There are some mysteries in the food world that are confusing at best. You know, when things are seemingly the same but have different names or meanings? Like baking and roasting – put food in oven and cook. If it’s a cake it’s baking. If it’s a whole chicken it’s roasting – or pizza vs flatbread. Both have crust, sometimes a sauce and assorted toppings, so what’s the difference?
Pizza vs Flatbread
While there’s no definitive difference between the two I’ve found a couple of (completely arbitrary) distinctions – leavening agents and thickness. Pizza dough is made with yeast. It’s what gives the dough its rise and accounts for some of its wonderful chewiness. Flatbreads are typically made with an unleavened dough, a dough without yeast or other leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda.
The lack of leavening is what gives some flatbreads their thin, crisp texture and even though you can have a pizza with a thin crust, the thinnest pizza crust made with a yeasty pizza dough is still thicker than most flatbreads.
Yeast or no yeast, the terms flatbread and pizza are often used interchangeably in recipes and restaurant menus. You’ll find flatbread recipes made with pizza dough (guilty) and flatbreads topped with ingredients referred to as pizzas.
Cheese Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella & Parm
For years, cheese pizza was the only pizza my kid would eat. Crust, tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella. That’s it. No pepperoni, no onions, no anything that wasn’t tomato sauce or shredded mozzarella. Can you say BORING? This Cheese Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella & Parm has saved pizza night at my house because she can have her ‘cheese’ pizza and I can have it (and love it), too!
Fresh mozzarella instead of the bagged shredded version makes all the difference, along with a dusting of freshly-grated Parmigiana Reggiano (get the real stuff) and a little fresh basil. I often use a store-bought raw pizza dough so I can roll out a large pizza if we’re all feeling the same thing or a couple of smaller versions if my peeps want to customize their toppings. This combo of two of my all time favorite cheeses gives you all the glorious cheesiness you could want with a ton more flavor. You can use your favorite pizza sauce (confession: I sometimes use leftover tomato sauce). If I am lucky enough have leftover roasted tomatoes around, I’ll drop those in the food processor with a glug of olive oil and use that as the MOST fantastic pizza sauce of all time. (Yes, that’s an official title.)
Place pizza dough on baking sheet before adding sauce and cheese. Moving the dough once the toppings are added can be tricky.
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- 1 pound pizza dough
- Flour, for dusting work surface
- 1/4 cup pizza sauce or tomato sauce
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into chunks
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Divide dough in half. Lightly flour work surface and roll each ball of dough to desired thickness. (With one pound of dough you can make one large 10-12-inch pizza or two 6-8 inch pizzas.) Place dough on baking sheet.
- Spread 1-2 tablespoons pizza sauce on each pizza. Top sauce with mozzarella and parm. Sprinkle with chopped basil and a big pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until cheese melts and crust begins to brown on the edges. Remove from oven. Slice and serve!
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