Choosing the perfect pizza has become more challenging these days. The reason’s that pizza is quickly evolving. And you’ll find the seemingly infinite variations in sauces and toppings.
For instance, have you ever wondered if pan pizza is the same as a hand-tossed one? They may seem similar, but they have their unique differences despite both being served in pans.
Simply put, these two pizzas are poles apart in their characteristics. And the critical thing you’ll want to note is preparation.
Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza and Hand Tossed Pizza differ in their preparation technique. You use your fingertips to press the oiled dough into a pan or cast-iron skillet to form the pan pizza crust.
On the other hand, the hand-tossed pizza’s crust distinguishes itself through the art of tossing the dough several times in the air after it has been kneaded until soft. It’s then tossed several times in the air. That way, it allows the dough to get into shape before baking.
Take a look at this summarized table to see more of their differences:
|Original Pan Pizza
|Deep dish or Chicago pizza
|Smooth and elastic dough
|Contains more toppings
|Contains fewer toppings
|Above 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes
|Around 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes
|Taste and Crust
|Thick, bready crust; about 1 inch in thickness
|Bubbled and crispier thin or medium crust
|Varies based on the shape and size of the pan
What Is Original Pan Pizza?
It is also known as the deep dish pizza or the Chicago pizza. Pan Pizza is the brainchild of a group of Pizza Hut culinary experts. It’s been perfected over the years and now stands as the industry icon.
The Original Pan Pizza has a buttery golden-brown color with a perfect sauce-to-cheese ratio. Its outer crust is crispy and crunchy, while the inside is soft and fluffy. The crust is topped with sauce and melted cheese in perfect proportion to accentuate its soft center.
You’ll want to know that pan pizza can be thick or thin, depending on your choice. If you’d like a less doughy pizza with a small and thin crust, Pizza Hut Thin & Crispy Crust is for you. The style is available in most Pizza Hut stores across the country.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to experiment with Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust if you like thick dough. Stuffed crusts are also available in all Pizza Hut outlets. Usually, the thick crust contains a five-cheese blend of provolone, mozzarella, Asiago, white cheddar, and fontina. [4 Main Pizza Hut Crust Types (Temporary & Seasonal Included!)]
What Is Hand-Tossed Pizza?
As the name indicates, hand-tossed pizza is a thin or medium crust created by tossing the dough through the air. The dough is tossed or stretched to remove the gas created during fermentation.
Hand-tossed pizza can have a thin or medium crust because the tossing action bursts air bubbles in the pizza dough. It prevents the dough from rising as high, resulting in a thin or medium crust.
Hand-tossed pizza should be just as crispy as pan pizza. However, hand-tossed pizza tends to boast a drier, more blistered crust. Also, the dough should be thick enough to handle the toppings when making this pizza style.
Pizza Hut has introduced a unique style of hand-tossed pizza into the market. Hand-tossed pizzas from Pizza Hut have a lighter and airier crust. Usually, their chefs top the crust with mozzarella cheese before brushing it with buttery garlic flavor.
Do They Use The Same Dough?
Regarding the pizza dough topic, there’s a clear difference between pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza.
Pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza uses smooth and elastic dough. Furthermore, the dough has higher hydration.
Even though pan pizza needs soft dough, you’ll want to be mindful of how soft the dough is. In most cases, it should be a little firmer than hand-tossed dough.
It is to allow for easy spreading in the pan. You should expect thicker and fluffier pizza as the pan pizza dough has little—to no space to expand.
Firmer and elastic pan pizza dough grows in height and not in width. Because of this, pizza will appear bubbly and spongy on the inside but crunchy and chewy on the outside.
Also known as the Neapolitan pizza, an authentic hand-tossed pizza makes do with lean dough. The simple ingredients for the dough may include flour, yeast, water, and salt. Also, the dough needs to be softer than pan pizza dough because it requires kneading by hand.
Ideally, the hand-tossed dough should be softer, smoother, and more elastic. It will make it easy to knead the dough and toss it in the air.
How Are They Made?
The tools and methods for making the two types of pizzas aren’t the same. In most cases, pan pizza is the easiest to make. And it doesn’t require any special equipment for preparation.
You only need two simple tools to make pan pizza: a rolling stick and a cake pan. If there’s no pan available, you can still make do with a cast-iron skillet. You’ll need to press and poke the oiled dough into the pan with your fingers.
It’s important to use soft dough balls when making pan pizza. The softer the dough is, the easier it will spread out in the pan.
There is also a variation in the temperatures needed to make these two pizza types. Pan pizza ideally bakes at temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
And for the hand-tossed pizza, you’ll need an oven and a burning-hot pizza stone. Here, you knead the dough until it becomes soft. Once you achieve the suggested dough texture, you repeatedly toss it in the air until it forms perfectly.
Hand-tossing pizza isn’t an easy technique. Often, inexperienced hand-tossed pizza makers end up with misshapen dough. It will take some time before you master the technique.
