Calzone for Lunch!


These days it is a struggle to find something my boys want to bring for school lunch. It has to be easy to eat in the 15 minutes they are given, taste good, not produce a huge mess and make them the envy of their peers! Well, I served a calzone (page 142) for dinner one night and my son announced that this was the perfect food for his lunches. The beauty of it is how versatile it can be. I basically fill it with whatever I have in the refrigerator (once it has been approved by the 3rd grader!) Because it is all wrapped up in the pizza dough I can get away with stuffing it full of things that a sandwich just won’t tolerate. Such as spinach, fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese and homemade meatballs.


After you select your fillings, roll out a piece of dough from your bucket into a thin circle. I’ve used everything from the Master recipe (page 26) and peasant dough (page 46) to the spinach feta (page 110) to make this recipe. Place the dough on a cornmeal covered peel or a piece of parchment paper. The amount of dough will depend on how large a calzone you want. Place the fillings on one side of the dough. Paint the edge with egg wash and fold the dough over onto itself.


Lightly crimp the edge to seal.


Cut slashes in the top to allow some of the steam to escape while baking.


Bake the calzone as directed on page 142.


My kids like it hot from the oven dipped in pasta sauce at home, or just at room temperature for their school lunch!


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77 thoughts on “Calzone for Lunch!

  1. Perfect timing! I had a mess of dough and no energy for cooking. Made calzone (pepperoni and mozerella) for supper and several extras for school lunches. they were a big hit even cold the next day.


  2. Hello,
    I am “hooked” on your book. Please advise me about adding seeds, etc. to make a 5-grain-type bread. When do I add the seeds? Should they be stirred in when mixing the dough, or added at baking time? If added at baking time, what technique should be used? Thankyou for your advice,

  3. Sheri: Thanks for the San Jose Mercury News, it’s on our “Reviews” page now.

    Jill: Add the seeds to the water, salt and yeast mixture in step one. They don’t change baking time at all. Jeff

  4. Hi,
    I’ve been doing the calzones for lunch whenever we go somewhere and need lunch. BBqed tofu was good. Long cooked broccoli ( a la nancy silverton) with goats cheese was spectacular, but somehow leaked in the oven (but no visible leak) and created tons of smoke. . .
    I am finding that you can adapt other people’s recipes to use your doughs – such as’s oven fried dough. . . if you roll the brioche dough out thin, let it rise, brush it with butter and heavily sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and bake it – well you can imagine that’s not a bad thing.

  5. Teresa: Goat cheese gets very, very liquidy when hot and I could imagine it finding the tiniest gap to ooze out of. But I bet it was delicious.

    The fried dough sounds great too. I’ve been thinking about a sopapilla adaptation, those New Mexico fried sweet doughs. Jeff

  6. Greetings! I just wanted to drop a note and say thank you for such a wonderful new way to make bread fresh! I found your master recipe on the web a couple weeks ago, and I’m on my second batch now. I ordered your book on Monday (payday), so it should be here soon, and I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes (brioche and pizza doughs especially). So far with the master recipe I’ve done breadsticks, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls (overcooked…I think the book will help with that), a baguette, and tonight I’m making a homemade pizza. I really think these calzones will be next on the list. Yummy! Fry bread sounds wonderful too…

    Anyways, all that just to say thanks. Bread used to go to waste in our house since there’s just the two of us, and we couldn’t eat an entire bag of rolls or loaf of bread in one week. Now I just make what we need for that night, and the dough is just “ready” all the time in the fridge. Plus we’re not ingesting all those preservatives and such anymore. This is really perfect for us…so thank you both. 🙂

  7. Thanks Jamie! Once you have the book you’ll see that some of the newspaper adaptations miss out on some of the detail you need to get great results. If you have trouble, find us here…

    One big advantage is that you can make just what you need, as you’ve found. Jeff

  8. I tried the NY Times recipe and having grown up in San Francisco loved the long rise which produced a more sour taste. The overly soft dough was a little freaky and hard to work with. What is the best way to use your method and get the sour results? I also liked using the Cast Iron dutch oven. Help please.

  9. Rosemary: best way to get sour character in your bread is to fully age your dough (you’ll notice more sour character toward the end of the 14-day storage period in our basic white dough. Another great and (easier) way is to avoid washing your storage container and in fact, reserving about a cup or two of the old dough to mix in with your new batch. This gives the new batch a head start on sour flavors.

