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How-To Roll Out GF Pizza Dough + Calzone Recipe
How-To Roll Out GF Pizza Dough + Calzone Recipe

Gluten Free Pizza Calzone and how to roll it out
Know what I think this relationship needs? Some how-to. And howdy do. Can I be honest with you? I don’t think you’re making pizza and calzones.

We talked about rolling out dough a little bit here. But, you know. Are you making pizza? Whipping up a calzone? Dunno. My guess? Not a ton.

I hope we’re cool. I’d like to think I didn’t overstep. You’ll tell me if I cross the line. It’s happened before. Me? I like to live dangerously, and close to the line. Right before I draw it in the sand.

I count on pizza dough. Sometimes readers ask me what I rely upon to get me through the week. What’s in the cupboards, Mother Hubbard?

One word: pizza dough.

Ask me what happens when my pizza dough doesn’t roll out nice and easy?

*dramatic pause*

Answer: There’s no living with me.

I needed that dough. I was counting on that dough. I didn’t have a Plan B. My Plan B? General crankiness and cursing. It’s not a good look. Lately, I have had a couple of unfortunate pizza dough situations. I won’t lie. Sometimes, when the dough first came together, it was so wet that it rolled out easy, but almost had holes in it. You could top it and bake it, but you couldn’t work with it. You couldn’t roll the edge for a nice crust to hang on to. Folding it over to make a calzone pocket – wasn’t gonna happen. So I’d get frustrated, wrap it up and let it sit. Sometimes in the refrigerator. Sometimes on the counter. Usually, it got better after a spell. But I had no idea why, and felt like I couldn’t replicate the experience. And what good is that?

Other times, I had the opposite problem. The dough would fight back as I tried to roll it, and it would tear when I insisted it roll. I couldn’t even gather it back up into a ball. It would crack. At least that was an easy diagnostic: too dry.

The upshot? I have good news & I have bad news. Which one do you want first?

P.S. I always want the bad news first. It’s not good. But it’s real life for me. It’s not that I’m a pessimist. It’s that I’m a lunatic.

You’re so much more self-actualized than I am, so I bet you want the good first. The good news is … that I figured it out. The bad news … the dough needs to rest. So it takes more time. More plan-ahead. Not a ton. But some.

The dough needs to be wet (mostly with oil) when it first comes together, and as it sits — either in the refrigerator or out on the counter — the flours absorb the oils and become flexible and stable. It’s not the same as conventional pizza dough that needs to “relax.” Know how gluten-free batter tends to thicken upon standing? That’s because the flour absorbs the moisture over time, since gluten-free flours are moisture-loving. That’s what they … do. So let them do their thing, and soak up all that olive oil. Then, it should roll out a treat, and be a calzone or pizza or a hot-pocket-type dealio in no time at all.

Here’s what the dough should look like after it has rested.

Gluten Free Pizza Calzone and how to roll it out
And then rolled out, easy as you please.
Gluten Free Pizza Calzone and how to roll it outThen you fill it (or top it), wrap it, pinch it, and bake it. Like so.

Gluten Free Pizza Calzone and how to roll it outThese spinach and pancetta calzones will knock your socks clear off. And they do a great bake-and-freeze-for-later impression. Just cool and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a ziploc bag – just be sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before placing it in the freezer (air leads to freezer burn). Dinner in a pinch. Two words: nice.

