll method. It wasn’t scaccia, but it was absolutely delicious. I have made that myself many times and it is very good. And yes, we started adding sausage, pepperoni, different cheeses, etc. You really can’t go wrong with any of that.

  31. A

    I’ve loved every recipe I’ve ever made from smitten kitchen and have never had a problem with a recipe before, but I still think something is wrong with the ingredient quantities for the dough. I’ve attempted it four times and only once did it form a ball (but failed to rise after several hours) otherwise it all breaks apart in the mixer. It seems to be too dry. Deb, help!

  32. Laura in CA

    Anyone know if a wild yeast starter is the same thing as active dry yeast?

    I usually shy away from any recipe that includes dough, but this one seems like a fun project … and my friend is passing on a wild yeast starter to me and I need something to do with it…

  33. Marie W.

    I made a double batch of the sauce Wednesday to use half for pasta and it turned out great, but unfortunately I had the same problem with this dough that I had with the bread recipe from the new book, it never rose :(

    It came together fine after some extra kneading (~15 minutes, by hand) but after two and a half hours (the last bit spent in a bowl in another bowl above my oven’s vent) it’s still the same size as it was at the beginning. Is there a specific brand of yeast I should be using? I used red star active dry yeast, and I know it’s still good as my sister used it to make rolls yesterday. I’m a super newbie when it comes to breads. I live in Texas, would that make a difference to the amount of yeast I should be using? Sorry to blast all these questions, but I’d love to make this successfully!

  34. Jennifer

    Just made this for dinner — it was fantastic!
    All the yumminess of pizza, but with time to clean up the kitchen before dinner. I may break down and buy semolina flour solely for making this next time.
    Thanks!

  35. Sara

    This turned out fantastic! Modifications: I doubled the dough because we couldn’t decide which shape to try first. I always use instant yeast so subbed that (equal amounts in this case) and skipped the proofing step and just added it with the dry ingredients. Dough is definitely on the dry/stiff side and doesn’t rise much, but I think that benefits the end results. Easily baked the full hour and wasn’t in danger of getting too dark, so don’t be afraid to let it go longer to ensure the inside is done, I also used my own canned sauce I had on hand, it’s a roasted purée so I thought it wouldn’t be too wet and it worked fine.

    Will definitely make again and with different fillings. I liked the pepperoni flavor but it was kind of oily, we also did crumbled browned Italian sausage. I love the idea of eggplant or drier vegetable pesto, and maybe ricotta. There’s just so much flavor packed into the layers!

  36. Megan Jones

    Deb, this looks incredible. I’ve been thinking about it since I first saw it and I finally made it today. Like some other commenters, my middle layers didn’t cool all the way through. I did the Stromboli shape (and was so pleased when it actually came together !!!). My sauce was really wet though. I think that might have been the problem.
    Either way, this is a recipe I will come back to and try to perfect. Thanks for such a great and delicious idea!

  37. Claudia Z

    I’m new to dough making and couldn’t get my dough to rise despite following the recipe very closely – I made sure the water was the right temp and let the yeast sit/bubble for 10 minutes. I just bought the yeast today, but could it simply be the yeast was no good? I know there are a lot of factors that can come into play here, but are there any other big ones I should be aware of? I can’t wait to get this right!

    1. Holly

      My dough didn’t rise much and the yeast didn’t get foamy in the 10 min at the beginning but the dough rose beautifully in the oven. Yeast doughs just take a bit of practice, don’t make the water too hot, don’t add the salt too soon and try again if it doesn’t go right.

  38. Maryna

    We made this tonight and apart from eating very late (due to not properly reading the rising and cooking times) it was a success. Looked like the photos! I used all plain flour as that’s what we had and added a bit more (double) yeast. Also put some thinly sliced courgettes and mushrooms that were dry pan fried inside as we are vegetarians. Thanks for sharing- will definitely make this for guests but with better planning. 💙

  39. Aileen

    How important is the semolina flour in the dough here? I don’t have any on hand but have plenty of AP.

    Also the idea of pizza babka blows my mind. Can’t wait to make it!

  40. Holly

    We made the pizza babka version tonight and served it with the winter farro slaw from book 2. It was very good and not too much work for a Saturday dinner. I added pizza pepperoni but next time I think I will add some salami instead and cut it up a bit. Used fire roasted tomatoes which added a nice flavour and I have a sauce for some pasta another night already prepped. I also sprinkled a little cheese on top of the loaf and that made a night cheesy crust. We liked this and will make it again.

  41. Anne

    Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious!!! I added some ham and very thinly sliced onion. My dough was a little dry and wouldn’t ball up in my mixer, so I had to add a little water and kneaded it by hand to get the proper texture. I don’t think my dough doubled in 2 hours, but it baked perfectly, had a great tooth, and I will definitely make this again!!

