It's All About The Crust – Why We Love Pizza
Pizza is one of the most popular foods in America today with 93% of Americans eating at least 1 pizza a month. What's the secret behind this Italian specialty and why are Americans so in love with it? According to the experts, a perfect pizza begins with the perfect crust. The best pizza is only as good as its crust and a large number of Americans agree with this. In a recent poll, over 1/3 of Americans believe that the crisis is the most important part of the pizza. Whether the pizza is thick or thin, cheese-stuffed or hand-tossed, deep-dish or gourmet, a good crust is the key.
A well-made pizza crust has the perfect combination of flavor and texture. It should never be bland or difficult to chew. Most pizza crusts contain only basic ingredients: water, flour, yeast, shortening, salt and sugar. What magic makes this simple combination so mouthwatering? Starting with the right kind of flour (usually an all-purpose unbleached flour) will help ensure the perfect pizza crust. Yeast that is still active is critical to making the dough rise. Water is the simplest and yet most important ingredient, because it blends the others together into a perfect union.
The best pizza dough is smooth and elastic but never too sticky, resulting in an irresistible crust. Some people believe that refrigerating pizza dough gives it a more desirable flavor. Sometimes corn meal is added, especially to deep-dish pizza crust, giving it a yellowish hue. Adding whole wheat or rye flour contributor both flavor and nutrition to the pizza crust. Whole-wheat pizza contracts are becoming more common among health-conscious Americans.
Many people swear by a thin crust, but 40% prefer it crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The secret to a deliciously thin crust is fresh ingredients; dough rolled no more than 1/4 inch thick and no chance to rise before baking. Traditional New York style pizza (thin crust) is currently the most popular and has a crust so pliable it can fold without splitting. Thin crusters are mixed until smooth and are often hand-tossed. On the other hand, some people prefer thick chewy crusts and this can be achieved with either fresh or chilled dough by simply letting it rise.
Deep-dish pizza or Chicago-style pizza is another popular kind and is made with under-mixed dough that has a cake-like texture. The crust turns out biscuit-like because it is pre-baked before the topings are added. Cracker-crust pizza is gaining acceptance and is made by under-mixing the dough, allowing it to ferment for a few hours, then sheeting it. Pan-style pizza utilizes thick dough and is cooked in oil, resulting in a light crunchy crust. Cheese-stuffed pizza crusts have unbeatable flavor and texture, while California style (gourmet pizza) relations on a typical thin crust and a variety of specialty toppings.
So what pizza contracts do people like best? The verdict is in and statistics show that thin crusts are by far the most popular. Approximately 61% of Americans prefer a thin crust pizza. Coming in second and tied at 14% are deep-dish crusts and thick crusts. Cheese-stuffed crusts are preferred by 4% of Americans and especially pleasing to children. Whatever the style, the crust is undeniably a major factor in good pizza. Good pizza contracts are essential to tasty pizza and have come a long way from the days when the crust was peeled off and discarded.