Recently someone asked me why pan pizza crust is so greasy. (This is why PIZZA MAN prefers hand tossed) The answer is very simple, they grease the pans before introducing the dough to the pan. At Pizza Hut for example, depending on the size of the pizza, they add more squirts of grease to the pan. Pizza Hut uses a fairly standard method among the larger chains: one squirt for small, two for medium and three for large. In the pan staging area, they have these containers of grease/oil that are fitted with pumps that are used to apply the lubricant to the pan, before the frozen pizza dough discs are set into the pans to proof. The pans are placed on a rack and placed in proofers (heated boxes like large ovens). It is during this proofing process that the dough absorbs most of the grease/oil in the pan.
If you have had an extra greasy pan it is probably because either the dough was proofed to long and there was no good “dough management”, or the employee simply went nuts with the pump and figured the customer could use the extra fat in their diet. When dough management procedures are followed closely the grease is thin and even over the bottom of the crust and it usually isn’t noticed by the consumer, because it is not what you are looking at while you eat it, well, until you read this anyway. When pan pizza is cold the day after being cooked you can definitely see what is clogging those arteries.
PIZZA MAN prefers hand tossed pizza, which is generally cooked on a screen, or on the bricks in a cool brick oven, like what they have at Sbarro at most malls. This will give an awesome east coast style crunch to your thinner crust pizza, but with enough body that if you hold the slice by the crust it won’t droop in the middle. Most pizzas cooked in the US are cooked in Middleby Marshall double-rack style ovens. These are used predominantly by Papa John’s, Domino’s and Pizza Hut and many independents as well. The coolest oven that PIZZA MAN has seen though is found at Park Street Pizza in Sugarcreek, Ohio. It is a triple-deck high-efficient oven that produces the best hand-tossed crust I have ever had. I have had many samples and will continue my research in the days and weeks ahead.
Go support your local independent Pizza shop and let me know which one we should let our readers know about.