Quick Recipes and Easy

It’s All About The Crust – Why We Love Pizza

Pizza is one of the most well loved 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 like with it? According to the experts, a perfect pizza starts with the perfect crust. The best pizza is only as excellent as its crust and a large number of Americans agree with this. In a recent poll, over 1/3 of Americans believe that the crust is the most vital part of the pizza. Whether the pizza is thick or thin, cheese-stuffed or hand-tossed, deep-dish or gourmet, a excellent crust is the key.

A well-made pizza crust has the perfect combination of flavor and texture. It should never be bland or hard 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 vital ingredient, because it blends the others together into 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 contributes both flavor and nutrition to the pizza crust. Whole-wheat pizza crusts 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 well loved and has a crust so pliable it can fold without splitting. Thin crusts 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 well loved 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 toppings 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) relies on a typical thin crust and a variety of specialty toppings.

So what pizza crusts do people like best? The verdict is in and statistics show that thin crusts are by far the most well loved. 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 excellent pizza. Excellent pizza crusts are essential to tasty pizza and have come a long way from the days when the crust was peeled off and discarded.

William Lockhart is Founder of HomePizzaChef.com. He is also a self proclaimed homemade pizza lover. HomePizzaChef.com delivers pizza recipes to subscribers email box. The slogan on the web site reads, “They’ll Get Down On Their Knees And Beg You To Make Another”. Visit William at homepizzachef.com homepizzachef.com

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