Author Topic: American compared to Californian crust  (Read 717 times)

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Offline mkevenson

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American compared to Californian crust
« on: December 14, 2012, 01:03:26 PM »
Just trying to get it straight in my brain, (Impossible?).

American Style
Pizza Americana is a medium to thin crust pie that is crispy on the outside, yet soft inside.

California Style
Light, airy and tender crust .

All toppings aside, after reading several dough recipes and baking methods in both styles found on these boards, I am wondering if there is a significant difference in crust. I realize that in the American forum many cooks try to copy commercial pizzas, perhaps not so much in the California forum.

Anyone cooking both styles ? Can you share some insight?

Is there one or 2 ingredients or baking methods that will distinguish one from the other and if so what are those?

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles


Offline mkevenson

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Re: American compared to Californian crust
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 11:18:03 AM »
I guess this was a silly question?

'mark
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Online norma427

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Re: American compared to Californian crust
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 03:55:00 PM »
Mark,

I really donít think your question is silly, but I find it a little hard to explain.

I really canít explain the differences in California style pizzas versus American Style pizzas really well, but Steve the administrator of this forum did explain California Style Definition at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1383.0

Under the main forum page it explains that California style is Light, airy and tender crust usually topped with "exotic" and uncommon toppings.

I really donít know how accurate Wikipedia is, but this is their definition of California-style pizza.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California-style_pizza

If you look at American Style on the main forum page this is what it says.

Pizza americana is a medium to thin crust pie that is crispy on the outside, yet soft inside. Found at popular pizzerias throughout the U.S. including Papa John's, Domino's, and Pizza Hut.

Usually American Style pizzas are just thicker than NY style pizzas, but that isnít always the case. 

If you look at Slice at the different styles of pizzas in their article it can even get more confusing.  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/01/a-list-of-regional-pizza-styles.html

Norma
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: American compared to Californian crust
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 04:15:24 PM »
I guess this was a silly question?


Mark,

I agree with Norma that it is not a silly question. It is just a bit difficult to answer. But I will give it my best shot.

When Steve and the original Moderators came up with the indexing system for the forum for the different styles of pizza, the California style was a recognized one and, hence, was included in the indexing system. That style reflected the work of people like Woflgang Puck who put exotic things like salmon and caviar and creme fraiche and duck on pizzas, and Alice Waters who specialized in using locally produced ingredients (preferably organic) on her pizzas, and Ed Ladou who, as the original pizza chef at Puck's Spago restaurant and the father of the modern California pizza style, carried forward that style after he left Spago's to open up his own restaurant, Caioti Pizza Cafe, until he died in late 2007 of cancer at the age of 52. I suspect that with his death, some of the mystique and interest in the California style died with him. For examples of the types of pizzas and pizza topping combinations that Ed Ladou created, see the menu at Caioti Pizza Cafe at http://www.caiotipizzacafe.com/menu.html;

From the chain side, the California style was popularized by California Pizza Kitchen. Examples of the types of pizzas that are offered at CPK can be seen at http://www.cpk.com/menu/#original-crust-pizzas.

As you may already have noted, the California style of pizza does not get much activity on the forum. Maybe it is because the use of fancy or exotic toppings is no longer limited to the California style. Many of our members, such as Craig, John Dellavecchia, John Conklyn, and Marlon (bakershack), just to name a few, have routinely used higher end toppings and cheeses and tomatoes on their pizzas. The crusts are different, but the thickness of the crusts is in line with the crusts used to make the California style. They are both on the thin side. And the pizzas are of modest size. Also typical of the Neapolitan style is the use of Italian 00 flours for the dough but no oil or sugar. The California style typically uses something like an all-purpose flour or a bread flour and oil and sugar.

By contrast, the style of pizza that is known as the American style, at least on this forum, is characterized by a thin- to medium-thickness crust. The well known chains like Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Mellow Mushroom, Hungry Howie's, and Little Caesars, exemplify the thicker crust versions of that particular style. Some of them, like Mellow Mushroom, may get a bit exotic on the toppings but most use the typical toppings choices such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, vegetables, etc., with occasional specials to reflect changing consumer preferences. The sizes of the American style pizza will range from small to extra large, and will usually max out at 16". The thicker crust versions of the American style will usually contain a lot of oil and sugar, which combine to produce a soft and tender crust.

As for the thinner versions of the American style, they are typically represented by the pizzas made by companies such as Round Table, Shakey's, Monical's, and Donatos. Their crusts will often have a combination of chewiness and crispiness. Standard flours are used to make these pizzas and the toppings choices are similar to the other American stye pizzas.

Whatever the version of the American style pizza, few will confuse them with either the California style or the Neapolitan style.

If I have forgotten anything or not fully answered your question, please feel free to ask for further explanation.

Peter

Offline mkevenson

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Re: American compared to Californian crust
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2012, 06:07:33 PM »
Thank you for your replys. My question originally was the difference of dough and crust. Peter, from what I read of your reply thickness may be the obvious difference. The underlying reason for this post is to help me identify the style of crust I like.
I love reading about the Neapolitan style here but I have not advanced in my taste to make it my favorite.

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Online norma427

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Re: American compared to Californian crust
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2012, 06:44:32 PM »
Mark,

If you really want to learn to make the kind of crust you really like, it might take many experiments.  I still am on that search and I have tried many styles of pizzas with many flours and formulations.  I still canít say I have a favorite crust, because each type of pizza is different in crust tastes to me.  It might even be what mood I am in in what type of pizza I am hungry for.  :-D

I donít know if you have tried any Reinhart doughs with a little higher hydration, sugar/honey and maybe a lot of oil, but that one is good in my opinion.  It might be called an America style or something else.  I am not even sure what it is called.

I donít know if you are interested in trying out a Reinhart dough, but at Reply 7 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12866.msg124788.html#msg124788 Peter set-forth some formulations for a Reinhart dough.  John (fazzari) also did a lot of work on the Reinhart dough.

I did try out different Reinhart doughs and would have even considered one for market, but the dough was a little to high in hydration for me for market.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


 

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