A hot topic in the pizza industry and pizza-eating community these days is how pizza should be cut. While many of us have never questioned what our local pizzeria is doing behind the scenes as long as it’s delicious, others are speaking out in support of the clean cut pizza. Let’s have a look at this technique and how it can be used to customize your next pizza order. Here’s everything you need to know about clean cut pizza.
What Is Clean Cut Pizza?
Clean-cut pizza is a pizza pie that is cut using a clean blade so that the slices are clearly defined. It is exclusively about the cutting technique and has nothing to do with the style, flavor or type of pizza. Clean-cut pizza prevents cross-contamination with toppings because the pizza cutter, also known as the pizza wheel, is cleaned before every use.
Do Pizza Restaurants Usually Do a Clean Cut?
While it may seem like standard practice for a typical pizza restaurant in New York and worldwide to clean the pizza cutter or blade before each pizza comes out of the oven, it’s surprisingly not all that common. Pizza places are busy, especially on weekends, so they do everything they can to optimize their performance and get those pizzas to you fresh, hot and fast.
This means they do a lot of prep work beforehand, including folding takeout pizza boxes, weighing and cutting the dough and chopping the pizza toppings, all before the pizza restaurant opens. Once the orders come in, they work quickly and efficiently to customize your pizza with your favorite toppings, bake it in the pizza oven and get it out to you.
When the pizza comes out of the oven, the team needs to be ready to slice and prepare for delivery or takeout as soon as possible. Cutting the pizza is the last thing they do before the lid goes in the box and out the door. Oftentimes, pizza parlors use an assembly-line or conveyor-belt approach throughout the process of making the pizza, which carries over to the cutting process. To save time, the pizzeria will cut pizza after pizza, all in a row, without wiping the greasy pizza cutter wheel in between cuts. It’s a time-saving strategy that helps people get their pizzas quickly and ensures the pizza place is meeting the demand for their food.
Is There Any Point to Doing a Clean Cut?
Simply put, yes! If you do not clean the pizza slicer before each use, the wheel will be covered in oil, cheese, tomato sauce and whatever other toppings have been on the pizza orders before yours. While using the same cutter pizza after pizza does save time for the pizzerias, it opens the customers up to cross-contamination. This may not matter to some carnivores who eat everything, as the blade is only coming into contact with cooked pizza so should be germ-free, but it can affect those with dietary restrictions, health concerns or religious beliefs.
Vegetarians can eliminate the possibility of their pizza being sliced with the same blade that cut a pepperoni or meat-topped pie by asking for a clean cut version. Those with food allergies will find comfort in a clean-cut pizza knowing that allergens like nuts, dairy, meat, gluten and more are not transferred from one pizza to another. Similarly, our friends with certain religious beliefs, like Buddhists who don’t eat meat or Muslims who do not eat pork, can still have pizza exactly how they want it while honoring an essential aspect of their culture and lives.
It’s worth remembering, too, that clean cut pizza is about the cutting tools rather than the pizza itself, so you can still get a clean-cut on all types of pizza including normal cut pizza aka triangle slices, square cut, double-cut, deep-dish, Sicilian, Grandma, rectangles, customized cuts and more. In fact, did you know square cut pizza makes it more convenient for groups to eat, chat and enjoy because it’s cut into smaller, more manageable pieces?
Ask for a clean-cut pizza and the cook will wash off the pizza cutter before they slice your pizza pie. You can also ask for a no-cut pizza and do the cutting at home!
How Do I Make a Clean Cut Pizza at Home?
The most important thing you need to make a clean cut on a homemade pizza is a clean, sharp stainless steel blade. Pizza cutters, pizza wheels and rocker blades require regular sharpening to make sure it slides smoothly through the pizza and breaks evenly. With a good, sharp clean cutter, you want to cut your pizza as soon as you take it out of the oven since the sharp blade’s rotation is built specifically for pizza to help reduce the amount of melting cheese, marinara and oils that stick to it. We love the OXO Good Grips NEW Large 4-Inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter on Amazon, if you’re shopping for gadgets. It makes for easy cleaning so you can get on eating the rest of the pizza.
If you don’t have a pizza cutter, a knife will do, but you’ll want to try and find one that’s as long as the diameter of the pizza to ensure a clean break. In this case, you’ll want to cool the round pizza or any style pizza for a couple minutes to minimize the toppings sticking to your knife blade. Press straight into the pizza and then move the blade up and down like a see saw on each side. This sawing motion helps with sticking. Remember, remove the sharp blade completely before making another cut and be sure to wipe it. Careful with those fingers!
No matter how you slice it, all pizza is the best pizza, so ENJOY that cheesy magic carpet ride. Pass us a slice of pizza while you’re at it.