    Like you, we’ve had great results with the pre-heated cast iron pan (though that has nothing to do with sour character of course). Jeff

  10. I LOVE THIS BREAD!! Since I bought the book about a month ago, there has not been a day without homemade bread in my house. I made the buttermilk bread recipe with light sour cream- and a touch extra water- because I didn’t have buttermilk. Amazing. A loaf filled with cinnamon, cranberries and walnuts is rising as I type. Also, the master recipe makes great crusty rolls for dinner.I will try the calzones next. Thanks for a great book.

  11. Your welcome, Pam! We’re having a great time with it, mostly because people have been so generous with feedback. Jeff

  12. Just wanted to post a quick note that my oven doesn’t go to 550 degrees, as suggested for pizza somewhere around this site. For anyone else with that problem, it works just fine at 500 as well, just takes a few minutes longer. We had great pizza last Friday night…

    I think the book is waiting at home for me today finally! 🙂

  13. Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for the observation. It can also be gentler on your toppings to bake at a slightly lower temperature. The only difference is crisping up that bottom crust. I like to bake my pizzas with the stone on the very bottom rack!

    Thanks, Zoë

  14. We had pizza again last night with the olive oil dough that was over a week old. It had a nice sourdough taste. The bottom crust was wonderful, but there was a slightly “doughy” part between the filling and bottom crust. My husband likes more sauce. Can you par bake the pizza (sans sauce and toppings) and then put the toppings on? Has anyone tried that? Thanks so much.

  15. Hi Rosemary,

    Yes, you can parbake the pizza crust. Make sure you dock it really well with a fork before putting it in the oven or it will puff up like a pita bread. Just bake it for about 5-8 minutes (depending on how thick) and then put your toppings on.

    Let me know how it comes out!


  16. Zoe and Jeff, I would love if you would do an instructional post for making the pretzel recipe. I am trying it today but am having difficulty shaping them. It would be nice to see how it’s supposed to be done!

  17. Wynk: I have to admit, our instruction “tie a knot, then loop the ends around and join back to the loop” doesn’t quite do it without a picture. It may be a little while before we get around to a posting with photographs. But for the time being, take a look at the pretzel entry under Wikipedia (, which has a great picture (right-hand side–“German brotzel”) that shows exactly what you need to do. Let me know if that works. Jeff

  18. my main struggle was with the rolling part. I’d roll and roll and roll and as soon as I stopped, it would shrink right back up. The result is that once I got it shaped, it would shrink back up so much that there would be no space between it and as a result, it came out looking like a knotted roll rather than a pretzel.

  19. Earlier this week I turned some of the brioche dough into a yeasted coffee cake which I had filled with apple filling. I was making a ham and cheese strata last night for brunch this morning, and had started to run out of old bread. My husband (who doesn’t bake a thing) asked how come I wasn’t using the left over coffee cake. So, I cut some and used it in the strata. The strata was a hit!
    I also made a batch of brioche
    yesterday which I shaped into
    cinnamon rolls and left in the cold last night. I baked them this morning prior to church, and then briefly reheated this
    am when we got home. I also frosted them with an icing made from powdered sugar and orange juice. My brother in law liked them so much he said I should sell them. Brunch for
    the family was a great success
    with little effort thanks to your book!

  20. Wync: When dough seems to have a mind of its own, we need to give it time to relax. The immediately-stretched gluten is pretty strong and behaves like a rubber band. So, form your long rope of dough at the thickness you want. If you can’t get get it thin enough, cover it loosely with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and come back in 10 minutes. You’ll find that the dough can be stretched thinner without behaving like a rubber band.

    You could also make the pretzels bigger, which would increase the size of the gaps between ropes/knots etc. Then it wouldn’t grow into itself.

    Laura: Thanks for all the kind words, it’s great you’ve had so much success with the book. I’ll definitely have to try your enriched version of a strata. Jeff

  21. Magnifiques! I would be happy to eat one of those calzone right now, hot OR cold!
    I mentionned your book on ma blog Makanai, in French. I translated, grossly, the ingredients of your Pain d’Epi (which is called in France Pain Epi)and the big lines of your process. Is that OK with you?
    Many people seem to be interested in your method. If you wish to publish it in France, don’t hesitate to ask me to translate it for you, it would be a pleasure.

  22. Florence: We’re thrilled to have our Epi exposed in France, merci boucoup! I enjoyed your post at, though my French is so poor that all I can say is that your readers are putting Roquefort and goat cheeses on this (or they’d like to!) The book is available at (; depending on our success overall, our publisher might someday authorize a translation. We can only hope! If it happens, you’ll hear about it here. Jeff

  23. Thanks Jeff for your answer. If you ever want to use my blog Makanai to give informations about your book and methods in France (not a large audience, but one that is passionate about bread making), don’t hesitate, I would be honored to publish your words.

