With approximately three billion pizzas sold every year in the U.S. alone, pizza is an important part of a restaurant’s menu! Pizza is a go-to for restaurants all across the country because of the flexibility and creativity available with toppings, as well as the simplicity it offers restaurant goers!
Having the right kind of pan is make or break for the perfect pizza – not all pizza pans are created equally! Different styles of pizza and crust require different types of pan to properly bake pizzas. Did you know that the pan’s thickness, material, and style all affect the outcome of your pizza? Take your pizza to the next level by using the correct pizza pans! Let’s review all of the options.
TYPES OF PIZZA PANS
The “standard” when it comes to pizza pans, the tray-style pizza pan is versatile and allows operators to bake, slice, and serve pizza all on the same pan. This saves time and potential injury during the transfer, and keeps the pizzas moving. Meanwhile, coupe pans are exactly like the trays, but with a rounded rim to make it easier to handle the pan with an oven mitt while also adding strength to the pan. For even more room to grab, handle, and slice, Wide Rim Pizza Pans are ideal.
Material: Available in aluminum or hard coat anodized aluminum
Sizes: 12” diameter up to 18” diameter
Best For: Standard Use / Traditional Pizzas
Pizza screens are flat, mesh disks used for baking. The advantage of pizza disks is that the crust bakes more evenly by allowing air to circulate beneath the crust. Because of the airflow and the limited amount of metal that heat has to transfer through, pizzas cook faster on a screen and result in a crispier crust. When using a pizza screen, you should transfer to a serving tray when cooking is complete so that any grease or toppings won’t fall through the mesh onto your table.
Material: Available in aluminum or hard coat anodized aluminum
Sizes: 8” diameter up to 30” diameter
Best For: Crispy Crust / Thin Crust Pizza
Deep dish pans are ideal for Chicago and pan-style pizzas. These pans are typically solid metal, and are deeper than traditional pizza pans, allowing you to create a thicker crust. Because air cannot get to the crust directly, the crust in a deep-dish pizza tends to be softer and chewier. To add some crunchiness to the bottom of your crust, add oil to the bottom of your pan before adding your dough. The oil will fry the bottom of the dough, creating a buttery, golden crust, while keeping the dough inside soft and chewy.
Material: Solid metal
Sizes: 8” diameter up to 18” diameter, also available in square and rectangle sizes
Best For: Chicago & pan-style pizza
Commercial pizza stones help to create the perfect crispy, crunchy crust similar to that which you would get from a wood-fired oven. The material of the stone is porous to absorb any excess moisture from the dough and create the perfect crisp. However, please note that use and maintenance are different than that of other traditional pizza pans.
Material: Ceramic or clay
Sizes: 8” diameter up to 19” diameter – rectangle pizza stones are also available from 14″ up to 20″
Best For: Wood-Fire Style Crisp / Artisan Pizzas
How to Use Pizza Stones:
Preheat Your Pizza Stone
- Place your stone in a cold oven and let both the oven and your stone get up to the desired temperature together. Placing a cold stone in a hot oven will lead to cracking of the stone.
- Your pizza stone should be hot when you place the dough in the oven. If you put the dough on a cold stone and then put it in the oven, it will result in a rubbery crust.
Transferring Pizza to Stone
- Once the oven and the stone are heated to the desired temperature, leave the stone in the oven and easily transfer your pizza to the stone by using a pizza peel. Be sure to dust the peel with cornmeal or flour first to prevent sticking!
- Tip: if you do not have a pizza peel handy, you can use the back of a cookie sheet as well!
- Once the pizza is finished baking, carefully use the peel to get under the pizza and slide it onto the peel to take it out of the oven.
Allow the stone to cool down in the oven and do not take it out before it reaches room temperature, as that can lead to damage from the sudden temperature change. Once the oven has properly cooled, take the stone out of the oven and scrape off any toppings or pieces of crust that are stuck on the stone. Wash in warm water, but do not use any soap or detergent due to the porous nature of the stone. Hand wash only and leave out to dry.
PIZZA PANS SURFACE STYLES
Not only are there multiple kinds of pizza pans, but there are also multiple styles to consider. Each style handles air flow and heat distribution differently and will, therefore, alter the finished product of your pizza. So, it is important to understand the purpose of each style before making your purchase.
Solid pizza pans are the most common type. They feature no holes or nibs, so it takes longer for heat to transfer through the solid pan. This results in longer baking time and doughy crust.
Perforated style is a pizza pan with holes. This style allows the heat to directly heat the crust and results in shorter baking time and crispier crust.
Just like the perforated pans, super perforated pizza pans have holes in them, just bigger! This allows for even shorter baking times and crispier crust than regular perforated pans.
Nibbed pizza pans feature raised bumps, which allows better airflow underneath the crust. Nibbed pans are similar to perforated pans, but nibbed pans do not allow direct contact with the pizza like perforated pans do. Nibbed pans have decreased baking times over traditional pans and yields a crispy crust.
The thicker the pan, the longer that it takes for your pizza to bake. Want a crispier crust? Use a higher gauge (thinner pan)! Want a doughy crust? Use a lower gauge (thicker pan)!
|14||0.064||Heavy weight aluminum||Doughy|
|18||0.040||Standard weight aluminum||Slighty doughy|
|20||0.032||Standard weight aluminum||Slightly doughy/ slightly crispy|
|22||0.030||Tin plated steel||Slightly crispy|
- Light coated: pans with a light finish reflect heat and take a longer time to bake.
- Dark coated: pans with a darker finish absorb heat and bake faster.
- Anodized hard coated: corrosion resistant oxide finish will not flake. These pans are made with a dark finish, so bake times will decrease.
- Silicone glazed: silicone glaze is added to the anodized hard coated finish to help reduce sticking! Because of the nature of the coating, this type of finish does not need to be seasoned before first use.
- Uncoated: lightest finish available, which will result in longer baking times. Uncoated pans will need to be seasoned before their first use.
Now that you have all of the information needed to find the best pizza pan for your kitchen, it is important to know how to properly care for your pans. After each use of your metal pizza pan, you should handwash the pan with a soft sponge and aluminum-specific detergent.
To uphold the integrity of the pan, it is important to NOT clean in a dishwasher, use coarse sponges, or acidic cleaning agents. These tools and detergents can damage pans, shorten its life, and hurt the overall baking performance.
READY TO SERVE
The right pizza pan is the catalyst for a great pizza. The material, finish, surface style, and overall type of pan will all affect the results of your pizza, so it’s essential to ensure the proper bake with the correct pan. Still not sure what type of pizza pan is best for your kitchen? Time to start research for a new pizza oven? Need help finding pizzeria tools as well? We have a staff of friendly, knowledgeable product experts ready to help! Call 800.215.9293 for one on one advice to find your kitchen the perfect pizza pan.
Hope has been a Content Specialist since November 2015, where she brings to the table years of experience in the food service industry in a variety of roles. Throughout her time with Central, Hope has focused on learning all things possible about everything from cooking equipment to concession and specialty products in order to empower operators with education on commercial equipment and supplies. Hope is a wife, new mom, avid crafter, and food lover (french fries please!).