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A Brief, Delicious History of Pizza

Pizza is amazing. That’s fact, not opinion. Pizza is so amazing that there are more than 61,000 pizzerias in the United States and a $30 billion per year industry. Did you know that Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day? That’s three billion pizzas a year!

These days, there has been a certain shift away from the traditional, hand-tossed pepperoni – a classic in its own right – to a more artisanal craft. More and more restaurants are springing up to deliver their unique spins on pizza featuring funky cheeses, a plethora of toppings, new preparation styles, etc. These artisan pizzas, unique to their specific establishments, are a welcome addition to the fan favorite stylings of hand-tossed, deep dish, pan, Brooklyn, etc. Let’s take a moment to reflect on pizza’s origins.

Did you know that people have been putting toppings on flatbread since 500 BC? However, the tomatoes and cheese weren’t added until 1500 AD, thanks to the Neapolitans who started decorating their pies. It wasn’t until 1700 AD that people considered baking bread and toppings together to create a marvelous spectacle we now call pizza.

There are now dozens of different pizza stylings throughout the world, but let’s briefly discuss the popular ones already listed.

1. Hand-Tossed

Hand-tossed is arguably the most traditional styling. The crust is made of standard yeast dough that’s tossed in the air and caught by hand until it flattens out to the right size and thickness.

2. Pan Pizza

Pan pizza involves less hand-eye coordination. This styling involves flattened dough balls pressed into a cast iron skillet or cake pan coated with oil to prevent sticking and a give a crispier crust. The dough rises in the pans before toppings are added.

3. Deep Dish (AKA the Chicago Slice)

Deep dish packs a punch, typically baked in a round, deep pan providing more surface area to fill with toppings. Traditionally served with the sauce on top and the toppings buried beneath, the deep dish is the cheesiest of the mentioned styles and offers more pizza per slice.

4. Brooklyn (AKA the New York Slice)

In stark contrast to the deep dish, the Brooklyn is the thinnest of the styles, requiring two hands to consume. Brooklyn style is prepared in a similar fashion to hand-tossed, only the crust is stretched much thinner.

Let us know which style of pizza has your vote in the comments below. Create your own style of pizza! Browse all our pizza supplies and equipment here.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy our posts on pizza ovens and essential pizza tools.