What Is New York-Style Pizza—And Why Is It So Delicious?

Here's what you need to know.

<p>littleNY/Getty Images</p>

littleNY/Getty Images

New York has an exuberant food scene, but even though it boasts some of the best restaurants in the world, New York is known for pizza. Walk-up counter slice shops, whole pies for delivery, classic cheese, or topped with more toppings than you can imagine—New York pizza does it all. With so much variation, you might be wondering what isn’t New York-style pizza. As it turns out, some pretty specific rules.

What Is New York-Style Pizza?

Not so shockingly, New York-style pizza hails from New York City. It’s known for its circular shape, cut into huge wedges with a thin and foldable (but still crisp) crust and topped with mozzarella cheese.

New York-Style Pizza: Defining Characteristics

  • Thin, crispy, foldable dough: Most New Yorkers agree that the dough is one of the most defining parts of New York-style pizza. In a diversion from Italian recipes, this dough includes sugar and oil, two ingredients that keep the dough foldable but crispy. Neapolitan-style pizza is made in a super hot wood-burning oven, giving it that charred leopard crust, but New York pizza is made in a cooler gas oven, more similar to what you’d have making pizza at home. This type of heat gives it a crispy, evenly golden brown crust with no charred spots.

  • Large, circular size: You won’t find personal-sized New York-style pizzas, as a cornerstone of a New York slice is its large triangular shape. These pizzas are rolled out large, usually about 18” in diameter, and thin to get the best texture, streamline the prep process, and feed customers as quickly as possible.

  • Low-moisture mozzarella: Unlike classic Italian pies, you won’t find fresh mozzarella on a New York slice. Stretchy, low-moisture shredded mozzarella gives it its signature cheese pull.

  • Sweet, cooked sauce: The sauce is always some form of cooked tomato product, featuring dried herbs like basil or oregano, garlic powder, salt, and more sugar. This cooked sauce is much thicker, sweeter, and less chunky than the traditional Italian crushed tomato base.

  • The water: Many New Yorkers argue that true New York-style pizza can only be made in New York because New York’s municipal tap water gives the dough its unique flavor.

New York-Style Pizza History

If you know nothing else about New York, you probably know it’s home to many descendants of Italian immigrants. Where else does pizza come from if not Italy? New York-style pizza is derived from Neapolitan-style pies. The method was brought over in the 1900s and, over time, was shaped by the ingredients and culture of New York.

Many of our favorite pizzas can trace their roots back to Neapolitan pizza and classic Italian flavor combinations. Neapolitan-style dough is chewy and elastic, delicious but too floppy to eat on the go. The New York crust emerged as a slightly more rigid option that could be sold by the slice, folded in half, and eaten while walking.

Additionally, most Neapolitan pies are single-serve and baked one at a time. However, New York pizzerias made their pies much larger to serve them by slice and serve multiple people at once.

New York-Style vs. Chicago-Style Pizza vs. Detroit-Style Pizza

New York-style pizza is known for its thin and crispy dough, circular shape, and pretty even ratio of cheese or toppings to dough. Detroit-style pizza is the opposite of New York-style pizza in nearly every way. Detroit-style pizza features a thick, fluffy dough baked in a high-sided, rectangular pan. The cornerstone of Detroit pizza is the crispy cheese; cheese is sprinkled all the way to the edge of the pan, allowing it to get caramelized as the pizza bakes. This means that Detroit-style pizza doesn’t have the ring of crust along the outside like New York-style pizza.

Chicago-style, a.k.a. deep-dish, pizza is thick like Detroit-style, but less thin than New York-style. It’s baked in a pan similar to a pie plate. This is because the crust is filled with cheese and other toppings. The sauce is dolloped on top instead of spread over the crust.

<p>Allrecipes / Dera Burreson</p>

Allrecipes / Dera Burreson

How to Make New York-Style Pizza

If you can’t afford a trip to New York just for lunch, try making our favorite New York-style pizza recipe at home. You’ll find the full, step-by-step instructions here–but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

  1. Make the dough: Activate the yeast and add all the dough ingredients to a big bowl. Stir to combine, then knead for five minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and let it double in size.

  2. Roll it out: On a floured surface, flatten and stretch the dough into a 12” circle.

  3. Top the pizza: Spread sauce over dough, sprinkle with herbs, and add cheese and other toppings.

  4. Bake: Cook for 12–15 minutes in a 475 degree F oven.

Read the original article on All Recipes.