No matter the type of pizza crust, we love pizza! My family can easily go through a couple of large pizzas in what seems like the blink of an eye. I am sure that for many of you, this is an all too familiar story. Though this is a tough topic to tackle. Do we talk about pizza crusts based off of their main ingredient? Do we talk about the different styles of pizza crusts, the typical differentiator in pizza styles? Or do we wander into the more abstract with the types of things other than pizza pies that traditional pizza crusts are used for?
It was a tough one, but finally we decided to go with the most typical styles of traditional pizza crust and sub-divide them between thick and thin. These are in no particular order because the America Top 10 crew would definitely not be able to come to an amenable agreement on an order. However, you will be glad to know we had many volunteers to give it a shot!
Traditional Wood Fired Pizza Crust – Some argue these were the first true pizza crusts. Where others feel that the flatbreads that the Italians has readily available from street vendors for their poor were the first true pizzas. We do not delve into such semantics as we love everything pizza. The defining features of this crust is that they are made to get somewhat poofy, a bit thicker than most thin crusts. Though also thin among the thicker crusts in many cases. The dough is made to cook rapidly at very high heat, the wood fire grills give this crust type a smoky flavour that is easily appreciated.
The Traditional Pan Pizza Crust – This is the first iteration outside of the wood fired crusts. Also what many of us make at home ourselves. These medium thick crusts are a happy compromise ground for a crowd with varying preferences. These most often have a crisp outside texture that protects a soft chewy center.
Sicilian Pizza Crust – These thick rectangular crusts are indulgent and bready. This is not to be confused with the thin crispy crusts of Naples. These heavy crusts can support a lot of toppings and lends itself to well to home cooks and experimentation. Sweeping the nation, the rather new Detroit-Style pizza uses a Sicilian pizza crust base.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust – Another heavy crust known to accept large loads of topping, this style is often found to have multiple layers of crust to accommodate the thick layers of toppings. Most often, this type of crust is baked in an oil laden cast iron pan to give it the distinctive buttery crunch. The popular burger inside of a pizza crust is a form of this crust, where another layer of dough is laid over the buried burgers and more traditional pizza toppings are often piled above that.
Bagel/Biscuit Pizza Crusts – Breakfast fans rejoice as we can meld two of our favourite food types. Biscuits or bagels both work well as mini pizza crusts. They lend themselves well to fast breakfasts and on the go meals. These are also perfect for pleasing a crowd of picky eaters as each can choose their own toppings.
Focaccia Pizza Crust – This thick crust is typically served without sauce, similar in ways to the sicilian crust which is made of focaccia bread. This is typically characterized by the Focaccia itself being laden with toppings of meat, vegetables, and cheese after being brushed with oil. Then the baking is completed and it is served.
Neapolitan Pizza Crust – This is where it started! A flatbread that was covered with oil, tomato slices, veggies, and cheese. These were cooked and available from street side vendors. Forever are we grateful to the evolution this began. Such humble
Flatbread Pizza Crust – This broad spectrum of crusts is defined by the very flat, sometimes even cracker like nature of the pizza crust. Premade flatbreads or unleavened flat bread dough is the common base of these pizza crusts. They are typically quick to create and cook thanks to the lack of needed rising times. Also, these pizza crusts are popular with those of us who desire a good crunch from our crust.
New York Style Pizza Crust – Everyone knows that pizza is one of the most beloved foods of New York. These pizzas are most commonly sold by the individual slice and folded to be eaten. They necessitate fewer toppings than many of the crusts. However, there are literally hundreds of Mom and Pop shops in the Big Apple that offer an amazing slice. And because of the popularity of this crust style, you can find it all across the nation. It is quite possibly the most popular pizza crust in America!
California Pizza Crust – Generally considered a gourmet crust, these are often made in small batches and can vary wildly from one to another. They can be thicker, but overall tend to be thinner pizza crust types. While hand crafted dough is one of the signature tell-tales of this style, also equally important are interesting topping combinations. Things such as beef brisket with figs, fresh goat cheese, and roasted beets. Things most of us wouldn’t think to try at home.
St. Louis Style Pizza Crust – This pizza has an almost cracker thin crust. Not one you pile super high with toppings, however due to the unique cutting method it can hold more toppings than one might think. The cracker thin pizza crust is cut into squares for a more easily shared pizza eating experience. This cutting style is also sometimes referred to as pub style. A delicious crust option that often leaves people contending for the coveted middle slices that have to be held carefully since they have no place to hold onto but also no exposed crust area to eat.
Greek Style Pizza Crust – Often with a chewier crust than most thin pizza crust options, this one stands out because of the heavily olive oil coated round pans they cook it in. As one of the thickest “thin” style crusts it is well suited to holding a plethora of toppings. However, traditionally it is only topped with a tangy, oregano heavy pizza sauce and both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
Special Diet Pizza Crust – Not always necessarily a thin pizza crust, with the growing need for allergy free pizza crusts. These can range from the pizza crust made of cauliflower to one made with coconut flour in place of the traditional grain flours. These also often offer a lot of versatility and sometimes simplicity. We have seen roasted zucchini or mushroom caps serve as pizza crusts. Or I have even seen a meat based crust made out of sausage. Really, the limits here are only what your imagination can come up with. Some people just are not huge fans of bread and they seek something else to bring home the comforting deliciousness of their favourite pizza.
Now that we have gone over the most popular types of pizza crusts, which is your favourite? Do you prefer your crust thin and crispy? Thick and buttery? Somewhere in between? Maybe you have had the best almond flour pizza crust in existence? Or come across another type entirely that is worthy of inclusion on our list? Please let us know, we would love to hear from you!