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At almost every casual event or party, there is sure to be pizza! One common element across many pizzas is the top layer of grease. Some pizza is light and fluffy, and some seem to be dripping in grease and oil. So, what is it exactly that makes some pizza so greasy?
Overall, the greasiness in some pizzas is caused by heat, which releases the fat from the cheese and butter within the dough. When cooked in a hot oven, the grease is pulled out and sits on the pizza surface. Greasiness is also caused by some types of meat, as well as the thickness of the crust.
While most pizzas have cheese and toppings, not all pizzas are greasy. Let’s look at how the toppings, dough, and baking techniques can all affect the pizza’s greasiness. If it’s a deal-breaker for you, there are some things you can try to do to limit this unwanted topping!
Cheese is often high in saturated fat. While it’s solid at room temperature, these fats turn to liquid at higher temperatures. As the pizza cooks, the fat and oil are released from the cheese and soak into the crust. If there is a lot of fat, it could also pool on the surface and form a glistening coating.
Certain types of cheeses also have more fat than others. Fresh Mozzarella is one of the best cheeses for pizza because it has less fat and sodium, but many chain pizza restaurants use a mixture of other cheeses, such as Monterey Jack, Muenster, and white Cheddar, which produce more grease. Using the right type of cheese can help your pizza be less greasy!
Hard and soft cheeses also separate differently at high temperatures. Hard cheese is ripened cheese, while soft cheeses are unripened and contain more liquid. More liquid is in soft cheeses, which are good for making pizza. Exposing soft cheeses to heat allows them to melt evenly and produces less separation of fat and grease. When hard cheeses melt, they often do not liquefy all the way, yet the oil still melts out and seeps onto the pizza.
Fast-food chains use a mix of cheeses and sauces that are higher in fat and sodium content, which contribute to the greasiness of pizza. When making pizza at home, the type of cheese you choose to use will affect the amount of grease on your pizza.
Have you ever noticed that your meat lover’s pizza is much greasier than your supreme pizza? This is because your toppings may also affect the greasiness of your pizza!
One of the most infamous pizza toppings for a greasy pizza is pepperoni. Pepperoni tastes delicious but also has high-fat content. Made from ground pork and beef, it adds extra flavor, but also more grease as the meats get hot and the fat melts. The grease then may sit on top of the golden brown cheese, creating a greasy top. It is the pepperoni that usually turns the grease a slight orange color. Other toppings that create grease in similar ways are Italian sausage and salami.
Vegetables, however, have less fat than meats. Loading your pizza with tomatoes, olives, peppers, or onions may cause it to have less grease.
The thickness and cooking style of the dough can contribute to the greasiness of your pizza. If the dough is thinner, the fat from the cheese is more likely to soak into the dough, causing it to be saturated in fat.
Creating a thicker dough prevents it from being saturated in grease, and allows it to absorb more of the grease. Thicker crusts need more cooking time, allowing oils to be released from the top of the pizza, but not so much from the bottom of the pizza.
Deep dish pizzas, which are typically less greasy, are made with all-purpose flour. This flour is also used in many thinner crusts that are purchased at restaurants.
For homemade pizza, many people will use bread flour. This creates a more crispy crust on the outside and a fluffy crust on the inside. Because most home ovens cook at a lower temperature, it may help prevent your pizza from becoming too greasy at home. The greasiness of your pizza may be due to a thinner crust used with flour that does not absorb oil as well as other flours.
In some restaurants, such as Domino’s Pizza, they may put a butter coating on their crusts to add more flavor.
“We use a mixture of butter and garlic on the crusts before putting on the sauce and cheese. This is a classic Domino’s flavor.”Domino’s employee
Coating your crust in oil or butter tastes delicious, but it also allows for more melting oil and fats as the dough heats up in the oven. This is a common practice in fast-food pizza chains and restaurants.
Some say making pizza is an art, and technique is part of getting your pizza just right. However, when not cooked correctly with the right technique or temperature, your pizza may seem to have more grease than desired. One reason for this is the time that your cheese and toppings are put into the oven.
Many commercial pizza ovens cook their pizzas between 700-800°F. At home, however, pizzas are typically cooked between 400-500°F. Using a hotter oven to cook pizza speeds up the cooking time and prevents the cheese and oil from seeping into the crust and being released throughout the pizza. It also affects the crispiness of the crust and the desired consistency.
Many techniques used in cooking pizza include baking stones and pizza screens. Baking stones keep pizzas hot and puff up the dough as soon as it is placed in the oven. Pizza screens, however, are better for thinner crusts and allow airflow to the crust, which cooks it evenly at the same time as not burning the crust. Knowing what style of pizza you want to make can help you manage the grease content of your pizza.
With the right combination of cheese, toppings, dough, and baking techniques, you can create a pizza that is near perfection. However, if your pizza is extra greasy, there may be several factors that contribute to the greasiness of the pizza.