This meatless, dairy-free version is yet another way to enjoy an Italian American treat. As with the Classic Strombolis recipe, feel free to substitute about 2 pounds of a different homemade or store-bought pizza dough.
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 as needed
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
2 medium eggplants, thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 34 slices)
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 cups Tofu Ricotta (see related recipe; may substitute 16 slices mild vegan cheese, such as Chao Slices Creamy Original)
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.
For the filling: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheets, and brush with 6 tablespoons of the oil.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper and the paprika in a small bowl. Season the eggplant slices evenly with this mixture. Roast two sheets at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until the eggplant is tender and browning in spots. Repeat to roast the third sheet (on the upper rack). Let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, the minced garlic and oregano in a small bowl.
Line a baking sheet with fresh parchment paper. Generously re-flour your countertop, and your rolling pin.
Roll the first dough ball into a rough 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 evenly, leaving a half-inch border around the edge.
Top with 1/3 cup of Tofu Ricotta and one-quarter of the roasted eggplant slices. 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 a 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 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.
The nutritional analysis is based on 8 servings.
Calories: 420; Total Fat: 26 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 740 mg; Carbohydrates: 42 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 9 g.