Apparently, choosing the perfect pizza has become harder 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? I know you might be saying they’re the same. After all, don’t they both come in the same pan style?
Quickly put, these two pizzas are poles apart in terms of 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 method of preparation. To form the pan pizza crust, you use your fingertips to press the oiled dough into a pan or cast-iron skillet.
On the other hand, the hand-tossed pizza’s crust is created by kneading the dough until it becomes soft. It’s then tossed several times in the air, allowing the dough to get into shape before baking.
What Is Original Pan Pizza?
This 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. This 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.
The reason why hand-tossed pizza can have a thin or medium crust is that the tossing action bursts air bubbles in the pizza dough. This 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. When making hand-tossed pizzas, the dough needs to be thick enough to handle the toppings.
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?
As far as the pizza dough is concerned, 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 harder than hand-tossed dough.
This 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.
Hard and elastic pan pizza dough grows in height and not in width. For that reason, 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 basic ingredients for the dough may include flour, yeast, water, and salt. Also, the dough needs to be softer than pan pizza dough because it is kneaded by hand.
Ideally, the hand-tossed dough should be softer, smoother, and more elastic. This 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.
To make pan pizza, all you need is a rolling stick and a cake pan. If there’s no pan, 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 should be baked at temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
To make hand-tossed pizza, you’ll need an oven and a burning-hot pizza stone. Here, you knead the dough until it becomes soft. Once the dough is kneaded, you repeatedly toss it in the air until it’s perfectly shaped.
Hand-tossing pizza isn’t an easy technique. Often, inexperienced hand-tossed pizza makers end up with the misshapen dough. It will take some time before you master the technique.
After stretching the dough and tossing it in the hair, 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. This will come in handy when transferring pizza on and off of the oven. However, if a peel is out of reach, parchment paper will do just fine.
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 grows in height.
This results in a crunchy and chewy crust. Typically, the pan pizza will appear to be spongy and full of bubbles. The meal will be a pure light on your tongue.
Because pan pizza’s crust is sturdier, it’s able to handle much more sauce, cheese, and toppings. These adornments will often spread in 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 sprinkled with shredded Asiago. If you like, you can also get the Honey Sriracha, which is made of honey and red chilies. This has a sweet and spicy flavor.
Hand-tossed pizza, on the other hand, may contain 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, hand-tossed pizza’s 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 is baked 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?
This is a no-brainer. When it comes to shape, pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza are poles apart. 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, making sure 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 if you are 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 hand-tossed pizza by hand, it will have 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?
This will depend on where you’re buying your pizza from. Generally, though, Pizza Hut charges more for pan pizza because you’re getting more ingredients than you would on hand-tossed pizza. Also, pans are more expensive, and the process of making pan pizza is labor-intensive.
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.
Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza vs. Hand Tossed: Which Is Better?
In a battle between the Pizza Hut Pan Pizza and Hand Tossed, it all boils down to what you want to eat. Pan pizza is baked in a deep dish, so it has a thicker and fluffier crust. This will be great if you prefer the feeling of eating fried bread.
Hand-tossed pizza, on the other hand, 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.