Originally, this is a dough that my German Russian ancestors used for a hot and savory ham and sauerkraut sandwich. I decided to experiment with various fillings and they have been such a big hit with Hubby that I've made them twice this week. I've made calzones for years, but these are so much better...not bready or doughy at all and the dough raises just enough (as it bakes) to make the perfect sandwich...light, crispy and delicious.
¾ cup very warm water
½ cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
3½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Mix the warm water (hottest out of your tap) with the sweetened condensed milk, vegetable oil and sugar and salt. The hot tap water will cool down in temperature once it is mixed with the oil and milk (so it won't hurt the yeast). Next, whisk in the egg and the yeast. Let this sit for several minutes until the yeast looks well dissolved.
NOTE: When you first mix up this dough, it will seem stiff and dense. Don't let that freak you out...just follow the instructions and it will bake up beautifully.
Once it is well dissolved, mix in the flour (using a stand mixer is easiest) and mix with dough hook on medium speed until smooth (about 5 minutes or so). Place in a bowl sprayed with vegetable spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let this sit in a warm place for an hour or until it is double in size.
Remove from the bowl and cut into 8 pieces (makes 8 sandwiches). Roll each piece out into an 8 inch circle. For pizza filling, put about ¼ cup of cheese in center of circle; top with a little pizza sauce and some toppings.
I found that these were easier to shape if you sit the 8" circle in a cereal bowl before you add the fillings (see above photo). Draw up the edges of the dough and pinch them together like this
This dough is a dream to work with...it stretches without tearing and sticks together beautifully when it comes time to "pinch it shut".
A word about pizza fillings:
I filled these with sweet Italian sausage and some thin strips of pepperoni. I fried this in a pan until it was very well done, then I drained it completely and blotted all of the grease I could get out of it...I highly recommend this step. Don't add any meat that has not had the fat rendered out of it (sausage, pepperoni etc.). If you do, the fat will make the sandwich greasy and leak out of the pinched seam. Once pinched shut (make sure you pinch it totally shut...place them pinched seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. They will look like this: Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for 20 minutes. Bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 20 minutes. When they come out of the oven, brush them with butter. Aren't they pretty? Be careful when you first bite into them...they are SO hot inside.
I also made them the other day using a ham and cheese filling.
NOTE: These sandwiches stay super hot for an unbelievable length of time, so they would be excellent for a potluck or picnic (they are also excellent at room temperature). This dough recipe makes 8 big sandwiches, but you could easily make them smaller for a party snack.
NOTE: I have plans on making these, using sloppy joe filling, barbecue beef filling, bacon and egg filling and much more. I can see many uses for this sammie.
NOTE: The fully baked leftovers (full size) reheat, beautifully, in a preheated 350F oven in 20-23 minutes and taste exactly like they did the first time they came out of the oven.