Monday, March 29, 2010

American-Style Pizza in South Korea

South Korea has Italian restaurants. South Korea has pizza restaurants. South Korea has Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and even a place called Mr. Pizza (slogan -- "Mr. Pizza: Love for Women")

What South Korea lacks?

Good -- or even decent -- New York-style pizza.


Make it myself, obvi.

Wanna get in on the pizza fun? Here's how.

* about 2.5 hours before dinnertime
* an oven, preferably one that has a "broil" setting
* a baking sheet, tile, or pizza stone
* this stuff:

1 3/4 c warm (not hot) water
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
4 c bread flour or all-purpose flour (plus extra)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Oil for the bowl


1. Set oven to lowest setting 10 minutes, then turn oven off.

2. Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and stir with wooden spoon/hands until mixture forms cohesive mass. If the dough is super sticky, add a handful more flour. Let rest for 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, lay down some plastic wrap on a flat surface, and throw some flour on it (this'll make it a snap to clean up post-kneading). Knead the dough by hand on floured work surface for a couple minutes, until it's smooth and tough. Form a smooth-ish ball of dough (it doesn't have to be perfect).

4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put bowl in warm oven. Let rise for 50 minutes (it should ~ double in size).

5. Preheat oven to highest setting, 250C/500 F/ broiler if possible. Take the dough out, punch it down (like, press down on the bloated dough to release excess air). Let it rest for 5-10 minutes under damp dish towel.

6. Take about 1/5 of the dough, and roll or stretch it out to a 10-12"ish round. (Or square. Or whatever. It's pizza, it's gonna be tasty in any shape - just make sure it's super thin.) Flour the pizza stone/baking sheet, and place dough round on top. Top with a ladle full of sauce and an inappropriate amount of cheese, plus whatever other goodies you've got on hand.

7. Proceed to cook topped pizza in preheated superhot oven. If you've got a broiler, you're looking at about 7 minutes until crust is well done and cheese is completely melted. If not, it'll take a little longer - use the oven light, don't open the oven, to check on it.

Pictures here.

PS: You can buy tomato sauce, but making it yourself takes about 5 minutes and it's way better.

1. Mince a couple cloves of garlic (or just buy minced garlic in the fridge section of Emart/Home Plus). Put a tablespoon in a pan with like 1/4 cup olive oil on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
2. Add 2 cans of tomatoes (I used 1 can crushed + 1 can diced, but use whatever)
3. Add salt, pepper, and whatever Italian spices you've got on hand (I had oregano, basil, parsley and thyme)

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