The pan pizza is the crunchiest and most delicious meal I have ever tasted. After consuming such a pizza, you will start wondering if there is a difference between styles and the way of preparations. Yes, there is. So, what is the secret of perfect pizza?
Many factors can affect the perfect pizza. It is not the same if you bake it in a pan or on a pizza stone. There is a strong belief that pan pizza is far more palatable. Therefore, you need to be careful and avoid reading this article while you are hungry. Otherwise, you might eat the screen! So, let’s see what is a pan pizza.
This article will cover
- History of Pan Pizza
- Pan Pizza Facts
- Pan Pizza vs Hand-Tossed Pizza – What’s the Difference?
- Pizza Pan Affect Pizza Quality
- Pan Size, Thickness, and Surface
- Pizza Dough Preparation
History of Pan Pizza
Initially, pizza used to be food for the poor. People who couldn’t afford cooked dishes took a piece of pizza to eat along the way. It was bread-like and seasoned with different ingredients you could find in that era.
Archaeologists have found many remains of pans, ovens, and stones that date back to ancient history in the Southern parts of today’s Italy.
The immigrants from Italy brought pizza to the US at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, pizza has become the most popular food, not just in their new homeland, but also worldwide.
The possible reason for this international popularity is probably the fact that all Mediterranean people always offer pizza on their menus. Therefore, others have just adopted Italian pizza as a familiar type of food.
Another reason for pizza being a worldwide famous dish is the perfection of its taste and texture. When its smell spreads along the street, you suddenly become charmed to walk inside the pizza shop for a delicious treat.
Moreover, you can select the perfect combination of seasonings to your liking. Surprisingly, you can even modify the recipe locally without negative effects on the taste!
Pan Pizza Facts
As the name already says, you need to prepare and bake pizza in a pan, not on a stone, or another flat surface like usual. The crunchy and crispy crust effect is what you get from making this meal in a deep dish.
I assure you, once you take a bite of this pizza, you will experience the crust’s delight that will leave you breathless.
The concept of pan pizza, as it is commonly known today, was popularized in the United States, especially in cities like Chicago. Dan and Frank Carney invented this specific crust with cheese and other stuffing over the dough. In the 1960s, it became a part of the Pizza Hut franchise.
They introduced thicker crust by baking pizza in deeper pans, which made a boom on the market. Suddenly 40% of people preferred a thicker crispy crust, and that was how the story of pan pizza began its exciting life.
Pan Pizza vs Hand-Tossed Pizza – What’s the Difference?
Keep in mind that the temperature of baking the pan pizza is higher since there is one more layer of metal, a pan. That layer will increase the heat even more compared to the method when you bake pizza on the stone.
You need to bake pan pizza at higher temperatures than you need to prepare the hand-tossed one. The required temperature is 500 F (260 C), but it can be even higher if possible. If you don’t have the oven with that high degree, you should turn it on to the highest level you can. The effect might be less crunchy crust, but yet very delicious pizza.
On the other hand, you need to bake hand-tossed pizza on a hot baking stone. Since there is no additional heat reflection, the reached temperature will be slightly lower than when you bake a pan pizza. However, you also need to heat the oven at 500 F (260 C).
When you make a pan pizza, you need to form floury dough loaves and spread them in an oily pan by using your own hands. That way, you will shape the dough at the pan to fit its surface and make a compact, thick crust. Accordingly, the pizza shape can be any, depending on the pan shape.
On the other hand, you should throw the pizza repeatedly in the air while making hand-toss pizza. Consequently, the shape becomes a circle as the stone where you bake pizza at. Once you lay it at the stone, you don’t need to shape it additionally.
Dough and crust difference
When kneading the hand-toss dough, you need to make sure that it is soft, as you will throw and shape it in the air. Take care to make it elastic and smooth, not to break easily.
The pan pizza dough also needs to be smooth and elastic. However, it should be a bit harder than hand-tossed pizza dough as you need to spread it in the pan.
Such a harder but elastic dough can’t grow in width, just in height, meaning it is full of bubbles and looks spongy. The crust will be crunchy and chewy, making this meal a pure delight on your tongue.
Pizza Pan Affect Pizza Quality
The whole new pizza revolution started with implementing a pan as a base for baking pizza. So, the chosen pan matters a lot when it comes to the quality of a pan pizza, and you should be careful while picking out the right one that can satisfy your needs.
The best option for every oven is a deep-dish pizza pan made of aluminum and in a bright color. Why highlighting the bright color? Well, the brighter shade of the pan means more heat reflection so that the reached temperature will be higher. As a result, your pizza will be crunchier from the outside and fluffier from the inside.
Cast iron pans are very heavy and widely used for baking pizza in the oven. Believe it or not, the edges of this pan will secure the crispiest possible crust. The only downside of this pizza pan type is its height, which does the washing and cleaning harder. You can also find grill pans on the market, so you can grill your pizza instead of baking it.
You should pick out a cutter pizza pan if you want to cut your slices of pizza easier. Not only does slicing become more comfortable, but you can also uplift the rim of the pizza onto its narrow edges. That way, the crust’s quality will be supreme. These pans are often very light and made of aluminum and tin.
Pizza screen pans are proof of how technology has improved daily. I believe that the best crust of all pizza comes from these pans. They have mash bottoms that transfer heat to the dough more quickly. This model is ideal for making pizza with a thin crust and crunching feeling in your mouth.
Pan Size, Thickness, and Surface
Keep in mind that not only the type of pizza pan defines the quality of this beloved dish. The crucial role will play the size of pans, as well as their thickness.
While the size of the pan can affect the proportions of your pizza, it’s not the primary factor that determines the crust’s crunchiness. This is more significantly influenced by factors like the thickness of the dough, the amount of oil used, and the baking temperature and time.
If the dimensions of the pan are 22 or 26 inches (56 – 66 cm), you will get a very brittle and crispy crust. On the other hand, if you prefer a doughier crust, you should consider using a pan with a diameter of 14 to 18 inches (35.5 – 46 cm).
Pan thickness also defines the quality of pan pizza. If you want fluffier and more sponge-like pizza, I suggest you take thicker pans. They often have a smaller gauge and more weight. I prefer using a heavy-weight aluminum pan to get a thicker and more dough-like crust.
And finally, there is a surface style for pizza pans. The pan surface is of great importance since it defines the airflow. Consequently, it will determine the way how the heat affects the dough in the oven.
For example, the perforated pan surface allows airflow to circulate under the dough, which will decrease the baking time and increase the crust’s crispiness. One of the perfect picks will be non-stick pans that have a perforated surface.
On the other hand, solid surface pans have no holes or numbness. Therefore, the baking time is prolonged while the crust is much doughier.
Pizza Dough Preparation
Last but not least, being patient and precise when kneading pizza dough are of utmost importance. You should always stick to the recipe because this is the case when being creative is not an option.
The point is to keep the standard and quality at the same level every time you make pizza. However, you can show your creativity in layers that come on the top of the dough by playing with flavors and spices indefinitely.
How will you know that you have made the perfect pan pizza? Firstly, your nose and sense of smell will send signals that you can’t resist. Afterward, your mouth and stomach will appreciate and enjoy the delicious flavors and perfect texture. At last, when your brain sends the signals for more pizza, you will know you have made a masterpiece!
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.