Friday Bread Basket 4/15/22
Good Pizza Friday edition
Heya from the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. This week’s email is an attempt to catch up with a backlog of interesting pizza-related items.
I loved Tejal Rao’s love-letter to Pizzeria Sei, a Los Angeles-based, Japanese-influenced, Neo-Neapolitan pizzeria run by two South Koreans. I was especially excited by the look of the pies, which are clearly made using a super-hydrated, highly active dough, in order to yield a puffy, shaggy rim. This style of pizza was invented in Japan, by Susumu Kakinuma, of Tokyo’s Seirinkan:
Mr. Kakinuma modeled the pizzas he made back in Tokyo on Neapolitan pizzas, but not too strictly — he used Italian tomatoes and cheeses, but Japanese flour. He sauced lightly. He took the tradition of throwing salt into the oven farther, making it part of his seasoning process, and he shaped the dough differently, wrinkling it so it puffed into soft, starlike tips.
This is a sort of pie you can really only make in a high-temperature oven, since it needs to cook fast and hot to remain light, with all that water. I’m excited to fire up my Ooni and experiment with it once temperatures warm up enough.
Friend to Wordloaf and Pizza for Everyone mastermind John Carruthers lays out all the reasons why and the details on how you should be deep-frying your pizza:
As always, we turn our eyes to the authentic, ancestral home of pizza: Scotland. There is a well-documented history of frying pizza over there (both battered and totally nakey), and my deep fryer has had this coming since the very moment I learned about it.
He makes the point that this is something you would want to do to elevate average slices, not superlative ones. John’s post now has me wanting to make a New Haven/Essex-style fried clam pie soon.
That Obscure Object of Desi
SF Chronicle’s Soleil Ho wrote about how Indian pizza — pizza topped with Indian sauces and ingredients — has not yet lived up to its potential as a mash-up of two of the world’s great cuisines:
[Shah] finds this understandable from a practical perspective: “The people doing this often own Indian restaurants already and are mostly taking prep leftovers and turning it into pizza.” And while it’s delicious in its own way, she concedes, the scene needs more people who are equally devoted to the craft of pizza as they are to the craft of South Asian cuisine.
Hopefully Ho’s article is just the sort of incentive Indian pizza folks need to up their game.
Sometimes Instagram’s algorithm serves up things I can actually use, and this video from Brooklyn and New Jersey’s Krispy Pizza is definitely one of them. You can’t embed Instagram reels here, so instead you get the above image, which is nearly as sexy as the pie in the link.
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend, see you next week.
Definitely also worth looking at the Tokyo pies from Savoy and Pizza Studio Tamaki! The Azabujuban and Higashiazabu locations, respectively, of those pizzerias have customer seating right next to the pizzaiolo's bench, and there is often IG tagged video of the shaping and pinching that results in the unique shape. The head pizzaiolo at Savoy, @angie.mieux on IG, is also often tagged in videos of his technique.
Okay, now I'm wallowing in vacation memories...