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Friday, January 11, 2013

Garlic and Mozzarella Stromboli

Garlic and Mozzarella Stromboli has been in my recipe collection for many years although I have only made it a few times. I recently made it to accompany an antipasto spread just for a change from the usual crostini or garlic bread.

As you may already know I love to research the origin of foods that I cook and my curiosity got the better of me on this one as well.  It turned out to be time well spent as I ended up with a bit of a geography lesson, a little food history and the answer to my Stromboli dilemma.

Stromboli is pizza or bread dough filled with cheese and sometimes deli meats then rolled jelly roll style and baked. Unlike traditional pizza there is no tomato sauce in the filling.  I had never heard of Stromboli until coming across this recipe and don’t recall my mother ever making one for us. I guess we didn't miss it for all the Calzone and Panzerotti that graced our table.

There are several opinions on the origin of Stromboli but the most interesting is that there is a volcano on the island of Stromboli off the coast of Sicily believed to be the inspiration for the name of this delicious bread. The story goes that its inventor named it after the island and its erupting volcano.

Each time I’ve made it, regardless of how well the seam was pinched closed, the cheese filling always managed to ooze out while baking.  I found this very frustrating and somewhat of a failure until learning that it’s quite normal for the cheese to erupt from the side of the loaf like the erupting volcano on the island of Stromboli.

Who could have known! The name given to this bread now makes perfect sense and I’ve realized that all efforts to stop my Stromboli from erupting were in vain.

It seems that there are many who are ready to take credit when something delicious is discovered.  I’m more inclined to believe that many years ago a hard working Nonna in a town too small to make it on a map began rolling up her pizzas making it easier for the grandchildren to pick up and eat.

We’ve come a long way since the first Stromboli was ever made and  may never know the exact ingredients and fillings that were used. It really doesn't matter since in this day and age it’s pretty much open to one’s interpretation and taste.

Garlic and Mozzarella Stromboli


2 teaspoons dry yeast
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt


1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup shredded smoked mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 clove garlic minced
1 egg
oil for brushing
  1. Mix yeast, sugar and one tablespoon whole wheat flour over warm water for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix egg, oil, salt, yeast mixture and remaining whole wheat flour until well blended.
  3. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour gradually (add ½ cup at a time until a soft sticky dough forms, you may not need the full amount of flour called for)
  4. Knead dough about 1 minute, place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Mix all filling ingredients until completely coated with the egg.  Refrigerate.
  6. Roll into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle.
  7. Spread filling over dough in an even layer leaving a 1 inch border all around.
  8. Roll up jelly roll fashion, pinch ends and tuck under.
  9. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
  10. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  11. Brush top with olive oil, prick all over with a fork.  Bake 15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree F oven then reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.


Oops! don't forget the garlic


Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • Be prepared for cheese to erupt from Stromboli and forever remember that there really is an erupting volcano on the island of Stromboli.
  • This loaf freezes very well, just defrost and heat through before slicing and serving.
  • Smoked Provolone works as well as Smoked Mozzarella.
  • For a less bread like more crusty loaf skip the second rising of 30 minutes and bake right away.
  • The cheese that erupts on to the pan caramelizes and is absolutely delicious!
  • Plan a trip to the island of Stromboli.


  1. elizabeth, who wishes she lived on an islandJanuary 13, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    That is SO funny about this bread's origin. I personally have always loved when the cheese has burst out, it just means there is too much flavour to keep it all in. Plus, there's no simpler pleasure in life than to enjoy the baked cheese pieces that arrive on the outside.

    I'll have to try this someday and maybe add in a few variations of my own. I'll call it the Island of Norah.

    PS. I'll go to Stomboli island - you paying?

    1. Let me know what variation you come up with.
      Unfortunately, your Stromboli adventure will have to be in the kitchen as I am only prepared to pay for Norah's ticket!!

    2. elizabeth, who loves norah the catJanuary 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Sorry, he doesn't travel without me. You know how upset he gets when he has to spend time away from his dearest human! My, this is an interesting conversation for a food blog!

  2. This looks delicious - can't wait to try it out! We too did not eat Stromboli growing up but I have tried it out at restaurants and was on the search for a good recipe.

    1. Hello Michael,
      So good to hear from you!
      Can you imagine being deprived of Stromboli for most of our lives?
      Fortunately we can now enjoy it for the rest of our lives!