There are many, many different kinds of pizza. In Naples, the original pizza featured dough, sauce, and basil, nothing else, while in New York, we’re all familiar with the floppy, thin-based pizza of that city. In Detroit, they made pizza in factory parts, resulting in a crispy deep-dish.
Pizza, it seems, is a necessity of modern life. We’ll make pizza to fit any situation. Yet we can’t talk about the near-infinite variety of different types of pizza without talking about the different types of pizza crusts.
Whether you’re a fan of the deep-dish or the stuffed crust, you’ll know that crust maketh the pizza. Without a good crust, you may as well be eating a bowl of marinara sauce.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the different kinds of pizza crust that you may find on a culinary world tour, and what makes them special. Are you ready to learn more? Then read on!
The Neapolitan Crust
Let’s start with the most traditional kind of crust that there is, the Neapolitan crust. Neapolitan pizza comes with a wide array of toppings these days, but the crust hasn’t changed much since it was first created.
A good Neapolitan crust should have a bit of a crunch to it, almost like biting into a cracker. A great pizzeria will achieve this crust by making sure that the dough is rolled out very thinly before it’s put in the oven. The dough should only be around a tenth of an inch thick in the middle: combine this with the incredible heat of a wood-fired pizza oven and you can see where that crunch comes from!
If you’re talking about truly authentic Italian pizza, it needs to have a Neapolitan crust, no question.
The New York Crust
NYC is home to a huge number of Italian-Americans, so it’s no surprise that the New York-style crust is very closely related to the Neapolitan crust. However, while the Neapolitan crust has a fair bit of crunch to it, the New York crust is crispy without going crunchy and retains a lot of fluffiness that the Neapolitan crust doesn’t.
New York pizza’s distinctive flavor comes down to, some claim, the specific minerals that you find in New York City tap water. However, this is fairly questionable, and it’s more likely that the distinct flavors and textures of New York pizza dough actually come down to the cooks that make it, instead, as you can find amazing pizza like it across the nation, as wiseguypizzapie.com shows.
We move from one massive Italian-American community to another that takes a very different approach to making pizza. Chicago-style pizza is much, much deeper than other kinds, and is much more like a pie than the “pizza pies” that you’ll find elsewhere.
First, the dough is made and parbaked in a pie dish, before around two inches of toppings are added onto the base. Then a second layer of dough is added on top, and sauce is ladled on. Then the pizza is baked again!
The crust is incredible on a good Chicago pizza. The pan is oiled, which slightly fries the crust and gives it a crispness that you don’t find anywhere else. Semolina is also sometimes added.
The crust on a Chicago pizza is buttery, crisp, and thick.
Pan Pizza Crust
Pan pizza is a deep-dish that’s not as deep as a Chicago pizza and normally not as buttery. If you order a deep-dish pizza in most restaurants, what you’ll get is a pan pizza.
It’s the thinnest of the deep-dish pizzas and is as standard as they come, so let’s move on.
If you order a Sicilian pizza, do you know what to expect? The answer may well be “no,” despite the massive number of Sicilian-Americans. Sicilian pizza is also known as sfincione and is a deep-dish pizza that boasts a very bready dough, with a crunchy crust.
When you take a look at a sfincione, you could be forgiven for thinking that it looks like focaccia, and indeed, it is pretty similar. Another distinctive characteristic of a Sicilian pizza is that the cheese is usually under the sauce. It acts as a protective layer and keeps the dough from getting too soggy.
Greek pizza is a massive phenomenon among Greek communities in the United States, and it has a very distinctive crust. It sits between thin crust pizza and pan pizza in terms of thickness, while also having a somewhat similar flavor profile to Chicago-style crust.
This is because, while it’s baked in a much thinner pan than pizza from the Windy City, the pans are still oiled, resulting in a crispy, fried base. However, the crust itself is a lot chewier, which results in a very interesting mix of textures!
St. Louis Crust
St. Louis crust is very similar to Neapolitan crust. This pizza isn’t made with yeast, which means that the dough is a lot crisper, thinner, and more like a flatbread than other kinds of pizzas that we’ve mentioned thus far.
The pizza is normally cut into large rectangles, rather than triangles, and also features a sweeter tomato sauce that complements the thin crust beautifully.
There Are Many Types of Pizza Crust: Which Is Your Favorite?
There are many types of pizza crusts that we’ve not had the space to talk about so far. However, we hope that this article has shown you how diverse the world of pizza really is!
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