Monday, July 30, 2012

pizza rolls with cherry tomato sauce

yeast bread may sound intimidating, but i encourage you to try it! summer is a great season, with hot and humid weather working in your favor. so break out the yeast, take a few hours at home and give this pizza roll recipe a try. this one is a good start because it only requires one rise, and you will just roll it out in one big piece. (not ready for yeast dough? just substitute your favorite store-bought pizza dough for the homemade version i make here)

when starting out with yeast dough recipes, i recommend using active dry yeast. this type of yeast has been dried out to increase its shelf life. you then need to reactivate, or "proof", this yeast to wake it up from its dry, dormant state. a successful proof lets you know that your yeast is alive and ready to work to leaven your dough [and that you did not kill it by using too hot water]. proof 2 packets of yeast [or 4.5 tsp yeast] with 1 cup warm water and a big pinch of sugar on top. the water should technically be between 105 and 110 degrees F, if you are inclined to measure it. thermometer or not, stick your hand in the water to get a feel for the temperature. it should be warm to hot, but not so much that you cannot keep your finger in the stream of water.

while your yeast is proofing, measure out your flour by sprinkling it into the measuring cup with a spoon and leveling of the top with a straight edge. or if you own a kitchen scale you can consult the ingredient weight chart over at King Arthur Flour. out of curiosity, i sprinkled, then weighed my flour. my sprinkled and leveled cup for the whole wheat flour clocked in a little under the recommended amount, while my sprinkled and leveled cup of bread flour was a little over. in the end i suppose it all evens out.

if you don't have a kitchen scale, don't fret. yeast dough depends on environmental factors and the water to flour ratio may be affected by moisture in the air. when in doubt, for a whole wheat and soft bread dough i always make the dough on the sticky side. whole wheat flour absorbs more water than regular AP flour, so it is easy for dough to become dense, and thus not get a good rise. as the dough rises, the gluten will develop and the water will distribute more evenly. so while it may still be sticky at first, it will be more manageable to handle after it rises and you will be rewarded with a softer bread.

once your yeast looks nice and frothy [after about 10 min], add it to your flour and salt mixture. if you are using an electric mixer, combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment by pulsing, until it starts to come together. at this point adjust the water [or flour] to get a soft, but not too sticky dough. My dough was moist, but not sticky enough that if I touch it with my finger, the dough sticks to it easily.
then it is time to knead the dough. about 5 minutes in an electric mixer (switch over to the dough hook now) should do it, or about 10 minutes of kneading by hand. work the dough until it becomes somewhat smooth, but still sticks slightly to the bottom of the bowl.

i like to use a transparent, tall, and straight-sided container to watch my dough rise. [here i just used a plastic pitcher] mark with scotch tape where your dough ends, and you can easily tell when it has doubled. an over-risen dough may puff up in the oven, then crash and become dense. go by how much your dough rises, rather than being a stickler about the time.

while your dough rises, take the time to prepare your cherry tomato "sauce".

cut your tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on how large they are. combine these with a large clove of garlic, minced and then smashed with 1/2 tsp salt. add in the zest from one lemon, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese.

your "sauce" mixture should look something like this:

meanwhile, your dough by now may look something like this:

you can see my tape mark if you look closely. it was a hot day and my dough rose a little faster than i expected. so it more than doubled. c'est la vie. scrape it out of the container onto a floured surface and mound it into one piece.

roll out your dough into a rectangle, roughly 14" x 22". leave the dough thicker in the center and thinner on the lengthwise ends. you will be folding the dough over so this will help to keep your rolls even. lay on 4 oz prosciutto, 1 cup fresh, ripped basil leaves, and your tomato sauce mixture.

fold the bottom third over the filling, then the top third over that. pinch the seam to seal the dough, and you are ready to cut your rolls. disclaimer: this is a tad bit messy. just use your sharpest knife, and don't worry about making perfect rolls. they will have character in a 'rustic' sort of way. mark and cut to make 10 slices, and one by one transfer the rolls to a parchment covered baking sheet.

i overlapped my rolls slightly so they fit on the pan, but if you prefer you can leave space between them and bake them on two sheets. if you lost any tomatoes in the transfer process, be sure to pile them back on top of the rolls.

bake the rolls for 25-35 minutes at 425 degrees f.

try to have patience and let them cool slightly before digging in. they are most delicious warm, and you can easily reheat them in the oven or toaster oven later.

based on: Better Homes and Gardens magazine

pizza rolls with cherry tomato sauce


for the dough:
2 cups warm water
4.5 teaspoons [or 2 packets] active dry yeast
1 pinch of sugar
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt

for the sauce:
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground pepper

4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1 cup fresh basil leaves


1. proof your yeast by combining it in a bowl with 1 cup warm water, and a pinch of sugar. let it sit for 10 minutes before adding remaining 1 cup of warm water.

2. combine flours and salt in a mixing bowl, then add proofed yeast and mix until starting to combine. if the dough appears too dry to come together, add a few extra tbsp warm water.

3. once dough is combined thoroughly [either with paddle attachment on mixer or a spoon], knead the dough [with the dough hook attachment, or your hands] until the dough is smooth.
4. place dough in a lightly greased container and cover with a kitchen towel or saran wrap. let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.

5. while dough is rising, use the side of a chef's knife to smash the minced garlic with the salt to make a paste. combine this past with the remaining sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly.

6. once dough is risen, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. scrape out dough onto a well floured surface. roll out dough to roughly a 22" x 14" rectangle. lay out prosciutto across the middle of the rectangle lengthwise, and scatter the basil leaves, ripping them as you go. spoon the tomato sauce along the center over the prosciutto. fold the bottom third, then top third over the sauce and pinch the seam to close. 

7. slice into 10 pieces, moving them one by one onto a parchment lined baking sheet. place the rolls right next to one another. bake rolls for 25-35 minutes, until the dough is lightly golden brown and the crust sounds hollow when tapped. let cool slightly and serve warm.


  1. Great photography! Looks like a delicious way to use great tasting, heirloom tomatoes that are available now! Nice tip to use a tall pitcher to check on the rising dough....too bad mine is solid color purple!