  42. Katelyn

    This came together in eerily perfect timing with my baby’s naps this afternoon. I went with the packet version. I’m not sure the middle layers cooked completely through, BUT I’m also not sure they didn’t. It’s delicious! And fun to assemble!

  43. Joan N

    I made this yesterday and it was easy and delicious. I made two packets rather than one large one and put one cooked one in the freezer for another time. I rolled each half of the dough out to about 10x 16 inches. Each rolled easily to the needed size after I let it rest for 2-3 minutes after I first rolled it. I noticed other people felt it was not cooked enough after the one hour. To me, it had more of a pasta- like texture rather than raw.
    Excellent and easy. Thanks, Deb for another winner!

  44. Sharon

    I made the babka version – yum! My only suggestion/request is to please go over how to fold the dough and where to put the sauce. Maybe a diagram? I found it confusing, and I’m pretty sure I did it wrong….but it was delicious and there were no leftovers, so…

  45. Jennifer

    Made two last night to great acclaim! Do you have rough measurements on the rectangle before the folding and twisting starts? My dough was rolled thin enough, but not as long/wide as the ones pictured above. Thank you!

    1. Lisa in NJ

      I rolled my dough out on an 18″x24″ non-stick pastry rolling mat and it ended up pretty much exactly that size. Hope that helps!

      1. Jennifer

        Thank you both! I just realized that I only let the dough rise for an hour, which probably accounts for the size. Delicious anyway!

  46. Lisa in NJ

    We really enjoyed this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday, especially with sauce reserved on the side for dipping, since this is a little bread-ier than some standard stromboli. Like a few other commenters, my dough did NOT rise to be nearly as fluffy as in the photo above, but it ended up coming out beautifully in the baking. Will absolutely be making it again! Thank you!

  47. Louise

    made this last night. my goodness it is painfully delicious, especially the charred cheese on the sides.

    One word of warning: my dough needed at least an extra hour or so past 2 hours for the rise, even in a nice warm spot with a pitcher of hot water to boost it and an extra quarter teaspoon of insurance yeast. I also used an extra tablespoon of water or so to make the dough come together in the mixer.

  48. Bonnie

    We made this for Super Bowl and it looked like a nightmare,it spread and ran out of the layers, but tasted delicious. I opted for Rao’s jarred sauce, and I see now that you said ‘drain’ store bought. I think that was my mistake, it seemed too ‘wet’. Will make this again and again, it was so good! I skipped the pepperoni because of my vegetarian daughters, but didn’t miss it at all.

  49. I have my dough rising as I write! I can’t wait to make this (packet version) tonight for dinner with a salad! I will let you know how it turns out. Having said that I have never had a Smitten Kitchen recipe turn out bad.

  50. Marci

    Will be making this tomorrow (.2/6/18). I make calzones and pizza from scratch so I am not intimidated by making the dough. This recipe says all-purpose or bread flour.
    What do you really recommend? All of one, a combo…?????

      1. Marci

        Thanks! Your reply came a bit late…I used 50% bread flour and 50% all-purpose flour along with the semolina. It rose beautifully and rolled out effortlessly. It’s in the oven now and it looks like yours!! and smells amazing. The tomato sauce is gorgeous! Only 30 more minutes or so to taste, which I know will be an extremely pleasing dinner for all!

  51. I’m dying to make this, and I’ve tried twice now — but the dough just won’t rise. What am I doing wrong? I followed the instructions meticulously. Do I need to let the yeast sit in with the water and sugar longer than 10 minutes, maybe? I used Red Star dry active yeast that isn’t expired. Maybe there’s a trick that I don’t know?
    (Clearly, I am not a baker.)

    1. Marci

      I thought 1/4 tsp of yeast seemed sparse, so I used 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. Make sure your water temp is 110-115 degrees F. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 for the yeast to become alive. I did the first part of this recipe, sugar, yeast and water in a measuring cup. Once foamy, I poured it into the mixing bowl then continued with the recipe. Came out gret.
      I agree with another responder. This recipe does not feed 8 unless it’s for an appetizer. I would say it serves 4 nicely as the main meal.

      1. It looked only a little bit foamy. My kitchen is probably cold, as I live near Chicago and it’s freeeezing over here. So, I set the bowl on the heat register to rise, and that didn’t seem to help.
        But I must say that I went ahead and baked it anyway tonight, and it was pretty delicious! Maybe it was a bit more cracker-like that intended, but we loved it anyway.
        Thank you, Deb!

  52. Rebecca

    Hi Deb! I rolled my dough out directly on a sheet of parchment, without flouring it at all. “Not” flouring it helped the dough stay put and adhere without shrinking back. I needed my husband to hold the parchment still for me so I could roll without it moving around. Maybe duct tape next time? I was thrilled to discover that my parchment didn’t present any sticking issues with folding. I folded the dough-lined parchment over to the center and then gently peeled the parchment back. Since it was already on the parchment it was going to bake on, it was easy to lift the whole thing onto the baking sheet. Maybe some brands will be different- I had luck using the “If You Care” brand. Thanks for another fantastic dinner!

