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Pizza is one of the most devoured foods right now, but do you know what makes it so yummy? Yes, the cheese, sauces, and favorite toppings contribute, but one of the most important components that give the pizza its unique flavor is the crust. A crust may vary according to preparation, baking time, thickness, and topping selection giving the pizza a unique texture, taste, and appearance and makes the experience more enjoyable.
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The crust is like a foundation on which sauces, toppings, and cheese assortments are added to make a pizza enjoyable. Crusts are made with varying measurements of ingredients like flour, yeast, water, salt, oil, sugar (needed for caramelization) and sometimes infused with herbs or spices. Depending on the quantities of ingredients used, crusts acquire a unique taste, texture, and the ability to hold toppings. Some popular types of crusts are as follows:
1.Thin crust Pizza
The hand-kneaded dough is considered to be the ‘original’ Italian pizza that originated in Naples. It is cooked in a wood-fired oven and is available in Margherita, Neapolitan, New-York styles. The authentic flavor is obtained from high-gluten or unleavened wheat flour. The crust is light with wide segments that give the pizza a crispy texture and soft interior.
2. Classic hand-tossed Pizza
The traditional medium-thick crust is hand-tossed to spread the soft dough and cook it to perfection easily. The hand-stretched crust is often crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy inside. At times, two layers of dough are placed on top of each other (toppings and filled within two layers like a sandwich) to create a dense effect.
3. Thick crust Pizza
The browned texture and soft center are obtained using cornmeal and semolina. The crust is pan/deep-fried to create a unique buttery effect and is more than half an inch thick. It can hold a generous amount of toppings and cheeses. This crust is used for traditional pan, deep dish (Chicago style), Sicilian styles, etc.
4. Flatbread crust Pizza
Flattened dough without yeast is used to make light, airy flatbread crusts or unleavened bread. This crust is usually appropriate for personal-sized pizzas that are made with fewer toppings. These are made in gourmet styles with trendy toppings like fresh basil and balsamic sauce complementing the sophisticated crust.
5. Wood-fired crunchy crusts Pizza
A high temperature-regulated wood fire oven is used to give a smoky taste and light char to the crust. These crusts are made with unleavened dough and are spread thin enough to create a cracker-like crunch. This trend is popularly known as St. Louis style and is rather cut into rectangles, unlike the usual pie slices.
6. Focaccia Pizza
Focaccia is made with thick, bready dough infused with herbs, brushed with olive oil, and then baked. To highlight the crust’s unique flavor and texture, nominal toppings are used with cheese, herbs, and spices. This crust is specifically used to create meal accompaniments of appetizers with savory flavors.
7. Gluten-free crusts Pizza
Nowadays, people are becoming aware of allergies caused by gluten in the diet; hence, they opt for a gluten-free crust made with water, yeast, and ingredients/combinations like barley, soy, rice, tapioca, etc. At times, the crust is made without flour and starchy produce, including ingredients like chicken or boiled cauliflower that are mashed and spread to form a thin crust.
8. Vegan-friendly Pizza
People who are sensitive to dairy products or other animal derivatives tend to lean towards vegan-friendly alternatives. These are made with traditional ingredients, but the cheese is substituted with oils and herbs that give extra flavor to the crust.
9. Coated and stuffed crusts Pizza
If cheese toppings do not satiate your cravings, you can ask the pizzeria to stuff cheese inside the crust. This gives a gooey, rich crust that bursts with yummy liquid cheese once you rip it open. You can also order bready crusts that are coated with garlic, parmesan, and other glazes.
10. Customized crusts Pizza
In addition to the crusts listed above, you can ask the pizzeria to make crusts according to specific preferences like those with gluten-free flour, no yeast, or toppings that include starchy fibrous vegetables, cheese mixtures, etc. Crusts with toasted cheese, garlic butter, honey sriracha, garlic parmesan, etc. are also made specifically to create unique and flavorful recipes.
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