As the pizza crust experts, Alive & Kickin’ is often sought out by operators — and distributors looking to help operators — to answer questions about differences in commercial pizza crust types. We’re happy to help! Here’s a brief summary of some of the most commonly encountered pizza crust styles:
- Dough balls are fresh-frozen pizza dough divided into even proportions and used for various hand-tossed crusts from New York Style to wood-fired to crispy thin. In addition to pre-portioned convenience, dough balls deliver scratch-made flavor, consistency, and varieties like high gluten, hotel & restaurant flour and specialty to accommodate specific recipe and oven needs.
- Par-baked refers to a crust that is partially baked to kill the yeast and set the internal structure of the dough, essentially giving the crust the same properties as baked bread and reducing overall cook time.
- Thin and crispy par-baked, sometimes referred to as “St. Louis Style,” this is traditionally a light, flaky, par-baked crust served cut into squares.
- Thick or hand tossed par-baked is often used for take n’ bake pizzas due to having more body, substance and texture than thin crusts or flatbreads.
- Wood fired par-baked indicates that the crust has been par-baked in an oven heated by real lava stone deck oven with hardwood fuelwood to create an authentic bubbled, slightly charred texture along with a distinct aroma. These crusts can then be topped and quickly baked in any oven type, home or commercial.
- Live or self-rising (aka oven rising) crust uses a combination of yeast and other leavening agents like baking powder, baking soda or other acid source to create a dough that rises as it bakes. This type of crust is often favored in retail environments, convenience stores, and entertainment venues.
- Flatbread is typically light and thin with artisan aesthetics that are appealing for personal pies and appetizers. Less filling than other pizza crust types, flatbread is often the choice of health-conscious patrons.
- Take ‘n bake is prepared to patrons’ orders, but instead of the pies being cooked on-site (as with carryout), they are prepped for patrons to bake at home. Dough balls and many of the crust types above can work for a take ‘n bake operation.
You may have noticed that “pan pizza” is absent from the list of pizza crust definitions. While commonly thought of as a crust type, pan pizza might be more accurately considered a cooking style. A pan pizza features a typically thick crust that is formed by molding dough and baking it directly in a metal pan.
For a detailed discussion on commercial pizza crust type characteristics and how to leverage them according to uses, oven type, benefits, flavor varieties and more, click the link below to get your free copy of the Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust Product Overview Guide.