Sourdough Stromboli Swirls

As I venture into the world of sourdough I am discovering some new wonderful recipes and Stromboli swirls is one of them!

Being Italian I have always associated Stromboli with a small volcanic island off Sicily; however I have lately discovered that “stromboli” is also a rolled dough filled with Italian cheeses and deli cuts, but mostly cheese to create a gooey volcanic eruption. It is not surprising at all that this wrap of deliciousness was invented by Italian immigrant’s descendants in Philadelphia (USA) in the 50’s, as are many other “interesting” Italian-American dishes that I have come to discover since marrying my husband!

As well as being delicious this recipe is great for many reasons, first is very easy to make and second it lets your imagination go wild with the fillings and lastly the swirls taste like mini rolled pizza but yummier.

Perhaps the only downside is that it take three days to make them, mostly spent waiting for the elements to do their bit, but they are totally worth the wait!

The original recipe, by the fantastic Kevan Roberts from Bread Ahead bakery in London, calls for an active starter refreshed at least 8 hours before being used, but I made it with a 48 hours old discard and they came out just as good! I also made mine fully vegetarian and (cow) dairy free by using a sun-dried tomatoes, truffle pecorino cheese and basil.

All in all these are the quintessential comfort food!

This recipe makes about 9 stromboli swirls or one long stromboli.


Day 1 – Make the Poolish

  • 50g Cold water
  • 30g Liquid starter
  • 50g Strong white bread flour

Day 2 – Mix the dough

  • Poolish from above
  • 125g Cold water
  • 250g Strong white bread flour
  • 14g Salt

Day 3 – Bake the stromboli

  • 100g Sun-dried tomatoes (blended to make a paste)
  • 100g Pecorino cheese (grated)
  • Basil as much as you want
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Day 1 – Make the Poolish

1. Mix the starter and the water in a bowl until dissolved

The starter does not need to be super active as it will be sued to make the poolish pre-fermentation so one can use a refresh discard. I would recommend not using a discard that is older than 48 hours.

2. Add the flour and mix until nicely combined

3. Cover it, let it out at room temperature for eight hours and the put it in the fridge for 12-24 hours

Day 2 – Mix the dough

1. Take the poolish out of the fridge, add the water to the bowl and mix until dissolved

2. Add the flour and salt to the mixture and mix to form a dough

3. Put the dough on the bench and knead it energetically until it’s nice and elastic

4. Shape the dough in a ball, put it back in the bowl and cover it. Let is out at room temperature for one hour before putting it in the fridge for 24 hours

Day 3 – Bake the stromboli

1. Take the dough out of the fridge. While still in the bowl, dust it with some flour and push the flour down along the sides of the bowl with a scraper. This will help taking the dough out of the bowl

2. Take the dough out of the bowl onto a floured bench and roll it out to a rectangular shape with a rolling pin.

Use plenty of flour on the bench and the dough when rolling it out. The rectangle should measure 43cm x 30cm.

3. Once the dough is nicely rolled out, delicately remove any excess flour from the dough (below and above the dough) with a brush or your hands.

4. Spread the sun-dried tomatoes paste all over the dough, leaving about half a centimetre at the top and bottom edge, cover evenly with the truffle pecorino cheese and finish off with basil leaves

5. Wet the top and bottom edges of the dough using your fingers, then start rolling the dough tightly. Once it is all rolled in a sausage shape, pinch and tuck in the edges so to make them smooth and roll it up and down on the bench as if it was a rolling pin.

When rolling the dough, make sure you lift it slightly before rolling it over, this will prevent the dough to break.

6. Cut the sausage shaped stromboli in equal pieces measuring about 5cm each.

Make sure you cut each piece with one sharp guillotine style cut to avoid breaking the dough

8. Put the pieces on a baking tray, squash them a bit with your hand, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, cover with cling film and leave it to rest at room temperature for two hours

9. Pre-heat the oven at 200C Fan. When the two hours are up, bake the swirls for about 15 minutes or longer until nice and brown on the top.

10. When ready take them out of the oven and let them cool trying to resist the temptation to eat them right away!

You can fill them with passata, ham, cheese, mozzarella, pesto, mushrooms and anything that takes your fancy. Just make sure that there is some sort of cheese to ensure you have the volcanic melting effect.

These can be frozen either uncooked or once cooked. If frozen uncooked, make sure they are fully defrosted and are at room temperature before baking them.

If you want to make one big single stromboli, roll out the dough to a rectangle measuring 25cm x 30cm, fill it and roll it as per steps 2-5, make incisions on the top to allow the cheese volcanic effect, let it rest for 2 hours and bake at 200C Fan for 20 minutes.

They are perfect for a pic nic or for lunch with a side salad!!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and using the tag #prepandproperrecipes and #nofoodinthebin

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