How To Get The Absolute Best Crust For Homemade Sicilian-Style Pizza

A good crust is always essential for a tasty homemade pizza, but it may matter most when you're making one Sicilian style. In the United States, Sicilian pizza is a thick-crusted pie similar to a pan crust. It isn't too far off from how it's made back home in Italy, where it resembles a sheet of focaccia baked with tomato sauce and toppings like anchovies. 

The key to a good Sicilian pizza is the unique texture of the crust, with a pillowy interior and a buttery, crunch on the bottom. The rich dough contributes a lot of flavor to the pizza, and the crust makes a delightful contrast to the saucy, melty toppings. But in the American version, which has more cheese than its ancestor, all those toppings can get wet and heavy, giving you a flat, soggy crust that eliminates so much of what makes Sicilian pizza great. That's why you should take the step of a quick pre-bake before you add your toppings.

After you've spread your pizza dough out in the pan and let it rise, preheat your oven before layering on the cheese and sauce. Bake the untopped pizza for around 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, just until the top has started to lightly brown. Then, it can come out, get topped, and go back in the oven until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

Pre-baking your un-topped crust helps Sicilian pizza get crispy

Sicilian pizza dough is thick enough that it usually needs 20 minutes or more in the oven. Prebaking your crust takes advantage of this by letting the dough cook and rise from the heat without the wet toppings weighing it down. This helps you get the bubbly, light interior Sicilian pizza is known for. After 10 to 15 minutes, the crust will be set enough to hold up the sauce and cheese without sinking, but there is still enough time left in the oven for the toppings to cook and brown. With a cooked top to your crust, you not only get extra flavor from the browning and a better rise, but the moisture from the toppings won't seep into the dough and turn it mushy.

Even with the initial baking of the crust, you still don't want to be too heavy-handed with your toppings. For a pizza filling on a 13 by 18-inch baking sheet, just 1 cup of sauce should be spread over the pie. It's also common for Sicilian pizzas to layer the cheese on first, which helps protect the dough from the sauce. Combine those few tips with baking an untopped crust and you'll get Sicilian pizza with plenty of thickness and the perfect crunchy texture.