These crisp-chewy baked sandwiches are definitely more time-consuming when you make the dough from scratch, but you don’t have to do so. Feel free to substitute two prepared fresh pizza dough balls (about 1 pound each), available at supermarkets, as well as at some pizza shops and bakeries. Start with dividing the dough into four pieces and take it from there.
Using 3-inch-wide pepperoni slices for the filling is recommended here, for more coverage and easier folding; smaller slices tend to fall out.
Make Ahead: The biga (starter) needs to rest for 2 hours, and then be refrigerated overnight. The dough needs to rise twice, for a total of 2 hours. Leftover baked strombolis can be wrapped well in plastic and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
FOR THE BIGA
2/3 cup bread flour
1/2 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon instant dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
FOR THE DOUGH
2 1/3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil, for your hands and the bowl
FOR THE FILLING
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni (3 inches in diameter; do not use small pepperoni)
8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
For the biga: Combine the bread flour, water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl, stirring to form a shaggy mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Refrigerate overnight.
For the dough: Scrape the biga into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. Add the bread flour, warm water and yeast; knead on low speed for 2 minutes, until no dry flour patches are showing. Increase the speed to high; let the machine knead the dough for 5 minutes, until the dough looks smooth and satiny, and it forms a ball that climbs up the hook. Stop to add the salt; knead on high speed for an additional minute.
Oil the inside of a large mixing bowl as well as your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; let the dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, form them into balls and arrange on the work surface. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the filling: Combine the oil, chopped garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
To assemble the strombolis, generously re-flour your countertop and your rolling pin. Roll the first dough ball into a rectangle about 9 inches by 12 inches, with the short side closest to you. Spoon one-quarter of the seasoned oil over the dough and spread it evenly, leaving a half-inch border around the edge.
Top with one-quarter of the pepperoni slices and one-quarter of the mozzarella slices, each in a single layer. Fold the stromboli in thirds, like a letter, tucking in the side edges as you roll. Tuck the remaining long edge under the stromboli. Place seam side down on the baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining three dough balls, leaving an inch of space between your strombolis on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the strombolis with (plain) olive oil. Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet from front to back after the first 15 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
From food writer and cookbook author Joy Manning.
Tested by Andy Sikkenga; email questions to email@example.com.
Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.
The nutritional analysis is based on 8 servings.
Calories: 410; Total Fat: 23 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 1020 mg; Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 1 g; Protein: 16 g.