Spinach & Pancetta Calzone
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Gluten-free pizza dough, filled with pancetta, spinach and cheese, and made into a calzone
  • 1 recipe gluten-free pizza dough (recipe on this site linked to above in this post)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 ounces pancetta cubed (optional)
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach (or frozen, defrosted and drained completely dry)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim is fine)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (good substitutes: white cheddar cheese or fontina cheese)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, mixed with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven as it heats. If not, line an overturned rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal portions, and roll each into a ball. Set the dough aside, covered loosely with a wet towel.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the onion. Saute, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and the (optional) pancetta, and saute, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant and the pancetta is cooked (about 4 minutes). Remove the onion garlic and pancetta mixture to a separate large bowl. Add the fresh spinach to the saucepan, and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until wilted (about a minute, more or less), and add to the large bowl with the other ingredients. If using frozen spinach, toss directly into the large bowl. Mix to combine, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you haven’t used the pancetta, you will need more salt. Set the bowl aside to cool.
  4. Take the first ball of pizza dough, and roll between two pieces of parchment paper into an approximately 6 to 8 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick (thickness of a nickel). If the edges are very rough, tuck them toward the center of the round, and then roll them smooth. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  5. To the large bowl, add the ricotta, Parmesan, Gruyere and eggs, and mix to combine well. Fold in the basil and oregano. Divide the filling between the 4 rounds of pizza dough, placing the filling on one half of the dough, leaving a 1 inch border of bare dough. Fold the opposite end of the dough over the filling, and pinch together the edges well until there is a good seal. Brush the tops and seams with the melted unsalted butter and olive oil. Place on the overturned pan or the pizza stone in the preheated oven. Bake until nicely browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve right away.

Once baked, these freeze beautifully, and make a great meal-in-a-pinch on one of those super busy days we all have.



  • Anneke

    Hey, Nicole! Did you miss me? I haven’t been around much. As long as we are being honest, we have pizza at least once a week, but I use . . . mixes. The plus side of a mix is that my husband will grab one and use it to make dinner, but the minus side is, well, it’s a mix. Really don’t like that on so many levels. Anyway, making successful pizza dough (and the calzone thing is great!) is a goal of mine, so I am planning to give this a whirl when I have a day that looks not too stressful and busy. I need good, easy pizza dough, Nicole, it is a staple of my life. Oh, and the bad news first thing? Totally me. Love the new look! Anneke

    • Nicole

      Hi, Anneke,
      Of course I missed you! Honest. Always honest. Mixes are great, especially if your husband will use it to make dinner! But scratch pizza dough is actually really easy – and although I had the pizza dough recipe on the blog and in the book for the longest time, I didn’t feel comfortable dedicating a how-to post to it until I knew that I had cleared the sometimes-didn’t-work-perfectly hurdle. It’s cleared! You can definitely do this. Just make it moist, and let it sit.
      You’re a bad news first kinda girl, too? Why does that make me happy? I’m insane. That’s why.
      So glad you like the new blog. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Anneke

        It makes you happy because we are besties! You always want to bond with your bestie! :) As for insane . . . yeah, me, too. And a lunatic. It is what it is!

        • Nicole

          Duh! Why didn’t I think of that, Anneke? I am what I am. And it is what it is. Crazy. ;)
          xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/soraya.beynon Soraya Beynon on Facebook

    Fab!! Been wanting to find a good gf recipe for calzone for ages, thanks!!

  • PegLeg

    I want to make sure I’m understanding this . . . . Mix it, let it rise for an hour-ish, then chill for an hour-ish, then roll? Sorry–you’ve got to spell it out for me!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Peggy,
      Mix it, knead it together, let it rise, then let it sit. It can sit wrapped up in the refrigerator, or wrapped up on the counter. It might take a bit longer than an hour for the dough to absorb enough of the moisture to be workable. If you try to roll it out, and it doesn’t work well, no harm done. Just cover and let it stand longer. You won’t hurt it by handling it. Pizza dough in particular is very forgiving. I hope that helps!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy

    Nicole, you continue to impress! Thanks for making us feel like family. I also prefer the bad news first…then I can enjoy the good news more! So count me in with the rest of the lunatics………. lol

    Website looks awesome! The calzones sounds yummy & I’m thinking some fruit-filled calzones with cinnamon & sugar sprinkled on top……………I am thinking this would be great for my pot luck Friday evening with my quilting group! I do love you!!!!!! I do, I do!!!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Peggy,
      You are so welcome. It’s my sincere pleasure. This space is no fun if I’m here alone, you know?
      Funny that I’m not the only one who wants the bad news first!
      Fruit-filled pies, huh? You wouldn’t want to use pastry dough, instead?
      I love you, too. You know I do … ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Chapman-Baldwin/571402662 Jessica Chapman Baldwin on Facebook

    Man, that looks sooooooo good.

