Anyone who has ever had a slice of authentic NY pizza, served in the Big Apple itself, will gladly tell you that there is no pizza on earth quite as delicious. Though many have tried to recreate the flavor at home, very few succeed. That’s because they don’t know the secret, or perhaps we should say secrets in the plural, to what it takes to recreate that immediately recognizable NY pizza taste and texture. Are you ready for an adventure into perfection? Okay then, let’s dive right in.
It’s All About the Oven
Although NY pizzerias only use high-gluten flour for their crusts, that alone isn’t enough to bake the perfect pie that has the exact combination of a crispy, yet foldable crust. New Yorkers are famous for picking up that slice, letting it fold into itself, before taking the very first bite. The secret is in the oven. Home ovens simply can’t get hot enough to yield a crust that is crispy on the bottom, but soft just under those layers of toppings.
To get perfect results the first and every time, you’ll need a pizza oven that reaches 950 degrees Fahrenheit. These would necessarily be outdoor pizza ovens because of the extreme heat they produce. You might want to try a multi-fuel pizza oven by Ooni like the Karu. Just let it heat for at least 15 minutes before popping that pie in the oven. Actually, this will give you plenty of time to roll and top the pizza.
What’s So Secret About the Ingredients?
Actually, this is something else many people don’t quite understand. The best NY pies are made with fresh ingredients, except for the sauce. Here, the best pizzerias use peeled crushed tomatoes as the base for their sauce with fresh basil and garlic. It may take a little extra work to chop or finely slice fresh garlic, but it’s well worth the effort.
Also, you want to use fresh whole milk mozzarella. Never start with the shredded mozzarella sold in bags because it just doesn’t melt the same. There are ingredients added to keep the cheese from clumping, but those same ingredients also prevent the cheese from melting uniformly. Any toppings you use should be fresh, if at all possible, except of course the meats that are typically cured and/or smoked.
One Final Yet Extremely Important Tip – Don’t Overwork the Dough
This is something that too many inexperienced pizza chefs tend to do. If you overwork the dough, it becomes chewy and that’s something you want to avoid with any pizza, especially NY pizza. The best way to shape your crust is to toss it, but that takes a lot of practice. For the time being, weigh out the portion of dough you are going to work with and then simply roll it from the middle outwards. Sometimes it is best to get it almost wide enough and then easily stretch it the rest of the way. It’s far better to stretch the dough than to overwork it, so that will take some practice too.
Now that we’ve revealed all those secrets that you’ll need to make your own perfectly authentic NY pizza, it’s time to try your hand. It might take a few experiments, but once you have it down, you’ll have NY pizzas for life. That’s a promise you can look forward to!