Author Topic: What is cracker crust?  (Read 2642 times)

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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What is cracker crust?
« on: April 16, 2012, 12:45:04 PM »
I think we're all trying to figure out exactly what cracker crust is. Based on the pizzas I see in a lot of these threads, the prototypical cracker crust seems to be Pizza Hut's thin crust. But cracker crust comes in a variety of forms, some of which are texturally quite different from others. So exactly what is cracker crust to you, and who serves it?

Here's a short list of pizzas I consider cracker crust: Pizza Hut thin, Shakey's, Tommy's (Columbus, OH), probably Cassano's (Dayton, OH).

What can you add? Do you disagree with anything I said here? If you have anything to say that you think will help others gain a little more insight into what constitutes cracker crust, say it here.


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 01:35:21 PM »
I'll take a stab at it, but there may be errors or some debate here. I think to be more precise, there are basically two categories that people consider "crackery" and the forum headings really don't distinguish two types, thus the confusion.

Sheeted or Laminated Crust - Commercial examples include: Round Table, Shakey's, Straw Hat, etc. The dough is sheeted, folded, repeated then cut with a die cutter. Layering results in structural dough changes and trapped moisture which make the dough puff up. The crust typically has a crispy bottom, some separated layers (voids) then a softer uniform layer just under the sauce. Typically cooked on a deck with baking paper or a perforated disk on a conveyor.

Undeveloped super thin crust - Commercial examples include ? The dough is purposefully undermixed, undeveloped and NOT sheeted. Dough is rolled out typcally by hand with a rolling pin, may or may not be die cut. Some variations include par-baking the crust prior to dressing. The crust is crispy throughout, with virtually no soft layers. Typically cooked in a cutter pan or on a deck.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 03:44:45 PM »
Well, definitely at least 2 categories...crack/chew & crack/crunch.But that sort of leaves the door wide open. What is a Vito& Nicks ? Chicago thin ? or crack/chew?...I'm more inclined to think of Pizza Hut thin when you say the word "cracker crust"....and the old school ones were pretty darn good  IMO. Cracker is just sorta that to me....you know, a crust that is pretty much like ........a cracker.

Bob
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Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 04:32:20 PM »
I'm more inclined to think of Pizza Hut thin when you say the word "cracker crust"....and the old school ones were pretty darn good  IMO.
Bob

I am going to go with Chicago Bob on this one.  When I think of the prototypical cracker crust pizza, I think of the original Pizza Hut thin & crispy crust (and I also agree it used to be pretty darn good in its day).  But others, like DNA Dan mentioned, are probably close cousins to this type of pizza.  Not exactly crackery (i.e., not as dry) but still thin and has some crunch or snap to the crust when eating.

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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 04:54:31 PM »
Would Shakeys be the original prototypical cracker? They came before the PH thin, right? Been so long since I had one I honestly can't remember much from them except the banjo player and the bouncing ball over the singalong words displayed on the wall.  :D
I have made Steve's(the owner here) quick and easy cracker that he does in the foodprocessor and it was great.Don't quote me but I think he said it's just like Shakeys ?
I notice the mass marketers don't seem to like the word "cracker"......thin and crispy is more politically correct I guess.    ;)
Interesting subject Ryan....

Bob
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Offline Smith1026

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 10:34:32 PM »
I had the misfortune of trying a Pizza Hut thin a few weeks ago. Soggy cardboard. I remember it in my youth being much better, much crisper. It was much a bummer this time.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 02:02:10 PM »
I don't think I've ever eaten anything at PH that was crispy! :-X It's always a soggy mess there.

The problem with "thin and crispy" is it doesn't specify the technique to make the skin. "cracker" doesn't do any better either.

IMO there are the LAMINATED skins -aka Shakeys, Round Table, Straw Hat, etc. Then there's everything else that isn't. Lamination is a completely different animal than say a severely undermixed crumbly dough or something with a lot of fat rolled thin. The lamination process structurally changes the dough skin while forming.

For the sake of Pizzamaking.com, the "cracker" thread heading is defined as a laminated skin if you read the description. However since achieving this is difficult for the average home cook, the heading has come to represent everything else that is thin and crispy. I don't think this is what was originally intended by reading the thread description, but it's what most people do at home, because making a laminated skin properly requires special equipment and/or the right technique with a rolling pin as John (aka Fazzari) has already laid out in previous threads.

Offline mrmojo1

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 10:38:33 PM »
anyone remember Johnsons Fish and Shrimp on rooseveldt road in Lombard i think?  that has always been THE cracker crust i think of.  it was delicious! so crispy with a little char, and crackery crumbs in the box left over after cutting.  it was my dads favorite growing up.....how i look back fondly remember him burning the top of his mouth...and then cursing every friday.....every week, for 15 yrs.........because it was so good...... he just couldnt wait goddammit!!!  ha ha!!....tthen they suddenly stopped making pizza in like 1995 and only sold seafood.....a wonderful recipe....dead....never passed on.....wish i could make that crust!! 

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 11:10:51 PM »
I don't think I've ever eaten anything at PH that was crispy! :-X It's always a soggy mess there.

The problem with "thin and crispy" is it doesn't specify the technique to make the skin. "cracker" doesn't do any better either.

IMO there are the LAMINATED skins -aka Shakeys, Round Table, Straw Hat, etc. Then there's everything else that isn't. Lamination is a completely different animal than say a severely undermixed crumbly dough or something with a lot of fat rolled thin. The lamination process structurally changes the dough skin while forming.

For the sake of Pizzamaking.com, the "cracker" thread heading is defined as a laminated skin if you read the description. However since achieving this is difficult for the average home cook, the heading has come to represent everything else that is thin and crispy. I don't think this is what was originally intended by reading the thread description, but it's what most people do at home, because making a laminated skin properly requires special equipment and/or the right technique with a rolling pin as John (aka Fazzari) has already laid out in previous threads.
Maybe the forums description is wrong I don't know Dan.  The laminated skins of Shakey's, Round Table were here before PH crispy,very cracker like crust appeared.no? And I don't know what you mean by "doesn't specify the technique"...does any other "name " of a style do that?  I think a cracker "cracks"....I like it that way.   But I must confess. After making your malty laminated beer crust...I feel that I found the best of both worlds...sorta like a Chicago thin layed on top of a cracker...prolly a bad description, but I sure do likey,thanks!

Bob
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: What is cracker crust?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 11:18:28 PM »
Some styles to me specify the final product better than others. I guess not so much the technique. Well for instance NY style. You say that and people expect a thin pizza with a wide thick rim. Pizza Neopolitan, I see wood fired with frest tomato sauce, slabs of mozz, and CHAR. Chicago style, almost certainly a pie of some sort.

However you say "Cracker" and you could get anything thin to medium-thin, laminated or not. I would say however the ONE defining characteristic among anything called "Cracker" is it needs to have some crunch to it. Whether that's a crunch bottom, throughout, or whatnot, if it doesn't have crunch, it's not a cracker style. Glad you like the malty recipe. Without laminating, I suppose you could lower the hydration a bit and use a food processor to make it like some of the other thin cracker types. The trick I think is to use beer for flavor.