  • Jenny W

    Oh, Nicole, you are my hero.

    I’ve been working up my nerve to make bread – still haven’t quite gotten there, I’m so crazy gunshy, (but also very sick of mix bread and the cost of premade) and somewhere in the move across country (south to north, mind you, not east to west) my loaf pan went missing. But I think that I can handle pizza dough. I hope I can – all the places around here assume gluten-free also means vegetarian and I miss my supreme pizzas. That and what they call gluten free dough I call lightly baked library paste, but hey, a desperate college girls gotta….

    get rolling, thats what I’ve got to do.

    I love the new look, and I had a quick question – there’s a joint down south that makes pepperoni rolls – something between a calzone and a filled croissant, cheese and pepperoni and layers of dough…. mmmm…

    anyway, do you think this dough is sturdy enough to be rolled out and then up before baking? any recommendations on bake time if I do?

    I’m with the rest of the lunatics, I’m a bad news first kinda girl – but its okay this time, since the bad news, well, isn’t bad, really. Just that lovingly handcrafted pizza takes time (no big shock there) and when you can’t pop the dough out of a can, you need to take that time. Not really bad news, just, reality.

    Speaking of popping dough out of a can, (which we weren’t really, but as segues go that’s one of my better), I have a hope.

    You asked us, a while back, what we wanted out of this blog.

    I’ve been thinking, and more than that, I’ve been listening to my inner child who craves things the adult knows are downright awful for me. Like chocolate croissants, and sleeping in until noon.

    That last one you can’t help with, I know. The first is a major issue – every croissant recipe I’ve tried with GF flours ends up with a somewhat crunchy, somewhat tasty little thing sitting in a puddle of the butter that melted out instead of puffing up the layers.

    I know there has to be a better way Nicole. I believe it. Have you found it? Do you know the secret? Will you share? I’ll still love you if the answer is no. I believe though, and I’m going to keep hunting…

    Calzone, Pepperoni roll or supreme pizza slice in hand.

    • Nicole

      Hi, Jenny,
      This crust can definitely hold up to being rolled out and then rolled up into a pepperoni roll. No doubt!
      GF croissants are not too hard, but it’s like puff pastry: it’s a really labor intensive affair. If enough people would be up for it, I would be happy to do a blog entry about it. Puff pastry is super versatile, but it just takes a long time. Even a “quick” version takes a lot of dough manipulation. If your experiment ended up with butter puddles, that sounds like it wasn’t layered properly between layers of dough. I have no secrets. It’s all hangin’ out there. Promise. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • http://www.ihealthcommunications.com Rachel B.

        Oh PLEASE do GF pastry…I tried croissaints once…took me 26 hours from start to finish, and “butter puddle” was my middle name. More like “flaming inferno dripping butter all over my oven…” It wasn’t good. :)

        Looking forward to it again though!

        • Nicole

          Hi, Rachel,
          It’s a lot of work! I have gone back and forth on doing it on the blog many times. It would really take a lot of pictures of me working with both my hands, which means I need my husband’s buy in! I will try to pencil it in. ;)
          xoxo Nicole

      • Jenny W

        So I have good news, to all the GF-folks out there like me who tend to occasionally forget things….

        (Like the pizza dough relaxing and soaking up oil and hydration in the microwave)

        If you forgot your dough (like me) and wrapped it in plastic wrap and threw it in the fridge before bed the night before, I have good news.

        It still works beautifully. Nicole was right. This dough is durable. It loves you. It loves waiting for you (okay, maybe not, but its certainly tolerant, and I need that in my life.)