  53. FYI – It would be so much less confusing for the stromboli part if each step of the folding corresponded with a photo like the babka one.
    Can’t wait to make this tonight – I’m sure I’ll figure it out as I do it.
    Thanks
    (I’ve made a huge percentage of the recipes on this site – you know what I like!)

  54. Sarah

    I made this last night and it was so delicious. My dough wasn’t rising after an hour so I put it in my warming drawer of my oven. I have my own recipe for sauce (very similar) and had some in the fridge so I used that which made this a little less daunting. The dough rolled out beautifully and crisped up so nicely. I might like to try baking it on my baking stone. I had asked about this earlier – any thoughts to using the baking stone?

    Thanks for this recipe and many others.

    1. Marci

      I made the pocket version on a parchment lined baking sheet. Thought of using the baking stone; glad I didn’t. The “Stromboli” puffed and some sauce and cheese oozed out. Would be pretty messy on the stone. Just sayin’.

  55. Megan

    This was good! And really fun to make–if you’re on the fence, get off it and make this! I made the packet version, and unlike others, thought it could have used a little less time in the oven. I did throw it in the fridge for about 90 minutes before I baked it, and it overproofed but remained delicious. I didn’t love the sauce, maybe the brand of tomatoes I used. The cheese blend is fantastic! Three of us ate almost the whole thing with soup.

  56. Chris

    This just didn’t ring my bell. It was a lot of work for a bland result. I used 1/2 t. yeast as suggested by a reviewer and think it was necessary. The folding instructions were confusing. It said to have the long side parallel to you, but the photo showed it perpendicular. On the whole, I used a lot of expensive cheese for naught. The tomato sauce was good, though.

  57. Michelle Siu

    Thanks for the delicious recipe and pictures on how to assemble. It was easy — I cheated with a jar of Newman’s Own marinara (it was thick, not runny). I did the packet shape which I thought was a bit messy so I’ll try the babka shape next time. As other readers commented, the dough is on the dry side but I didn’t add extra water. It is winter in Chicago so the dough took twice the amount of time to rise even though I placed it on the radiator after not seeing any rise after the first hour. I will also experiment with other ingredients/”toppings”. I do think that this is they type of recipe you need to make first and figure it out before deciding to make it for, say, company.

  58. pasta-based

    Stromboli has always been an interesting term for me. In New York, we always just called them rolls – chicken roll, sausage roll, etc… slightly different, no flaky layers, mozzarella cheese and meat rolled in a calzone-like style. I only started calling it a stromboli when I moved out of state because noone seemed to know what I meant by it. Even then, I can’t find a pizzeria that makes them.

  59. Emma

    I hesitate to ask since I know how thoroughly you test and how much you like to streamline recipes, but I’m curious – could one theoretically just roll the dough out on a larger sheet of lightly floured parchment and then trim it down to fit your pan/sling into a loaf pan?

    Also, in the new website update, can we add emojis to the comments? The one where the little face is stroking his chin and pondering would be perfect here :P

    1. deb

      I’ll see what we can do about emojis. ;)

      I’m not totally following why we’d want to trim the dough down to a parchment sling but also have a head cold and might be missing a very obvious thing. (Also often when I don’t have a head cold.)

      1. Emma

        Boo head cold. I meant to trim down the parchment to fit the baking sheet, after rolling it out/filling/folding it on the parchment, instead of on the counter :)

        1. Emma

          wound up just transferring it, easy enough! and i even was rolling it wider than my parchment is, so good thing i didn’t try it that way or my size would have been limited. such a great elasticity in that dough! i got it way thinner than i thought i’d be able to. thank you!

  60. Kara

    So I made this last week and loved it so much that I made it again last night but did a double batch this time. The dough was much fluffier/more bread-like on the inside layers. It was still delicious, but I preferred the texture on the original. I doubled the yeast and am wondering if I should not have?

  61. Jeremy Holbrook

    Is the 1/4 tea of active yeast correct? Seems like not enough compared to other doughs I’ve made. Mine came together nicely, but didn’t rise in the least.
    Jeremy

    1. Rebecca

      I used 1/4 tsp instant yeast (that’s what I have). Mine didn’t rise much at all- I’ve made it twice. But no problems with rolling out or end result.

      1. Pippa

        I would reckon that’s a little short. It’s 300g flour, and normally for 500g you’d use 7g or just over a tsp full. So I’d say 1/2 tsp of yeast would be more like it.

  62. Pippa

    I am going to make this now for my family’s dinner – they will love it! I will try doubling the yeast, seeing that a lot of people are finding it slow to rise.
    I have a question though about provolone. We can’t really get this cheese here in the UK. I’ll try substituting cheddar, as that’s what I have in the fridge, but does anyone know of any other easily-available UK cheese that is a closer substitute? My memories of provolone are that it’s pretty hard.
    Thanks!