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Claire - Chef's Cookware

Pizza - soft or crispy?

23rd September 2006 12:24
Do you like your pizza base soft or cirspy?

What is more, when you are making pizza at home, how do make sure you get the base you like? Is it temperature? Is it length of cooking? Is it the thickness of the dough? Is it the amount of oil used in the dough recipe? Is it the position in the oven? Is it the wetness of the topping? Is it the type of oven?

It seems that there are two basic styles and a whole host of variants.

The crust can be very thick as in Chicago-style pizza or almost non-existent as in the Naples pizza.

In restaurants, pizza can be baked in a gas canister (stone bricks above the heat source) oven, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle called a peel and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal pan that has holes in it like a screen).

When making pizza at home, it can be baked on a "pizza stone" in a regular oven to imitate the effect of a brick oven. Or you can buy the pizza screens mentioned above - both should prevent "soggy bottom".

Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

In home-made pizza, there are many variations on the bread used for crust. In some countries, creations such as pita pizza, bagel pizza, and tortilla pizza are popular, especially with children. In Japan, where full-size ovens are a rarity in the home, pizza toast is a popular version. In Australia, Domino's Pizza has introduced the "Puffection" pizza, featuring puff pastry as base.

There are now professional quality, one-at-a-time, table-top pizza ovens for the home cook. Typically these will cook the pizza to your taste but will also grill or bake on an electrically heated, non-stick coated aluminium.

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