Want To Be A Pizza Connoisseur?

admin - May 30, 2018

Everyone loves a good slice of pizza and if you don’t? Well, you can’t be trusted and could potentially be a robot designed to destroy mankind. Extreme?

Absolutely not!

The pizza game is deep and the options are endless. But just like many things in life, when we grow older, we gain a desire to learn about the key aspects of our being. Part of becoming an adult involves gaining an expertise on subjects that interest you. We learn how to taste wine, order foreign foods with crazy names, but we neglect the simple things in life. Such as pizza. But why? The pizza game is much more complex than the average person believes.

I want you to understand the goal of this article, we want you to know pizza! When you take a bite of that warm, cheesy, delicious pizza, we want you to have the knowledge to understand the greatness put into that slice.

Key areas to understand when analyzing pizza:

The Cheese

This is the easiest thing to understand when eating a slice of pizza. Before shoveling that slice in your face, take a look at the cheese! A good quality cheese will not have much oil or grease once baked into the pizza. The higher quality mozzarella will not release as much oil, as the “fake” cheese you get from fast food pizza.  The way the cheese browns will also be a good hint that the cheese is high dairy.

The Sauce

Again before tasting the pizza, look at the color of the sauce.  Sauce that is made in house will show bits of tomatoes in the sauce. A canned sauce is usually flavorless, once you take a bite of that delicious pizza if the sauce is house made it will be full of flavor. A homemade sauce will include the old family recipe full of spices, garlic, etc. This is cooked for hours, which creates the flavorful slice.

The Dough

If the pizza crust looks perfect, then it is probably machine spun. Also look for some bubbles around the dough. No bubbles could mean its going to be a dry slice, the pizza master in the back most likely rolled the dough. A great way to tell a pizza has been hand tossed is looking at the crust, bubbles, and if there is moisture in the dough.

Also, dough that has been rolled tends to be a stiffer crust compared to hand tossed. Fold the slice of pizza and if you get some bend towards the front of the slice, then it most likely was hand tossed. Consistency in the dough is very important when grading pizza. A great New York Style crust is soft on the top and crispy at the bottom.

Different types of pizza

Pizza is broken up into different categories, these categories are typically created based on how the pizza is cooked. Here are a few pizzas to be on the lookout for when trying to impress your friends with your pizza knowledge.

Neapolitan Pizza: The Neapolitan pizza is the original pizza that left Italy and was brought over to the United States. The dough is made from wheat flour and the crust is thin, crunchy, and baked in a wood-fired oven.  The pizza should have minimal toppings, perhaps San Marzano tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Too much sauce or cheese will weigh down the crust and make it soggy.

California Style: California Style Pizza uses a similar dough base as Neapolitan or New York style pizza. The big difference in a California Style Pizza, is mainly the crazy toppings. This style is full of toppings and potentially other sauces not including tomato base. Example, ranch or honey mustard sauce.

Chicago Deep Dish: This style has a deep crust that lines up with the deep dish it has been cooked in, very similar to the one used to make a cake.  Though the entire pizza is quite thick, the crust is still pretty thin, and the pizza has a very thick large layer of toppings.  Because the pizza is so thick, it requires a long baking time and, if cheese was added on top, as is usual with most pizzas, the cheese would burn. 

New York Style: This pizza has a thin and crunchy crust with a good balance of tomato sauce and lots of grated mozzarella cheese.  New York style is designed to be folded while eating.  Most pizzerias in the United States tend to serve a form of New York style pizza. Keys to a successful slice of New York style? Its all about high quality cheese, great crust, and a homemade sauce.

Coal Fire: Coal Fire Pizza is cooked at an internal temperature around 1000F. This means cooking time is reduced drastically, which helps create the perfect crust. The crust will be soft on the inside but have a nice crisp outer layer. Plus, the short cooking time helps the crust from drying.

Brick Oven: One of the oldest techniques for making good pizza is to use a masonry built brick oven. It is typically heated with either wood or gas. A brick oven pizza has a fresh, fire-baked taste. The oven walls hold heat at a consistent temperature for a longer duration than standard ovens, which makes the pizza cook more evenly. Brick oven pizza is typically a crispier crust.

Congratulations, you passed! After taking our Pizza 101, you should be able to deeply analyze a slice of pizza and show off to your friends.

Now go eat!

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