How do you like your pizza? Thick crust pizza can be more filling because the thick base adds to the bulk and takes quite a bit of room in your tummy, so it’s probably best when you’re really hungry. Thin crust has a heavier reliance on flavour because the toppings often overpower the volume of the pizza base.
When you’re making a thin crust pizza, you may be concerned about the variety of toppings you can have. After all, overdoing your food elements may make the pizza too heavy. It can end up getting soggy or disintegrating altogether, which can negatively affect your pizza-eating experience.
But if you talk to the professionals, they’ll tell you there’s more to maintaining the integrity of the thin crust. It’s not just about the mass and weight of toppings. A lot more is involved. Sometimes, when thin crusts aren’t done well, the edges are burnt while the middle is soggy.
One way to avoid this faux-pas is to bake your pizza on high heat. Try raising your oven to 450 degrees, or even 500 if possible. This cooks the dough all the way through, and the heating speed ensures that it bakes thoroughly and evenly.
Before you put the pizza into the oven, and even before you lay on the toppings, prep the crust for better results. Toast it lightly to give it a little pre-topping crunch. This will reduce the likelihood of your pizza being soggy in the middle.
Another handy trick is to use a grill instead of a typical oven. Grills usually cook over an open flame, but even if they’re modern electrical grills, the heat comes from below whereas ovens heat food from both the top and the bottom.
Grills produce more intense heat than ovens, which are gentler and more even. This harsh heating from the bottom means your pizza dough cooks before the toppings, and as a result, the crust is more crispy and less soggy. Grilling also gives your pizza a smoky flavour and tantalising grill lines at the bottom of the crust.
For many people, the base is the hardest part of the pizza to make. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it from scratch. Many grocery stores sell pizza dough, and some pizzerias do too, so ask your favourite pizza store whether they offer raw dough to customers for domestic use.
When you’re loading your pizza, make sure you don’t use too much of your topping. If the pizza is too heavy, it will barely make it to the oven or grill in a single piece. Stick to a few light options that deliver strong flavour to make up for the smaller volumes.
Another factor to consider is the amount of moisture. Thin crust pizza should be drier to avoid overwhelming the dough, so go with silky mozzarella or gooey cheddar rather than a moist ricotta or some creamy cottage cheese which will only soak into the dough.
For the finishing touch, select toppings that won’t leech too much liquid onto your crust. The trick here isn’t in the toppings themselves, rather it’s in how the toppings are prepared. For instance, deeply fried proteins are better than pan fried ones, since they’re less likely to have gravy. Use grilled strips of beef or chicken rather than tikkas and stews.
If you’re going to use vegetables, layer them in thin slices or use sun-dried versions so that the pizza crust absorbs minimal amounts of soup. Fruity toppings like pineapple are best avoided, because the juice will caramelize on the crust, making it soggy.
Cold cuts are a safe option, especially pre-sliced ones like salami, bologna, ham, and turkey. An egg is sometimes used as a pizza topping, and you can scramble it lightly without adding milk or cream so that it doesn’t get too wet. Make sure your egg pizza doesn’t stay in the oven too long; otherwise the already cooked eggs will become unpalatable.
Sliced mushrooms are a favoured thin crust topping because they retain their texture without pouring too many juices onto the crust. They also have the advantage of being really easy to cut into thin portions. Whichever toppings you select, be sure to enjoy your pizza with a chilled drink or a hot beverage and some good company. Enjoy!