There’s nothing better than a hot pie fresh from the oven, which is why restaurants, pizzerias and food service operators everywhere are getting a slice of the action.
Deciding to serve pizza isn’t a snap decision; a lot goes into choosing the type and style of pizza you serve, and as much thought and planning should go into the types of pizza pans to use.
Here's what we will cover in this article:• Types of Pizza Pans
• Pizza Pan Materials
• Pizza Pan Thicknesses
• Pizza Pan Finishes
Types of Pizza Pans
There are plenty of types of pizza pans out there for you to choose from, depending on your kitchen needs and the pizza style you’re looking to serve. Here are six types of pizza pans for commercial kitchens. Sizes can range from personal pizza (6”) to invite the whole team (20”) and easy to find the right size for your operation.
Regular or Coupe Pizza Pans
If you’re looking for an all-purpose pizza pan, the coupe pan is your best bet. You can bake the pizza on it, slice it, and serve it to your customers without skipping a beat, which is especially helpful in busy kitchens.
This type of pan is usually made from durable aluminum or hard-coated anodized aluminum, so it’s perfectly suited for commercial kitchens that serve up plenty of wear and tear. Coupe pans are what you picture when you think of pizza pans; they’re thin and round - perfect for standard pizzas.
Deep Dish Pizza Pans
Deep dish pizzas are incredible, but they do require a specialized pan. Deep dish pizza pans have sides to create that distinctive, thick crust that’s still soft and chewy.
The sides also allow you to stuff the pizza with plenty of toppings for a loaded, delicious pie. These pans come in square, rectangular, and round options depending on the style you want to serve. Rectangular or square deep dish pizza pans are also called Detroit-style pizza pans, round deep dish are also called Chicago-style pizza pans.
Straight sided deep dish pans take up more space in the kitchen but give that definitive corner. Tapered deep dish pizza pans nest and stack saving valuable space and still give a great crust but not quite the sharp corner of the straight sided versions.
Deep dish pizza pans typically have 1" sides to allow for building the crust while allowing for best air movement across the toppings of the pan. To decrease cook time and provide a crispier crust, you may want to consider a perforated deep dish pizza pan.
Deep dish pizza pans can be made of aluminum, hard coat anodized aluminum, anodized aluminum or nonstick black steel.
Perforated Pizza Pans
Perforated pizza pans are another versatile option for commercial kitchens. Perforated pans are just like regular pans except they have holes on the bottom of the pan. These holes are designed to increase airflow and produce a crispier crust and to decrease cook times.
Perforated pans are round and typically made from lightweight aluminum and come in a variety of perforation options to choose from, including large holes, small holes, holes in just the middle, and half perforated pizza pans with fewer holes.
Keep in mind, you can bake and slice on a perforated pan but will need to transfer to a serving tray.
Pizza screens, also called pizza disks or flatbread screens, are excellent commercial pizza pans because they are designed to help pizzas (and other menu items) cook faster. Pizza screens are flat and can be round, square or rectangular with a mesh screen as the pan base. This open construction improve heat distribution giving the crispiest crusts and fastest cook times of all types of pizza pans.
It’s important to note that pizza screens should only be used to cook the pizza and to cool the pizza after cooking; you’ll need to transfer to a serving tray to protect your customers from falling toppings or grease.
Pizza stones aren't really a pizza pan as they aren't put into and removed from the oven but stay in the oven and the pizza goes to them. Pizza stones are becoming more popular because they create pizzas like those cooked in a pizza oven or wood-fired oven.
A pizza stone is simply a round, square or rectangular ceramic or cordierite surface that can be used in any oven. The stone absorbs excess moisture as the pizza bakes, creating a crispy crust. You’ll end up with incredible, artisan pizzas but keep in mind stones require more maintenance than the standard pizza pan and stay in the oven rather than being used to transfer, slice and serve pizza. Be sure to have a pizza peel on hand to move your pizza onto the preheated stone and remove it when done.
Rimmed Pizza Pans
Rimmed pizza pans are like regular pizza pans except they have a raised rim at the edges. This makes handling the pan quite easy, and you can also use it to bake, slice and serve pizza to customers without transferring it to a serving tray. They’re usually round and made of aluminum. They’re a fantastic option for bustling kitchens that serve plenty of pie.
Pizza Pan Materials
Commercial pizza pans come in a large variety of materials. The material you choose is important because it affects everything from heat distribution to cooking speed.
Some common, commercial grade pizza pan materials include aluminum, cast iron, or aluminum and steel combined.
This is the most common material for pizza pans because of how durable but lightweight it is. It’s also incredibly easy to clean. Aluminum heats quickly and evenly and cools down quickly, making it a reliable pizza pan option. As with all aluminum pans, hand washing is recommended.
This combination of aluminum and steel is a happy medium. It cooks pizza evenly but fast and produces a delicious, crispy crust.
Stone or Clay
These are great for simulating a wood-fired oven pizza, but they can take a long time to heat up (although once they’re ready, they stay ready). Pizza stones need to be cleaned carefully.
These heavy pans are phenomenal in terms of the taste they bring to the crust. But do to receive proper care for optimal performance. You’ll need to season the surface of the pan a few times per year (seasoning means using heated fat or oil to treat the surface and create a corrosion-resistant and non-stick coating in the oven).
The material you choose for your pizza pan depends on a few factors:
1. The type of pizza and crust you’d like to serve (e.g. crispy crust versus deep dish).
2. How busy your kitchen is and how much time can be spent on each pizza.
3. How well your staff will be able to maintain and clean the pizza pans.
Pizza Pan Thickness
Pizza pan thickness can dictate not only how quickly your pizza cooks but also how evenly. The thicker the pan, the longer it takes to cook, while thinner pans tend to create crispy crusts.
Pizza pans are referred to by gauge, which gives a sense of how thick it is. A higher gauge means a thinner pan.
Comparison of Pizza Pan Thickness Measurements
Pizza Pan Finishes
Pizza pans come in a variety of finishes that also affect how the pizzas cook and the baking time. Some common finishes include:
Nonstick dark coated pizza pans
Dark coated pans absorb more heat and speed up the baking process. Faster cooking time isn’t necessarily better: thicker pizzas need longer to cook thoroughly and cooking the crust too quickly could burn your pizza before the toppings have had a chance to cook all the way through.
Anodized hard coated pizza pans
These pans have an anodic oxide finish that resists corrosion and flaking. It also gives the pans a dark coating, which will speed up the cook time.
Natural or uncoated pizza pans
These are lightly coloured pans, meaning you’ll need to cook your pizzas longer. They also need to be seasoned because there’s no coating to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.
Silicone glazed pans
These pans have both an anodized coating and a silicone glaze that prevents dough from sticking, helping you use almost 50% less oil or cornmeal to coat the pan. However, the silicone glaze can wear away over time and be scratched/chipped, so keep that in mind.
Choosing the best pizza pan for your restaurant will mean finding the right combination of type, material, thickness and finish.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to commercial pizza pans. Not only do you need to think about the best type of pizza to serve and how to make it consistently every time, but you also need to think about how fast you need pizzas to cook, how to serve them efficiently, and how to ensure a high maintenance pizza pan doesn’t derail your kitchen’s workflow.
The best commercial pizza pan for your venue is one that serves the best quality pizza in an efficient way that you can repeat over and over.
Written by River Street Writing