So, I know this guy who really likes Hot Pockets. You know, the microwaveable pockets of bread filled with delicious stuff? Meal in your hand? Yes, he likes them a lot. But I worry about him… his favorite foods are Hot Pockets and beer, and I can’t bring myself to approve of that diet! Trans fat, saturated fat, preservatives… Hot Pockets, and freezer food in general, are full of chemicals and artery-clogging cholesterol. But I know he loves them, so I wanted to prove that you can have an on-the-go bachelor food for cheap, made from wholesome ingredients.
So, because I know he loves them, I want to offer my homemade hot pocket to him. I know he usually uses butter in his cooking, and here I used oil… but regardless of which one you choose, some butter or oil is needed for the dough. Hot Pockets usually taste better with butter, he’ll say, but I say, olive oil is better for you.
Now, this guy I know, he doesn’t cook much. Apparently he can make a mean pot of beans (but I’ll believe it when I see it), and likes to microwave carrots. So I’ve made the following recipe extra easy for him – you can either make the dough yourself, or you can just buy refridgerated biscuit dough and put in your own filling. Regardless, these can be frozen; just wrap in a paper towel and heat up in the microwave until hot.
Friend – I made your favorite! Pepperoni and cheese. I left a dozen frozen in a cooler on your doorstep, along with a case of Heineken. One step at a time. (Your next step is to give me a special hug to thank me.)
Homemade Hot Pockets
For the dough:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- tomato sauce (I used store-bought, but if you have the time, you could use home-made as well)
- onions, cooked until tender
- bell pepper, cooked until tender
- mozzerella (I used shredded part-skim)
- Any other delicious fillings that you can come up with
For the dough:
Check the temperature of the water – it should be warm but not hot. Add the yeast to the water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. The yeast/water mixture will smell like bread, with top notes of old socks. Here’s what mine looked like:
Add the salt and oil to the water/yeast mixture. Add flour in one 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as each addition of flour is made. Add flour until the dough comes together and is not sticky. (NOTE: Add flour in small doses as the dough comes together. I ended up having about a cup of flour left that I didn’t use, but you may need more or less flour, depending on the many varied scientific factors of bread making, which we won’t go into right now.)
Knead bread until it is smooth and elastic – about 5 minutes. Here is my method for kneading (also used for kneading clay for pottery, and other things):
1. Lay dough on a clean surface. I can’t seem to get my counter clean, so my clean surface = Silpat.
2. Press the dough between flat hands, like you are about to clap for an excellent performance:
3. Press down with one hand, smoothing the dough away from you.
Do this for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Put the dough into a bowl and drizzle the top of the dough with olive oil; flip dough so that all sides are coated with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise until double its size.
While dough is rising, sweat down the onions, peppers, and anything else that needs to be cooked before being put into the Pockets.
When dough has adequately risen, press into a rectangle, and divide into approximately 8 pieces. I found a shape of about 8 inches long by 6 inches tall worked well for me. I found that if you oil your knife with a smidge of olive oil, it won’t stick to the dough while you’re cutting it.
Alternatively, for all the bachelors reading the Kitchenette (I know you’re out there) you could totally skip the whole bread-making part of this recipe and use refridgerated biscuit dough. But let me remind you, the ladies always fall for a man that can cook. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a little kneading every once in a while?
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put filling ingredients in the center of each piece of dough. Bring the dough on the right side of the filling over towards the middle, and pinch the bottom and top borders of the dough towards the center (see below). Then fold over the dough from the left side of the filling towards the middle, and pinch shut.
Repeat on each parcel of dough. Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet (alternatively you can use a Silpat or foil, but parchment works the best, I think). Carefully pick up each Pocket and turn over, laying the Pocket on the baking sheet seam-side-down. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for approximately 17-20 minutes, or until bread is crusty. If you would like, whisk together an egg and some water, and brush over the top – your Pockets will be golden brown on top.
If you wish to freeze these for later use, let Pockets cool, and freeze. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil, and store in coldest part of the freezer.
Now I’m going to get started on the muffins he likes… he asked for at least a dozen. Banana Nut, I think.
Playing in the Kitchenette: R. Kelly/I Don’t See Nothing Wrong (Bump ‘N Grind)