        Last night I made a single chicken and cheese calzone sort of thing with it. I loved every bite. I also made a few chicken pot p’zones, one of which is hiding in my cubicle, waiting for me to take my lunch. The rest of the dough is waiting for me to get to a store and some pepperoni.

        Thank you again Nicole. Quick lunches are a blessing. Freezable, take them to work and they look like normal people food lunches are even more of one.

        I haven’t given up on the croissants. I refuse to give up on the dream. I don’t doubt that my layers weren’t layered properly. I also doubt that my dough could have absorbed the amount of butter that the recipe called for (but I used it anyway) because this was back in the good old days when dough was really an amalgam of crumbs held together by pressure and prayer.

        Also – could you add sugar or honey to make this sweet and turn it into a sort of dessert-y type crust? like a brown sugar pop-tart or a hand-held cherry pie almost?

        • Nicole

          Hi, Jenny,
          That’s so great! It doesn’t really matter that much if you let the dough rest on the counter or in the refrigerator. It is a more sure bet on the counter, since the refrigerator can be drying. But it sounds like you wrapped it up well before throwing it in the fridge. Sounds like you had a great dinner – and a great lunch!
          Don’t give up on the dream of croissants. I will do a post. I promise.
          Rather than using this dough for a sweet treat, I would be suggest a sweet pastry crust (yeast free, cold butter crust). Try the crust from this post: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/a-peach-of-a-crostata/.
          xoxo Nicole

  • Lisa Demopoulos-Mustac on Facebook

    The blog looks great!

  • Tiffanny

    I confess – I have been avoiding making pizza dough every since you admonished us that Pamela’s baking mix isn’t a GF flour option. I can’t get Better Batter locally and I truly hate paying shipping & handling — that said, I went out to Whole Foods at lunch and bought two other GF flour blends, one is GF Pantry and the other is something new but I can’t remember the vendor. Truly, I would love to be able to make my own GF flour blend – so much more affordable. Maybe, just maybe, some day you will have a recipe for that? I know you’re very loyal to Better Batter and I know the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But … sigh. Shipping and handling charges rub me wrong. Why or why don’t they sell BB here in Colorado? What gives?!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Tiffanny,
      Is the other flour King Arthur? That’s the other one they sell at Whole Foods to my knowledge — other than the bean flour blend, which is not a real all purpose flour, despite what the label may say. It is really not likely to be cost effective to make your own, believe it or not. Usually, when factor everything in, it’s not less expensive at all. Better Batter, along with other all purpose GF flour blends, does not have a very good in person retail price. The other ones you bought likely don’t either. Even if it were available to me locally, I would order it online. The 25 pound bag is the best value going. It’s about $65, with flat $5 shipping. You pretty much can’t beat that. If you don’t want to order a lot, you could try ordering on Gluten Freely (http://www.glutenfreely.com/ourstore/baking-ingredients-and-mixes/140860), which has free shipping if you spend $40. Try not to get too hung up on paying shipping charges. At $5 flat, it’s really nothing for Better Batter from their website. And it already has xanthan gum, which is the most expensive ingredient.
      I don’t make a dime if you order Better Batter. I have zero financial interest in your making that purchase. But I know from personal experience that it will liberate you. The sense of possibility and optimism that comes from have a true all purpose gluten free flour is immeasurable. $5 shipping and handling is nothing.
      I don’t see myself coming up with a flour blend myself, because I don’t understand all the food science. The amount of work that goes into that, and into continued testing and understanding as things continue to develop in the GF world, is much more than you’d imagine. I don’t feel comfortable at all that I could come up with something that would work across the board. Most blends out there don’t work all the time, in every recipe. King Arthur flour is one of those doesn’t-work-for-everything flours. I want something that always works.
      I hope that’s helpful!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Tiffanny

        Thanks for the detailed reply, Nicole! I never once thought you were in cahoots with Better Batter financially, but you are clearly a big fan. Yes, the GF flour I just picked up is King Arthur and since I haven’t opened it, I’m going to return it and go ahead with an online order for BB. I won’t jump up to the 25 pound size yet … too much of a “hit” on my bi-weekly grocery budget (yes, I have one of THOSE). Assuming it “liberates” me as you say, I will set aside some grocery money for awhile until I have enough to get the big package (really, I think it was more a total money at once issue than S&H but, admittedly, I did not know it was only $5, woot!). Voila, problem solved.

