Ah pizza! Is there anyone who doesn’t love it? Even my ultra-picky 11 year old daughter’s face lights up at the mere mention of pizza.
However, there’s a universal problem; how to cut and slice it properly.
There are simple reasons as to why many people mangle and ruin pizza when slicing.
First of all, there are those who use a knife. The problem with this is you slice with a back and forth motion. This ends up separating the cheese layer from the crust layer, which leads to mangled pizza.
Then, there are those who use a pizza slicer. This is usually a blade shaped into a wheel with an attached handle.
The idea behind a pizza cutter is that you exert a lot more vertical force down onto the pizza (instead of the horizontal force from a knife blade hacking back and forth).
This means there’s less chance of the layers separating. However, I’m sure you’ve found out as I have done, this vertical force is rather weak.
If you’ve ever tried cutting slices using a pizza slicer, you’ll know how well it cuts through cheese and toppings.
When it comes to the crust, however, you have to go over the lines several times before you cut through, which can also mangle pizza.
I only found out a few months back, from a chef friend of mine, that pizza slicers were never designed for cutting through crusts.
What they were meant to do is simply cleave through the toppings and molten cheese. It’s why you see pizza makers in pizzerias slice pizza in a cardboard box. If a pizza slicer could cut through crust, it would cut through the cardboard too!
Then there’s the issue of serving pizza slices once cut. I’m sure I’m not the first person to experience a pizza slice falling off a spatula and landing on a table or countertop, cheese side down – nightmare!
The only downside to using shears is that it’s almost impossible to cut up slices of piping hot, fresh-from-the-oven pizza, as cutting with shears involved using fingers.
After lots of trial and error, I’ve figured out the perfect way to slice pizza, without the topping and cheese being torn off, and without damaging the crust – read on!
Cleave through the toppings and melted cheese layer first using a circular pizza slicer
This is what the pizza slicer was original designed for. The gentle downward force of the pizza slicer allows you to slice through the toppings and cheese without mangling.
Don’t hack back and forth again and again as you are not trying to cut through the crust.
Doing this is exerting the same horizontal force as a knife blade, which can damage your pizza.
Use a serrated edge knife to slice through the crust
As I explained before, the horizontal back and forth motion of a blade is what can separate the toppings and cheese from the crust.
By using a pizza slicer first, the gentler vertical force has cut through the cheese and toppings.
Now you can use the much stronger horizontal force of a knife blade to cut and slice through crust, without worrying about the cheese layer separating.
A standard flat knife edge will squash the crust down when you attempt to slice it, which can cause the crust to tear.
A good bread knife will have a serrated edge which can saw through the crumb without squashing it, keep the crust intact.
Use a pizza server to pick up each slice and serve
Hot pizza can be quite soft, and therefore is easily damaged when picking up. Use a pizza server to pick each slice up.
You can use a wide cooking spatula, but I prefer using a pizza server as they are triangular shaped to mimic the shape of a slice of pizza – less chance of dropping the pizza, cheese side down!
And that’s it! The trick is to not try and slice through both the cheese / toppings layer and the crust layer at the same time. Treat them individually and you’ll have perfect slices every time!