Calzone originated in Italy with the idea of eating the thing while walking. I remember when I ate my first. I had my first bite in Philadelphia. It was a novelty for me as it was not available in India at that time. Domino’s introduced Calzone in India later, somewhere at the end of 2013. I was awed by the delicious cheesy thing I had, which tasted just like pizza. When it finally debuted in India I was on cloud nine. It is not only cost-efficient, but it also could be shared among friends. As my baking skills enhanced, I wanted to try baking calzone as well. Bread has been a hit and miss for me. I am not sure if I need to invest in better yeast or bread is my Moby dick. Nevertheless, the tenacious I was not willing to give up.
I dissolved yeast in a mix of warm water and sugar. I waited for the yeast to become active and start foaming. Nothing happened. I added more yeast and still nothing. In the meantime, the mixture of yeast, water, and sugar had cooled off. Exasperated, I heated some more water and added it to the yeast mixture. No change was noticeable. I added more yeast and waited. Finally, the yeast started acting. As the yeast mixture started to foam, I heaved a sigh of relief.
I measured two cups of whole wheat flour (instead of the usual All-purpose flour in my attempt to make the calzone healthier) and put them in a big bowl. I added two tablespoons of Olive oil and a pinch of salt to the mixture. I dug a well in the flour with my fingers and poured the yeast in it. I started kneading the wheat flour with my hands. Since I had done hit and trial with the yeast, there was already too much liquid. As a result, I did not have to add more water to the flour. I kneaded the flour to form a sticky dough and covered it with cling wrap and left it to rise for two hours.
While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I chopped and roasted onion, garlic, bell peppers, and mushrooms and also steamed corn kernels. I grated processed cheese for the stuffing. I had low expectations from the dough due to my fickle yeast. My excitement rose as I peaked in the bowl that contained the calzone dough. The calzone dough had doubled in size. I instantly split the calzone dough into six balls. I rolled the dough with my hands as I dared not to use a rolling pin, alas it would lose the air pockets and refuse to rise again.
I applied the leftover pizza topping on the rolled dough and spread a generous amount of stuffing on half side of the rolled dough. I used the uncovered side to cover the stuffed side. I safely stored the six calzone pockets and left them for an hour to proof again. Since the first proofing of calzone dough was successful, I was confident that this proofing would be a piece of cake.
Unfortunately, I was mistaken. When I removed the calzone pockets, the dough hadn’t risen at all. However, the fragrance from the calzone dough suggested otherwise. I put the two calzones in the oven and left them to bake. After 35 minutes give or take, I took the calzone out of the oven. Their crust had hardened and had become crispy. When I took the first bite, I was too disappointed to react. Even though the stuffing was delicious, this thing tasted nothing like a calzone. The taste made me think that I was eating a baked parantha. I was able to finish off the calzone only because I had used whole wheat flour. If I had used all-purpose flour, this would have been inedible.
Although I did discover a way of making baked paranthas, I would still say that this was a failed attempt. I prefer my paranthas made on Tawa (flat pan) with an ample amount of desi ghee.
As the wise Kriti says, “Baking a parantha is a cruel jape towards humanity.”