Gluten-free fourteen years ago looked nothing like it does today. Flours didn’t hold the rich consistencies they have today, products were not so readily available, and let’s just call it like it is: the stuff that was available? It was crap.
One of the first game-changer gluten free products we found when I was younger was this amazing invention known as Chebe original cheese bread! We still use this as a staple in our house for Stromboli and pizza crusts. There are a variety of options, but I prefer the classic cheese bread. Every year at Easter my family mass produces Easter Pizzas which are very similar to the traditional Stromboli with a slight twist. With Chebe bread mix, Stromboli becomes a quick last minute throw together meal.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
To start, you need:
- 1 box mix of the cheese bread mix
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 cup of shredded cheese (any kind you prefer. I use whatever is left over in my fridge)
- 4 tablespoons of water.
To start, add the mix, two eggs, oil and cheese into your mixing bowl. I typically use a fork to mix these first ingredients. The mixture will begin to stick together forming small crumbs.
Oooh love some good quality i-Phone pictures! Vanessa Huey would shudder at these photos! Hopefully this summer, she and I will have the opportunity to collaborate over a few projects and you won’t have to be tortured with my “lovely” amateur phone pictures!
Once these first ingredients are mixed really well together, slowly add the water to the mixture and begin to knead the dough with your hands. Gradually it will stick together to make a glorious little knot of dough! I think the most amazing thing about this product is the elasticity. This is not a characteristic often attributed to gluten-free foods.
The trick to a simple Stromboli, and those of you who can actually bake with regular flour may concur with this trick, is to line the counter with plastic wrap before laying out your dough. (As luck would have it, I opened our plastic wrap box still sitting in the drawer, and it was empty) I happened to discover that press-n-seal wrap also will work if you happen to be that person, like me, who opens the plastic wrap box only to find an empty roll STILL. IN. THE. DRAWER. I’d like to take this moment to totally point the finger at my husband. Unfortunately the reality is, it was probably my fault. No, guaranteed it was my fault.
I will show you the purpose behind rolling out your Stromboli on the plastic wrap in just a moment. If you have a rolling pin that you have used on gluten in previous recipes or baking projects, take a second piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the dough while you roll out your crust. The thinner the crust the better. I like to keep mine 1/8 of an inch. When the dough gets to 1/4 of an inch or thicker, it can feel gummy whenever it’s finished.
Loving that smooth round roll, right? Well I can promise you that the second one I rolled out was much smoother; however, not photographed. Let’s be realistic, I made these in 15 minutes after work on a Thursday and top-notch photogenic food was not my first priority.
Once your crust has reached that nice thin quality, lightly spoon your pizza sauce on half of the crust and begin layering your fillings of choice. In our house we follow this order:
- Thin layer of Del Grosso spaghetti sauce (my favorite!)
- A solid layer of pepperoni (with extra for the little ladies to snack on while we assemble)
- Half of a deli-meat container of smoke ham (we like the kind with a bonus storage container when it’s emptied!)
- 5 round sliced of provolone cheese (smoked or non-smoked… we switch it up!)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
I don’t add any additional seasonings to the crust or the layers of filling. The meats already layered into the Stromboli add so much flavor to the final product. Hey, less is more, right?
Now the magic of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, fold your Stromboli crust closed by pulling it over with the plastic wrap.
Look at that gloriously CLEAN counter top and perfectly folded Stromboli! Carefully peel the plastic wrap back and begin to seal the edge of the Stromboli by pressing the two edges together evenly. Use the plastic wrap as a guide when transferring the completed Stromboli to a baking sheet.
*I STRONGLY recommend using a baking sheet with sides. Depending on how much delicious meat you have added, there will be a slight grease trail while the Stromboli bakes.
Poke the top of your Stromboli with a fork and place that bad boy into the oven.
Turn on your oven light if you want to watch the magic happen. Let the Stromboli bake for approximately 30 minutes, removing it from the oven when the edges are just slightly golden brown. Let the Stromboli stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Look at that ooey-gooey, cheese bursting at the edge. My husband willingly eats gluten-free and really likes these crusts. We’ve used these crusts to make Steak and Cheese Stromboli, Buffalo Chicken Stromboli, and countless other “empty the cupboard” Stromboli ideas.
So, if you’re in the mood for a meal that tastes like you worked on it for an hour, try a quickie Stromboli!
And don’t forget to order some Chebe Original Cheese Bread mixes for your next dinner ideas!