If you love to eat pizza, then you will want to try a Greek-style pie if you have not already. Although the island nation does not include this dish as part of their regular cuisine, their unique approach creates an incredible slice that you’ll want to try.
Most of the Greek restaurants that formed in the United States in the 1920s wanted to be a full-service establishment, so they went with gyros and traditional dishes instead of pizza.
As the love for pizza grew around the world, these established restaurants added pizza to their menu to create a distinctively Greek experience. Now it is one of the most popular pizza styles to enjoy.
What Is Greek Pizza?
Greek pizza is a style that involves alterations to the preparation and pizza crust instead of changes to the ingredients used. This style features baking it in a pan instead of placing the dough directly onto the bricks or stones in a pizza oven.
The pan for Greek-style pizza is usually quite shallow, creating a thin, puffy crust instead of one that is thick and doughy. Olive oil is used in significant amounts to prevent it from sticking while it cooks. The final product is reminiscent of focaccia in its consistency.
You may find more oil on the underside of the dough because of how the pan gets prepared for the baking process.
What Makes Greek-Style Pizza Unique?
The first difference that you will notice with Greek-style pizza is the heavy dose of olive oil in each bite. Since the pan gets liberally coated with it before the dough goes in for baking, the flavor permeates throughout the crust.
If there is too much oil for your preferences, then set it on a napkin or paper towel. This action will reduce the amount that gets on your hands. You could also try eating the Greek pizza with a fork or add parmesan cheese to reduce the feeling of greasiness.
Most Greek pizzerias make a subtle change to the sauce that they use for their pizzas as well. It is noticeably thinner when compared to Italian-style pizza. The two primary ways that recipes accomplish this is by adding olive oil or water so that the consistency isn’t thick.
The secret to an excellent sauce for Greek pizza is to let it simmer on a stovetop throughout the day. This action causes caramelization around the edges of the sauce, which infuses it with deep flavors once you stir it up to repeat that process.
It is essential to note that a Greek-style pizza in an Italian pizzeria is different from an authentic Greek pizza. In this specific situation, it refers to a regular pie that has ingredients that are traditionally associated with Greece, such as feta or olives.
Why People Love Greek Pizza
The primary reason why people love Greek pizza is because of its overall simplicity. Most of the recipes that you will find for this style involve natural ingredients and minimal toppings. You can get a slice that is made with only cheese, use pepperoni, or whatever vegetables you prefer.
Pizzerias follow this approach as well. Each one may have classic pizzas that they make for their menu, but the real magic happens when you can choose your favorite toppings to add as the product bakes.
There are several additional reasons why Greek-style pizza is popular in areas around the world too.
1. Greek pizza dough is left to proof overnight.
When you enjoy a Greek-style pizza, then you are going to have a no-knead dough that usually has a hint of sweetness to it since a pinch of sugar gets added to it. Once it is made, the mixture is left to proof overnight. That means you have more consistency in the final product because the slices aren’t reliant on the skill of the pizza maker to be sturdy.
2. It has a tangy bite to it.
An authentic Greek-style pizza is going to combine the flavors of oregano, olives, feta, tomatoes, and sometimes peppers. You might see a splash of vinegar added to the mix as well. This combination of ingredients leaves you with a tangy bite that can leave your tongue feeling a little tingly afterward. It is an experience that touches all of your senses at the same time, which is why those who love this recipe keep coming back for more.
3. A mixture of cheeses is used to enhance the flavor profile.
Greek pizza typically uses a half-and-half mixture of white cheddar and mozzarella cheese to create a bright, flavorful topping profile. This combination stands up well to the high heat of the baking process, which is usually at 500°F if you visit a pizzeria. It will melt evenly around the round, thick, well-oiled pan to ensure that some hints of olive oil are picked up while it cooks.
4. Greek-style pizzas are heavily seasoned.
You will see a heavy dose of oregano added to the sauce of a Greek pizza. Some recipes call for more fresh oregano, basil, and rosemary to be part of the ingredient profile. An adaptation of this dish includes the addition of dried Italian seasoning products in this crust. If you’re not used to robust flavors in a slice, then eating this style of pizza could catch you off-guard on the first bite.
5. It is a dish that’s very easy to make at home.
If you don’t have a pizzeria close to your home that will make an authentic Greek-style pizza for you, then all you need at home is a cast-iron skillet to make one yourself. The dough is very easy to make since it uses only bread flour, yeast, salt, water, and sugar. Most ovens will go up to the required baking temperature as well.
6. Some pizzerias use butter or lard to create a crispy crust.
If you don’t like the idea of olive oil on your slice, then some pizzerias have swapped out that ingredient for butter or lard when making a Greek-style pizza. You’ll still receive the trademark crunch on the outside of the dough, while the middle feels soft, light, and chewy. When you combine these elements with ingredients that traditionally come from Greece, then the flavors you receive with each bite will feel authentic.
7. Greek-style pizza pairs well with several wines.
Whether you prefer a pizza with only vegetables, one with several different types of meat, or only cheese, you’ll discover that the flavor profile of the crust and sauce pair well with your favorite wine. You can enjoy a meal using all-natural, organic ingredients while having a night out with friends or when spending time with a loved one. If you prefer beer with your slice, then consider a light ale to match well with this recipe.
8. The sauce uses tomato paste.
Instead of using the juice of the tomato to be the foundation of the sauce, Greek-style pizza uses tomato paste instead. This refined product adds another layer of flavor to each bite that isn’t possible otherwise. You’ll also receive a significant amount of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K thanks to its inclusion in the recipe.
9. You can still do a white sauce if you prefer.
If you have an allergy to tomatoes or prefer to eat pizzas with white sauce, then a Greek-style slice can still shine when using a white sauce. This option may fall outside of the traditional realm of ingredients, but it also maintains the flavor profile that keeps everyone wanting more. If you pair your favorite recipe with a salad, then you’ll have a complete meal that is surprisingly affordable.
10. It provides a significant source of vitamins and minerals.
An authentic Greek-style pizza is part of the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the most wholesome eating habits that someone can pursue. The high levels of olive oil in the food possess robust anti-inflammatory properties that can help with weight loss. Oregano is rich in antioxidants, while feta cheese provides a significant source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
11. You can add provolone cheese to it.
If you want to take your Greek pizza to the next level, then consider adding some shredded provolone cheese to your mix of white cheddar and mozzarella. You’ll get a subtle browning effect on the top while the rest of the ingredients simmer beautifully below. Some pizzerias may give you a 100% provolone cheese option since it resists burning nicely while going through the baking process.
Are You Ready to Find a Local Greek-Style Pizzeria?
Greek-style pizza tends to be a recipe that people either love or avoid based on their personal flavor preferences. You may notice that there might be more spices on each slice, but it also keeps the toppings light so that your meal doesn’t sit heavy in the stomach.
Since Greek pizza is set apart by its dough preparation and baking methods, you can enjoy whatever toppings you like when you feel hungry for a slice.
If this sounds good, then look for a pizzeria in your area that specializes in this preparation process instead of presenting a pizza with only Greek ingredients. You might just fall in love with this recipe too!