We speak to pizza maker Feng Chen about all things dough

Feng Chen is a pizza maker based in Bangkok and is the brains behind Instagram account @leopardcrust. Having worked around the world from Melbourne to Bangkok and Tokyo, she combines classic Italian practices with unique ingredients from various food cultures to craft her own specialty pizza combinations. Her weird and wonderful varieties range from steak and eggs pizza to Thai sausage pizza. 

During a visit to Kuala Lumpur in the beginning of 2023, she shares five lesser known facts about the beloved comfort food. 

See also: 15 new restaurants, cafés and bars in Malaysia to try in January 2023

It's all in the dough

Toppings may get all the glory on a pizza menu, but every pizza maker knows that the dough makes or breaks a pizza. Even if you are the kind of pizza eater that leaves the crust, the pizza base is a flavour multiplier for the toppings sitting above. A flavoursome base makes your favourite toppings even more irresistible!

See also: The art of cheesemaking: How a husband and wife duo craft over 140 unusual varieties of cheese

Pizza is not junk food

Traditionally, pizza is handmade to order without artificial ingredients or preservatives. In fact, pizza dough has only four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. Artisanal pizza takes more time and effort than their commercial cousins, but the final product is healthier, tastier, and won't leave you feeling heavy.

See also: A food lover's guide to Bangkok

You get what you pay for

Ever wondered why you pay more for artisanal pizza? In addition to the physical labour required to make the dough from scratch and the cost of powering a special pizza oven, the price difference is caused by the cost of quality ingredients, especially the cheese. High quality cheese and tomato sauce do not require additives or flavour enhancers to taste luscious. 

In fact, tomato sauce made using the most sought-after tomatoes in the pizza world, DOP San Marzano tomatoes, typically have nothing else, except a bit of salt, added to the sauce to avoid masking the balanced, natural flavours of this special tomato.

See also: How these Malaysian illustrators showcase the allure of local food

Look beneath the surface

Next time you have pizza, take a peek underneath! A pale and doughy underside indicates that the pizza could have been cooked longer or at a higher temperature on the base. A perfectly baked pizza should be caramelised beneath. The flavour payoff is akin to the difference between untoasted and toasted bread

See also: Editor's picks: The best meals we ate in 2022

High risk, high reward

Authentic Neapolitan pizza bakes in just 60 to 90 seconds at oven temperatures of up to 480°C. With unwavering concentration, pizza chefs watch each pizza in the oven like a hawk as every second matters at the end of the bake. 

Despite the higher risk of failure, baking pizza at such a high heat creates a soft, fluffy crust with a golden-brown outer layer. These fine details define Neapolitan pizza-making as an art form which is gaining recognition across the world. As a matter of fact, the art of Neapolitan pizza makers is listed as a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage!

NOW READ

Elevate the plate: 7 local garnish brands you need to know

How to make a stunning charcuterie board at home

Jennifer Too ushers in a prosperous new year with Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Tatler Asia
© 2023 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.