This section contains the best material. If we were to investigate every crust type, their worldwide variants, and their regional variations in the United States, we would likely be here all day. Instead, we will examine a specific selection of crusts and pizza styles that best show the range in flavour, texture, and pizza integrity you may anticipate encountering as we examine the variances. These are not sorted by quality, but (mainly) from thinnest to thickest crusts, with each crust thickness categorised.
When one thinks about thin-crust pizza, the phrase “flop factor” commonly comes to mind (i.e. the tendency for a crust to flop and then retain its shape). Thin crust is usually regarded as the first style of crust to popularise pizza on a worldwide scale, and it has become the de facto standard for pizza. There are a variety of various textures and taste characteristics in thin-crust pizza, ensuring that everyone will find something to their liking.
New Haven Style
This is one of the list’s most unique entries. The New Haven-style pizza, sometimes known as “pizza” among residents, differs greatly from the conventional East Coast pizza, which is typically soggy. First, it is often formed unevenly, neither a perfect sphere nor rectangle, as a result of the incredibly thin dough being carefully spread out before being baked in a coal-fired oven. The crust is undoubtedly the thinnest and crunchiest on this list, but don’t mistake it for being brittle; the lightning-fast cook time at high heat provides a lovely char without over-drying the dough.
St. Louis Style
St. Louis-style pizza has a number of appealing characteristics. The distinctive cheese mix known as the proven blend, which consists of white cheddar, swiss, and provolone cheese, is one of the first things that people notice. Additionally, the crust, which is unleavened, will be the feature that people notice most (i.e. devoid of yeast). Some even refer to the crust’s texture as “cracker-like” due to its crispiness and lack of flexibility. Because of this, a St. Louis-style pizza is typically sliced “tavern style” (i.e. into rectangles).
Before the turn of the 20th century, this form of pizza certainly contributed to pizza’s global popularity. After the unification of Italy in 1889, it was served to King Umberto I and Queen Margherita when they visited Naples. After the queen, this pizza type became known as “pizza Margherita.” This crust is well-known for its flaccidity and the dark bubbles that are (on purpose) dispersed irregularly between the outer layer and the underneath.
Only yeast, flour, water, and salt are used to make the dough, which is quite simple. A genuine Neapolitan pizza is cooked in an actual wood-fired oven for around 90 seconds at temperatures above 800 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a basic dough that takes careful skill and attention (or, more importantly, to not burn!).
New York Style
According to many, this pizza style is the best of the best. It is the form of pizza most frequently shown in the media and the one most commonly offered by pizza businesses. When people think of a standard New York slice, they see its enormous size and the wonderful flop factor that allows for the signature pizza fold. In comparison to a Neapolitan-style crust, a New York-style crust is substantially thicker and cooked for a longer amount of time – around 15 to 20 minutes on average.
In addition to basic pizza dough ingredients such as flour, water, yeast, and salt, a New York-style dough additionally benefits from oil and sugar. The sugar and oil contribute to browning while the dough is cooked at comparably lower temperatures, and the browning is also uniform, which is still another characteristic that distinguishes this style from a Neapolitan.
A thick crust is often rectangular (but not necessarily), and it is distinguished as the crust form best able to support large quantities of delectable toppings. Moreover, despite the fact that each of the above crusts would receive an “A+” for pizza integrity, their great tastes and textures cannot be overlooked. From the buttery crust of Chicago’s deep-dish pizza to the crispy-on-the-outside, the chewy-on-the-inside crust of Detroit and Sicilian varieties, there are several convincing reasons for the increased popularity of thick crust throughout the United States.
In addition to being the pizza of choice on a normal cheat day for Duane “The Rock” Johnson, the double-dough version is utilised by a growing number of take-and-bake eateries on the west coast and is gaining in popularity. A double dough crust consists of two dough layers stacked on top of one another. The result is a thicker crust that is less dense than if made from a single ball of dough.
There are also other varieties of this, most notably the stuffed-crust variety. This can be reproduced by sandwiching topping between two layers of dough and then topping with cheese, but it is most commonly reflected by stuffing cheese into the outside border of the crust and placing a top layer of dough directly on top. This is the sort of piece that is best served with the crust on the bottom.