  24. Hi Zoe and Jeff! I’ve been making bread like crazy since I bought your book. The cinnamon rolls made with brioche have been our favorite! The other night we had friends over for pizza and margaritas. I made a version of favorite pizza from a local pizzeria–bacon, onion, tomato and basil with gouda and sharp cheddar. I got ahead of myself on the second pizza and let it sit too long on the pizza peel…it would NOT slide off. So, I just folded it over and made a calzone 🙂 It was a little juicy because of the sauce, but it was SO good. I’ll try your version of the calzone next, it looks amazing.

    Thanks for all the fun.

  25. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for letting us know about your adventures through the book. Sounds like you had a happy accident with the pizza. It is great that you didn’t panic and ended up with a great dinner!

    Thanks, Zoë

  26. Florence: I’m curious how our book works for French users. The ingredients are listed in an obviously American way (by volumes, not weights, and using English cup-measures (not the metric system– we blew our chance at conversion about 30 years ago!). How much of a barrier do you find all this to having the book become popular in France? So many of our recipes are French-inspired. Jeff

  27. Hi Jeff,
    It is usually a real problem for French people to use cup-measures, and if your book were to be published in French, I guess you would have to list the ingredients by weight, instead of volumes (the way I did in my post about your Pain Epi). I’ve lived in the States in the past, half my family’s American, I have cups and teaspoons at home and I learned to bake bread with American books, at a time when not much was available in French about bread baking. So I’m not exactly a common French user.
    Anyway, I might be wrong, but I think the strongest barrier to having the book become popular in France is … it’s written in English! French are not really good at foreign languages.
    There are many extremely interesting books about bread baking that are published in your country, and very very few are translated in French. Well, to be honest, I can’t even think of one of the numerous American books about bread baking that I own that has been translated yet… Books that describe how to make artisanal bread following artisanal ways might not have success here, anyway : potential buyers are likely to turn their back to the books thinking “who are they, those Americans, to try to teach us how to bake good bread?”… That is sad, but I’m pretty sure it would happen.
    But your book is special : Zoe and you do not try to teach us how to bake bread like the best artisanal bakers do, but how to bake excellent loaves/flatbreads etc in very little time : your method is a revolution, and that revolution would interest many many people here in France. If your book were to be sold here, once translated and using the metric system, at a reasonnable price, I’m sure it would be a hit.
    I hope those comments will help you. Don’t hesitate to join me on
    And, last but not least according to my family : I baked a pizza for lunch, using your European Peasant dough and somme tuna mixed with tomato sauce and ricotta : it was excellent, really. A chewy crust, wonderful taste, we’re hooked! Thank you very much!

  28. Florence: Thank you, these are great insights. The next book will definitely have weight equivalents, in metric and english measures. Whether the publisher will authorize translations is anyone’s guess, that depends on our overall success. I agree that the book won’t sell a lot of copies in English over there.

    Stay in touch! Jeff

  29. Hi, I just found this site and am looking forward to trying out you’re methods. I just have one small problem. My oven doesn’t go any higher than 450 deg. I have been wanting to make my own pita bread but all the recipes I’ve come across require at least 500 degrees to bake it.
    Any suggestions (besides buying a new oven, which I can’t afford)?

  30. Doris: Don’t buy a new oven, just experiment with the lower temp. My guess is that the worst that will happen is that baking time will increase slightly, and the bread may not puff. It will still be good. Let me know how you make out at 450.

    Does an oven thermometer confirm that the temperature at the shelf with the stone is actually 450? That will make a big difference. Jeff

  31. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    I just published a post (in french) about your book, again, here: It has a link to, where one can buy your book.
    I adapted your European Peasant Bread recipe, mixing rye, whole spelt, whole wheat, bread flour and ordinary flour, and I cooked my bread in a closed oven-proof casserole, begining in a cold oven and then cooking for 50 minutes at 450°F. Boy, that bread is FANTASTIC, and I’m usually a big fan of sourdough bread…
    On the post right before the one about your recipe, on my blog, I also posted “tartines”, which are thick slices of “your” bread with a lot of good things on it.
    Thank you again for your discovery. It DOES revolutionizes Home baking!
    PLease don’t hesitate to leave a comment, in english, under my post, I’ll translate it for french readers if you want me to.
    Thanks again.

  32. Thanks again Florence, I’ll stop by your site. In other postings on our own site, we’ve talked about how well our dough works in a closed heavy container like a cloche, or a covered cast-iron pan (as you did on your site. You don’t need to add steam to the oven environment because the container traps steam next to the crust.

    Thanks, Jeff

  33. Thank you so much for your comment on my site. I asked you a new question under said comment… Don’t know if there’s truth in it or not. Do you have an idea?