After stretching the dough and tossing it in the air, you bake it at around 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes. Notice that hand-tossed pizza requires a lower temperature than pan pizza.
It would help if you had a pizza peel within reach. It will come in handy when transferring pizza on and off the oven. However, parchment paper will do fine if a peel is out of reach.
If you are not so good at tossing the pizza dough, you can use a rolling pin to shape the dough. You can also stretch the dough by hand without throwing it in the air. But that’s unlikely to qualify to be hand-tossed pizza.
Is There Any Difference In Taste And Crust?
Pan pizzas and hand-tossed ones differ in their taste and crust. Pan pizza often has a thick, bready crust. Usually, it’s about 1 inch in thickness.
Because the pan pizza dough is stiffer than hand-tossed pizza dough, it can’t grow in width but extends in height instead.
This results in a crunchy and chewy crust. Typically, the pan pizza will appear spongy and full of bubbles. The meal will be a pure light on your tongue.
Because pan pizza’s crust is sturdier, it can handle more sauce, cheese, and toppings. These additions will often spread over all the pizza parts, including the edges of the pie.
The classic crust flavor at Pizza Hut is the Hut Favorite, which sort of resembles Pizza Hut Hand-Tossed Crust. It contains a buttery garlic blend and grated Parmesan and Italian herbs, including basil, parsley, and oregano.
There is also the Toasted Asiago, which is topped with shredded Asiago. You can also get the Honey Sriracha, made of honey and red chilies—if you prefer. It has a sweet and spicy flavor.
On the other hand, hand-tossed pizza features a thin or medium crust. As I mentioned earlier, tossing the dough in the air results in the bursting of air bubbles formed during fermentation. Therefore, the dough won’t rise as high when baked in the oven.
Additionally, its thin or medium crust can’t handle too many toppings. The crust often boasts a distinct edge that’s free of toppings.
In essence, both pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza are crispy. But since the pan pizza bakes in an oiled pan, the crust will appear fried and golden. By contrast, hand-tossed pizza may appear to have a dry and somewhat bubbled crust.
What About The Shape Difference?
It is a no-brainer. Pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza are poles apart when it comes to shape. When making pan pizza, you use your hands to form floury dough loaves before spreading them in the pan.
Remember to use an oily pan to shape the dough. You’ll shape the dough to fit the surface of the pan. Ensure the dough touches all sides.
Usually, the shape of the pan pizza will correspond to that of the pan. So, you should expect a compact, thick crust when using a small pan.
Meanwhile, hand-tossed pizza is thrown several times in the air. As a result, it will have an excellent circular shape when baked on the stone.
When you toss the dough for hand-tossed pizza, it will result in a flatter, crispier crust. What’s more, this type of pizza doesn’t need to be shaped further once it’s thrown in the air.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which Of These Pizza Types Is More Expensive?
It will depend on where you’re buying your pizza from. Generally, though, Pizza Hut charges more for pan pizza because of more ingredients included than you would on hand-tossed pizza. Also, due to the labor-intensive process of making pan pizza, it tends to be more expensive.
Which Pizza Crust Is Healthy?
I recommend eating a thin-crust pizza for a better balance of nutrients. Usually, a thin-crust pizza contains fewer calories compared to a thick-crust one. So, you get to enjoy a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
To be more specific, here are the numbers for each Pizza Hut style per slice:
- Personal pan pizza with cheese and sauce – 150 calories
- Small, hand-tossed cheese pizza – 130 calories
- Personal size meat lover’s pan pizza – 190 calories
- Meat lover’s small hand-tossed pizza – 170 calories
What Does Pizza Hut Use To Grease Their Pans With?
Pizza Hut uses soybean oil to prevent the dough from sticking in the pan. Sometimes, they use a buttered-flavored food release spray before it goes in the oven.
Soybean oil is a famous type of vegetable oil because of its well-documented health benefits. Some of these include:
- Promotion of skin health;
- Reduction of cholesterol levels;
- And prevention of bone loss.
Did Pizza Hut Change Their Pizza Pan Recipe?
Pizza Hut announced a makeover on their famous crust in 2019. The Original Pizza now includes a new cheese blend and sauce for a crispier crust. It took them 40 years to remake the style as competition tightens between pizza chain giants—and three years to polish the new recipe.
The cheese-to-sauce ratio improved as a strategy for their new blend. For the consumer, it’s a tie between the old version and the allegedly improved crust.
Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza Vs. Hand Tossed: Which Is Better?
It all boils down to what you want to eat in a battle between Pizza Hut Pan Pizza and Hand Tossed. The pan pizza bakes in a deep dish, so it has a thicker and fluffier crust. It will be great if you prefer the feeling of eating fried bread.
On the other hand, hand tossed-pizza is thrown in the air and baked on a stone. Its crust tends to be flatter and crispier. And this will be the perfect pie for those who are more inclined to the classics.
Barbara is an enthusiastic food-exploring person that goes through different culinary experiences. She got inspired by creating a pizza blog post after she tasted one of the best-selling pizzas in Toledo.