Sunday, March 10, 2013
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Buns
Not quite a calzone, these spinach and cheese stuffed buns are a real treat warm or at room temperature. A great lunch or snack!
For the bun dough :
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl olive oil
Heat the water to about 100F degrees and then stir in the yeast. Let the yeast rest for a few minutes while you gather your other ingredients.
Stir the sugar, salt and oil into the yeast/water mixture.
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and give it a good whisk.
Slowly stir in the liquid mixture, bring together and then on a floured surface knead, knead, knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little flour if necessary, until you have a smooth elastic ball. Transfer the dough to an olive oil coated large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rest in a warmish draft free place until the dough doubles in bulk. (I turn on my oven for just a few minutes to warm it up, turn the oven off, wait a few minutes and then place the bowl in.)
For the filling:
20 ounces fresh spinach
2 Tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
3 cups mozzarella, shredded (or a combination of Italian cheeses)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Gently saute the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in the olive oil until the onion softens. Stir in the tomato sauce and let simmer for about three minutes. Let the mixture cool.
In the meantime, fill a large pot with the spinach and a quarter cup of water. Heat to wilt the spinach, stirring it around once in awhile. Once wilted, let it cool and then squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
Break up the spinach and stir it into the tomato mixture, along with all the cheese until everything is well mixed and all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Now...time to make the buns:
Punch down the risen dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Take a piece and on a clean work surface spread that piece out with you hands to form about a 5 inch disc. Place about 3/4 cup of the filling in the center and stretch up the dough to seal everything in. Set the bun on a parchment lined baking sheet. repeat with the remaining pieces.
Let the buns rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
Now you can brush them with an egg and water wash or with a topping made by placing a garlic clove, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/4 cup olive oil in a mini processor and process until smooth..then stir in 2 tsp Kosher salt.
Brush the tops of the buns with either topping (we did 4 of each) and bake in a preheated 450F oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350F and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or so. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.