Originally, this was 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 picky-picky hubby, that I’ve made them twice this week.
3/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
3 1/2 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 when you mix it with the oil and milk (so it won’t hurt the yeast). Next, whisk in the egg and the yeast. Let this sit for 10 minutes.
NOTE: When you first mix up this dough, it will seem stiff and dense. Don’t let that freak you out…just follow these instructions and it will bake up beautifully.
After the yeast mixture has rested for 10 minutes, add the flour (a stand mixer is easiest) and mix with dough hook on medium speed until smooth (about 5 minutes or so). Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with vegetable spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm place for an hour or until it is double in size.
Cut the dough into 8 pieces (makes 8 sandwiches). Roll each piece out into an 8 inch circle. Layer the fillings IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER: about 1/4 cup of pizza cheese in center of circle; top with a little pizza sauce (about 2 tablespoons) and finally a layer of cooked meat or cooked veggies.
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 meat fillings:
I filled these with sweet Italian sausage and some thin strips of pepperoni. I fried both meats (together) until they were very well done and then I drained off any grease and patted them dry. I highly recommend this step. Don’t use meat that has not had the fat rendered out of it (like sausage, pepperoni etc.). If you skip this step, 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 loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest 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.
Ham and Cheese is a
great option too !!
NOTE: Remember that the order, that you put ingredients into this bun, is important because after you pinch the bun shut, you turn it upside down. So…if you put the cheese in FIRST, when it melts, it will melt down over the meat which is what you want rather than the melted cheese being UNDER the meat. Does that make sense?
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 snack size.
NOTE: The fully baked pizza pockets (full size) reheat, beautifully, in a pre-heated 350F oven in 20-23 minutes. They taste exactly like they did the first time they came out of the oven!!