This is the most common style of “deep-dish” or “pan pizza” that you are probably already acquainted with. The preparation of a Sicilian pizza crust is rather straightforward, and it is created in a stand mixer at home and in many restaurants. Its dough is distinguished by a high oil and water concentration, which may seem odd together, but when combined with flour and yeast, it produces a tasty, airy crust. The dough is cooked on a substantial-depth baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil.
The Detroit-style crust is developed on the Sicilian style, but the pan used to bake the crust as well as the slightly greater hydration and lower oil level distinguish it. According to Michigan lore, the first Detroit-style pizza was made in a blue-steel container meant to house nuts and bolts at an automobile plant. This pan is similar to cast iron in that it can attain extremely high temperatures in a short amount of time. In fact, doughs cooked in such pans end up with an extraordinarily crisp bottom layer and a light and airy inside.
The two components of a Chicago deep-dish pizza that stand out most to many people are the mountains of mozzarella cheese and chunky tomato sauce that are unconventionally placed on top of the pie. However, the crust is equally as distinctive and crucial (if not more so) to establishing the distinctive taste characteristics for which the Chicago pie is renowned.
The crust of a deep-dish meal requires a bit of protection because it cooks for up to 45 minutes. The cast iron skillet in which the dough is cooked is first greased and buttered; then, once the dough has been spread, topping and cheese are put on top, followed by a layer of tomato sauce to insulate the ingredients. As the crust develops throughout the lengthy baking process, it actually absorbs the lipids released by the toppings and cheese on top, which not only prevents the crust from burning but also imparts a tantalising golden hue.
Flatbread and focaccia bread pizzas are typically offered at bistros, cafés, and restaurants with a focus on small plates. This kind of pizza is frequently misunderstood to be part of a “new wave” or trend in the pizza world. Some documents indicate that ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks, and ancient Romans ate flatbread pizza. Incredible!
A focaccia-style crust is a sort of flatbread pizza that highlights the bread’s airiness and garlic flavour. The end portions of a focaccia-style crust are ideal for dipping, as their light, airy feel is similar to that of breadsticks.
These crusts are of the avant-garde sort. These doughs are often flourless and/or yeastless and can consist of anything from just cheese to certain starchier or fibre-rich vegetables and other gluten-free and vegan-friendly components. When pizza cravings strike, these are the crusts to seek out if you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, or if you’re vegan.
As consumers become more aware of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, the food sector is also becoming more attentive. Gluten-free pizza doughs are composed of conventional elements such as water and yeast but are bonded with gluten-free flour. A flour is termed gluten-free if it is not the byproduct of wheat or barley, which, as it turns out, describes a tonne of different components! Gluten-free pizza dough can often be produced with flours derived from soy, rice, garbanzo beans, tapioca, or a variety of their combinations. Compared to wheat-flour crusts, gluten-free crusts are likely to be significantly heavier and less malleable; hence, they are designed almost solely for thin-crust pizzas.
To produce a gluten-free crust, one might, instead, omit flour completely. Using cooked cauliflower (or sometimes even potato) that has been “riced” into a mash, you may combine it with parmesan cheese, oil, water, and herbs to produce a delicious, spreadable mixture that functions as a thin-crust dough for baking. The texture is unusual, yet the crunch is reminiscent of St. Louis-style crust.
Compared to the gluten-free variation, it is simpler to create a pizza crust that is suitable for vegans using the same ingredients as standard pizza dough. For instance, a Neapolitan pizza crust is already vegan because it does not include any animal byproducts. However, since cheese is typically substituted because it is a dairy product, the crust typically bears a greater proportion of the flavouring responsibility.
Thus, vegan-friendly crusts will make more use of flavoured oils and herbs to impart taste. On the bright side, the rear end of the crust towards the end of the slice will undoubtedly be the tastiest! Consider swapping nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese if you’re vegan and want to test the cauliflower-based gluten-free crust variation.