My mom used to make pizza pockets for me to bring in my lunchbox. It was my favorite lunch to get. I make them now for my own kids and they are as popular as ever. You could put any toppings you want on the inside, though pepperoni is our favored classic. I use the cut ‘n’ seal from Pampered Chef to make mine, but you could easily use a round cookie cutter and pinch the edges yourself. They make for a handy on-the-go meal and only require about 30 seconds in the microwave (or just eat cold). They are freezeable so you can make huge batches and stock up. Goodbye hot pockets, hello homemade good stuff. The recipe, as written, makes about 2 dozen.
2 cups warm milk
2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
5 – 5 1/2 cups flour
Filling (per pocket)
1 tablespoon marinara sauce
1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese, shredded
Other Filling Ideas
Red peppers, Pineapple, Sweet and Sour Sauce, Mozzarella
Shredded Chicken, BBQ Sauce, Cilantro, Mozzarella
Shredded Chicken, Frank’s Hot Sauce, Mozzarella
Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, Cheddar
1. In a large bowl combine warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in salt, butter, egg, and flour. If using a stand mixer, mix at medium speed for about 5 minutes. If making by hand (which is actually what I do), knead the dough mixture until well combined and dough is smooth and pliable. Add more flour if it is too sticky to work with.
3. Spray a large mixing bowl with a nonstick cooking spray. Put the dough in the bowl and cover it with a clean dish towel. Let rise 60-90 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one of the divided pieces and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inches thick. Use your cut’n’seal or cookie cutter to lightly mark a row of circles at the bottom of the rectangle. The top half of the rectangle will be folded over to cover the bottom so make sure there is enough dough to do so.
5. Place desired toppings in the center of the circles. Fold the top, unmarked section of the rectangle dough over the circles. Use a cut’n’seal or cookie cutter to cut out round pockets and make sure edges are pinched shut. Continue with all remaining dough until none is left. Place finished hot pockets onto a baking sheet lightly coated with nonstick spray.
6. Bake hot pockets in a 375 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.
What does it mean when a dough recipe calls for warm water or warm milk? How warm does it need to be? What happens if it is too cold? What happens if it is too hot? These are great questions.
If the liquid is too cold, your yeast may not grow which means your bread will not rise.
If the liquid is too hot, your yeast will be killed which means your bread will not rise.
When I first started making doughs I had a few mishaps with temperatures. The rule of thumb is that the temperature of the liquid should be like a warm bath. Here’s the thing, I take my baths pretty hot which meant going by this rule of thumb made me end up killing my yeast. My personal rule of thumb is to make the liquid about body temperature. If I stick my finger in and it feels neither cold, nor hot against my skin then it is probably fine.
If you find that your dough isn’t rising and worry that your liquid may have been too cold, a trick you can use is to heat your oven to its lowest setting (mine is 175) and then turn it off. Place your mixing bowl full of dough into the oven and leave the door open a crack. Just be cautious of any children or animals that could curiously reach in to the warm oven. This should produce enough heat to get your dough a rising.