        • Nicole

          Hi, Tiffanny,
          You’re very welcome. I hope you find flour nirvana. :)
          xoxo Nicole

    • Sarah D

      If you want to blend your own flour, 2 parts rice flour, 1 part tapioca flour, 1 part potato starch works really well. I get results about as consistent as with BB flour and I can get the rice and tapioca flour at my local asian market super cheap. You have to add in the xanthan gum, though.

      • Nicole

        There you go! Thanks, Sarah. Glad you’ve got a workaround. I’ll stick with Better Batter, since overall I think it’s cheaper and more reliable, but I’m really glad you have another option.
        xoxo Nicole

  • Tiffanny

    One last question – I suspect it will take me awhile to go through 25 pounds of flour (if I order that volume) … I assume you go through it quickly so this may not apply to you but would you recommend freezing to keep it fresh?

    • Nicole

      Hi, Tiffanny,
      I do go through 25 pounds very, very quickly, but I also tend to buy tons of it at a time. I store it in airtight plastic containers, in my basement. I don’t refrigerate it or freeze it, and I have never had a problem. I have a vague recollection of its being shelf stable for at least a year, but I’m not positive. I would check out their website http://www.betterbatter.org, and then send an email question (or post a question on their facebook page) if you don’t find an answer on the site.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tammy Park on Facebook

    Just found your blog and ordered a few things on Amazon.com at your suggestion. Also can’t wait to try Better Batter flour. I have been eating mostly store-bought GF products for the past few months and that is expensive and mostly disappointing. So, I have a new hope for future of edible meals, thanks to your advice. I love what you told someone who said you changed her life. You said, no, she changed her own life with your support. The way you phrase things keeps me smiling, and I’m enjoying your comments as much as drooling over the recipes. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfshoestring Gluten Free on a Shoestring on Facebook

    Hi, Tammy, How nice to hear from you! I’m so glad you feel like you have choices now, That’s what it is all about. And of course when you make positive changes, it’s you who is taking charge — not me! I’m just here for support. And I’m not going anywhere. :) Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot to me. xoxo Nicole

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  • Bea Oliver on Facebook

    These really do look like the real thing! …Almost transparent in their tenderness and elasticity…yet flake-y! Fantastic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brenda-Snider/100001532362734 Brenda Snider on Facebook

    I am so greatful you have these recipes. This has been the hardest thing for me to find what to eat with Soy and gluten and cinnamon and garlic powders really tough finding things to make. Bless you for sharing with us things that we can make. What is the name of your cookbook or books. I need to get a good one. I have got a few from library but have pretty fancy recipies but i am not a fancy eater or baker lol. With no computer makes it hard and cheap phone doesnt always let me see sites. Thanks for the info. What is your name also so i can try to find your book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfshoestring Gluten Free on a Shoestring on Facebook

    My name is Nicole Hunn. The name of the book is Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. See if they have it in your library, Brenda. If not, ask them to order a copy for you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfshoestring Gluten Free on a Shoestring on Facebook

    Thanks, Melissa. Maybe you can give a presentation to your support group about the next one, too! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfshoestring Gluten Free on a Shoestring on Facebook

    How could I forget something like that, Melissa?? xo Nicole

  • http://cocoasglutenfreeplace.blogspot.com/ Cocoa

    Love this! I’m totally making calzones this weekend to freeze and eat

  • Nicole

    That’s great, Cocoa! They do freeze beautifully. :)
    xoxo Nicole

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