The difference between a pan pizza and hand tossed pizza comes down to how the crust is prepared. Read on to learn more about how each pizza is prepared.
Both hand-tossed and pan pizza use a standard yeast dough. Ingredients typically include flour, granulated yeast, warm water, salt and olive oil.
Hand-Tossed Dough Preparation
As the name implies, hand-tossed pizza dough is tossed in the air and caught by hand, or more specifically, by the backs of the chef's fists to avoid tearing. The tossing is repeated until the dough is the correct size and thickness. This method takes practice but produces a thin crust that's strong enough to hold the toppings. When the dough is done, it's topped with a thin layer of sauce and left to rest and rise for two to three hours before adding the toppings.
Pan Pizza Dough Preparation
Pan pizza dough takes much less finesse and athleticism than hand-tossed pizza. Slightly flattened dough balls are pressed into the bottom of cast iron skillets or heavy-duty cake pans. The pans are coated with a tablespoon or two of oil prevent sticking and help the dough develop a crisp crust. Pan pizza dough rises in the pan a second time before the chef adds sauce and toppings.
You can use the same toppings for both types of pizza. After the sauce is added, the crust is typically covered with slices or shreds of aged mozzarella cheese, plus meats, vegetables, seasonings and spices.
Hand-tossed pizza is usually baked on the bottom rack of an oven at around 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes. Pan pizza should be baked at the highest temperature, also on the lowest rack, for about the same amount of time.
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Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.
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