Hot Grilled Cheese Pockets
The other day, my pizza dough just wouldn’t rise. I was set on homemade pizza for dinner, so I started a second batch seeded with a way bigger spoonful of yeast. Refusing to believe that my pizza dinner dream wouldn’t somehow bubble into reality, I put my two bowls of unrisen dough by the radiator and went for a walk. I was hoping that the watched-pot-never-boils truism would apply to bowls of flour with stunted yeast, too.
When I got back, the doughs–both of them–were bubbling. Pizza failure was averted. But now I had extra dough. I put bowl #2 in the fridge, and two days later, I decided I’d better do something with it.
In most grilled cheese sandwiches, the bread matters, of course. But the quality and freshness of the slices aren’t the most important factor in the quality of the finished sandwich. Leave that to medium-low heat and a generous pat of butter (here’s how to make a perfect grilled cheese).
But what if the bread were perfect too? What if it were chewy, fragrant, salty, and stretchy, like just-pulled-from-the-oven focaccia? And, while we’re at it, what if the cheese were cooked right inside?
You can guess what happened next: I took all the cheeses out from my cheese drawer, combined provolone with mozzarella and a little cheddar. I pulled my dough, now a wind fall, not a burden, out of the fridge and stretched pieces into small rectangles. I filled each with my three cheeses, and folded them over into pockets. Last, I brushed the outsides with butter, sprinkled them with coarse salt, and baked them in a hot oven until I had golden, oozing, fresh grilled cheese pockets. Though the whole activity happened by chance, the results were so good and so easy (once you have dough made) that I had to post about them here.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1¼ cups water
- About 1¼ cups grated cheese--one kind or several mixed together. Only thing: don't overdo it on the fresh mozzarella, since it'll get watery. But a little bit is fine!
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Flour for shaping
- Coarse kosher or sea salt
- Either the night before or the morning of, grab a large bowl, and mix together the flour, ⅛ teaspoons yeast (if the night before) and ¼ teaspoon (if the morning of), salt, and water with a spoon. It won't look very manageable, but don't worry! Leave for either 22 hours or 10 to 12 hours, until bubbly and doubled.
- Divide the risen dough into 6 equal balls.
- Push each ball into a roughly 8-by-4 inch rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Arrange about 3 tablespoons of grated cheese on top of one half. Fold the second half back over and seal as best you can. If you want to be sure no cheese comes out, make little pleats, sealing as you go. Brush the tops with the butter and sprinkle with the salt.
- Repeat with the remaining balls of dough and the cheese. You'll need a second baking sheet.
- Bake each pocket for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top is deep golden brown. It's okay if a little cheese leaks out. Cool for 1 minute, then cut in half and serve.