With tons of pizza variations available out there, most casual pizza eaters do not really think about all the terms used to describe our pizza crusts – aside from thick-crust and thin-crust perhaps. But at one point, you may have wondered what exactly is a pan pizza. The most accurate answer to “what is pan pizza?” is also the simplest: it is pizza cooked in a pan!
This is in contrast to the traditional hand-tossed pizza. However, this does not mean that pan pizzas are all uniform and the same. On the contrary, it is a whole family of different kinds with one thing in common: they are all prepared or cooked in a pan.
Pan-cooking technique resulted to a hallmark in pizza making: a thick focaccia-like crust. This type of crust that has a fried-like crunch on the bottom and are light and airy on the inside.
What Are Some Pan Crust Pizza Variations?
With thick-crust pan pizza being such a hit since it was first introduced, many baking traditions have since found a way to put a twist to the original pan pizza. As of today, different places and cultures have a pan pizza style of their own. Here are some of those.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago deep dish pizza is one of the most famous members of the pan pizza family. This pizza uses a very deep dish, resulting to a very thick pizza. As expected of a pan crust pizza, the crust has a fried crunch, despite its thickness.
Unlike traditional pan pizza, the dough of the Chicago deep dish is pressed up against the sides of the pan – which may be cast iron or steel – making it act like a bowl or a pie crust. The crust itself may be thin but because of its shape, you get a very thick pizza.
It uses a variety of “toppings” which act more like pie fillings in this case. It also longer cooking time because of its thickness, which is why these “toppings” are usually assembled in reverse order, with the cheese coming in first.
The rectangular Detroit-Style pizza gives you an extra crispy crust which is tender and chewy at the same time – as expected of a pan crust pizza.
This pizza uses a Detroit-style aluminum pan, which looks like a rectangular cake pan. Unlike the Chicago deep dish which has a yellowish crust and can vary with its toppings, the Detroit-Style pizza has a browned crust and a distinct taste that makes it Detroit-Style. This distinct flavor comes from local Wisconsin brick cheese
Next time you feel overwhelmed with all the available pizza varieties, just remember this very simple answer to a very simple question. What is pan pizza? It is pizza cooked in a pan!
Whether the pan used is a cast-iron, a glass pie, a rimmed baking sheet, a round deep dish, or a rectangular aluminum pan – if the pizza is cooked in a pan, then it is a pan pizza. Here’s how to learn more about baking pizza.