  34. Hi,
    I have been using your book daily since christmas and adore it. For the last 2 weeks I have had a strange problem: my pizza crusts are tough. I use the boule dough (as I have been doing for months with spectacular results). What’s going on? My bread is still great (in my humble estimation), only the pizza is really, really tough. Any ideas?

  35. Teresa: People talk about tough versus tender crusts in the context of protein content in the flour. Italians say that low-protein flour makes a more tender crust, but we have never found all-purpose flour crusts to be tough.

    Did you switch flour? Have you re-checked your oven temperature? Are you par-baking (might overbake the crust if so, though we haven’t heard that before)? Have you changed any of these other things?

    Oven temp?
    Crust thickness?
    Brand of flour you’re using?
    Mix of toppings?

    If there have been no changes in these or anything else, then I’ll be completely stumped! Something must be different, we’ll figure it out.


  36. Teresa: Just thought of another one. Is there any reason why you might be baking longer to melt and brown your toppings? It would mean you must have changed something in the toppings. Longer baking times mean a firmer crust, though you didn’t say anything about overbrowning or burning at the edges. Jeff

  37. Sorry, I’ve been real busy.I don’t have an oven thermometer and really can’t afford one right now. My only oven is a microwave-convection, but I would love to buy a regular range if I can ever find a used one that will fit in my dinky mobile home kitchen.
    Anyway, I’ll try the lower temp as you suggested tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. Thanks.

  38. HI Jeff,
    I can’t really figure it out. I use KA AP flour, but I always have – I use the extra 1/4 cup of water. I always vary my toppings, but I never actually get the crust that brown. Do you think I could be using too much flour to roll it out? Although, what really stumps me is I’ve been making it for months with the BEST results – I’m talking people that have my pizza then go to really good pizza places and say “your crust is better.” good. My bread doesn’t have any difference either, I don’t know maybe it is my oven temp. . .

  39. Well, sounds like the next thing to do then is check the oven temp. Wierd, you haven’t changed anything.

    Too much flour to roll out the dough might promote toughness, yes. Likewise too much handling, which I hadn’t thought of in my last post. Jeff

  40. My oven has what is called a high-low mix which is a combo between convection and microwave. It also has an option to change the temperature you need to cook certain foods. It depends on how long the cooking time is as to whether or not to use that setting. If a recipe calls for 25 minutes or less I use only the convection side.
    Do you have any suggestions for diabetic breads?

  41. Doris: For breads, I’d stay away from the microwave and use only the convection mode if it lets you do that.

    Diabetic breads… Hmm. Bread is high-carbohydrate food, so you have to apportion it well if you’re diabetic. One good way to deal with it is to lower the carbohydrate load by concentrating on whole grain options and steering clear of the enriched stuff. Our next book will be much, much more whole grain.

    But bread, whether whole-grain or not, is something that has to be enjoyed in moderation by diabetics. So portion size is everything. Poke around the website for the American Diabetes Association:

  42. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    I baked yesterday a European Peasant Bread, with “your” dough aged D + 6 days.
    The result was an extra-moist bread, nice fine crust, chewy and flavorful crumb, wonderful aroma.
    But… it was SWEET. Even though I absolutely did not add sugar to your recipe.
    I suppose this is a result of the long fermentation process. But I’m anxious that it could mean the sugars in the flours have become simple carbohydrates instead of remaining complex carbohydrates, and that the sugar content of the dough really differs whether you bake the dough on day 0 or day 1 to 14. If it is so, the doughs in your books would really not give the same bread on D0 than on D+ 1 to 14 days not only in taste but on a nutritional standpoint, would’nt it?

  43. Florence: I’m almost sure that what you’re perceiving is the accumulation of acids and other by-products of fermentation. I know that sounds far-fetched, because sweet and sour are so different on our taste buds. I’ve never perceived what you are tasting, but I wonder if that’s not just the way your taste buds are wired. I’ve never read anything to confirm what you’re suggesting.

    If in fact fermentation was converting complex carbohydrates into simple ones, then you’re right, the nutritional content would change. Just how is anyone’s guess, because despite what you read on the web, there’s little evidence that 100 calories of sugar (simple carbohydrate) are all that different from 100 calories of starch (complex carbohydrate). What makes it challenging is that 100 calories of complex carbohydrate is usually in a “package” that takes up a lot of space (a piece of bread versus a spoon of sugar). So how we consume complex carbs may be less dysfunctional.

    But I don’t think sugar conversion is what’s happening in your aged dough. Did other people detect sweetness? (don’t prompt them when you ask about the flavor in general) Jeff

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