I’ll never forget the first time I bit into a slice of Brooklyn-style pizza. I was wandering the streets of New York, the city’s energy pulsing around me, when the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked pizza lured me into a local pizzeria.
As I took my first bite, I was immediately struck by the thin, crispy crust, the tangy tomato sauce, and the generous toppings. It was love at first bite. But what is a Brooklyn-style pizza, you ask?
Well, it’s a unique style of pizza that originated from the vibrant borough of Brooklyn, known for its thin and crispy crust that folds easily, and its use of traditional toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms.
In this article:
- Definition of Brooklyn-Style Pizza
- Origins of Brooklyn-style Pizza
- Popularity of the Pizza
- Ingredients & Toppings
- The Art of Eating Brooklyn-Style Pizza
- How to Make Brooklyn-Style Pizza at Home
- The Role of the Oven in Brooklyn-Style Pizza
- Brooklyn-Style Pizza vs Other Pizza Styles
- Brooklyn-Style Pizza in Pop Culture
- The Future of Brooklyn-Style Pizza
- Popular Places that Serve Brooklyn-Style Pizza
Definition of Brooklyn-Style Pizza
Brooklyn-style pizza, a term that makes any pizza lover’s heart flutter, is a unique variant of pizza that originated from the vibrant borough of Brooklyn in New York City.
This pizza style is renowned for its thin and crispy crust that folds easily, a characteristic that sets it apart from other pizza styles.
The crust, often dusted with cornmeal or semolina, is firm enough to hold generous amounts of toppings yet flexible enough to fold, making it a perfect on-the-go meal.
The use of San Marzano tomato sauce, imported directly from the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, adds a tangy and sweet flavor that perfectly complements the traditional toppings.
Speaking of toppings, Brooklyn-style pizza doesn’t shy away from them.
The pizza is typically adorned with traditional toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms.
However, the beauty of this pizza style lies in its versatility, allowing for a wide range of toppings to suit every palate.
Another distinctive feature of Brooklyn-style pizza is its size and shape.
Unlike the typical triangular slices, Brooklyn-style pizza is often cut into square slices, a style known as “tavern cut” or “party cut”.
The pizza itself is large, usually with a diameter of 18 inches (45 cm), making it a perfect choice for sharing.
Origins of Brooklyn-style Pizza
The origins of Brooklyn-style pizza are deeply rooted in the history of New York City.
This pizza style is an evolution of the traditional New York-style pizza, which was introduced by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century.
The Brooklyn-style pizza, however, has managed to carve out its own identity, offering a unique twist on the classic New York-style pizza.
Just as with authentic Italian pizza, Brooklyn-style pizza places importance on using fresh, top-notch ingredients.
However, it differs from its Italian counterpart in its crust, which is thinner and crispier, and its generous use of toppings.
Popularity of the Pizza
Brooklyn-style pizza has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the years. Its unique characteristics, such as the thin crust, crispy texture, and generous toppings, have endeared it to pizza lovers worldwide.
The introduction of Domino’s Brooklyn-style pizza in 2006 played a significant role in this rise to fame.
Domino’s, with its global reach, introduced this unique pizza style to a wider audience, differentiating it from the traditional New York-style pizza.
The popularity of Brooklyn-style pizza can also be attributed to its versatility.
The thin, crispy crust serves as a blank canvas, allowing for a wide range of toppings. This versatility, coupled with the use of high-quality ingredients, has ensured the enduring appeal of Brooklyn-style pizza.
Ingredients & Toppings
From the dough and crust to the tomato sauce, cheese variety, and both traditional and non-traditional toppings, each element plays a crucial role in creating the unique taste profile of this beloved pizza style.
Dough and Crust
The foundation of any great Brooklyn-style pizza is its dough and crust.
The dough, typically made with high gluten flour, is left to rise for 24 hours.
This process results in a sturdy yet thin crust, perfect for holding a generous amount of toppings.
The ingredients for the dough include 00 flour, semolina, water, extra virgin olive oil, dry yeast, and salt. The result is a unique texture that is thin, crispy, and foldable, a signature characteristic of Brooklyn-style pizza.
Moving on to the tomato sauce, a key component that adds a tangy and sweet flavor to the pizza.
Usually, the sauce is made with canned tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and seasonings like basil and oregano.
Salt and sugar are added to achieve a balance of flavors.
Domino’s, for instance, offers variations in sauce options, allowing pizza lovers to customize their Brooklyn-style pizza to their liking.
The balanced combination of mozzarella and provolone cheeses is a classic choice, with the provolone adding a creamy factor.
Other types of cheeses, such as parmesan, feta, and gouda, can also be used for variation, adding depth and complexity to the flavor.
Traditional toppings for Brooklyn-style pizza are flavorful and meaty, with options such as pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs being popular choices.
To elevate the flavor, vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives are often added.
While Brooklyn-style pizza is known for its classic, flavorful toppings, there’s room for creativity too.
Non-traditional toppings offer a unique twist, allowing for a distinct and personalized pizza experience.
Think broccoli rabe, shrimp, and other unconventional options that go beyond the traditional pepperoni and sausage.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to topping a Brooklyn-style pizza!
The Art of Eating Brooklyn-Style Pizza
Eating Brooklyn-style pizza is an experience in itself. Due to its large size and thin crust, the traditional way of eating this pizza style is by folding it.
This method not only makes it easier to handle but also enhances the flavors as the toppings and cheese meld together in every bite.
However, the art of eating pizza is not without its debates.
Some pizza purists argue that using utensils to eat pizza is a sacrilege, while others maintain that it’s a more refined way to enjoy the meal.
Regardless of where you stand in this debate, the most important thing is to savor and enjoy the unique flavors of Brooklyn-style pizza.
How to Make Brooklyn-Style Pizza at Home
Making Brooklyn-style pizza at home is a fun and rewarding experience.
From preparing the dough and toppings to assembling and baking the pizza, each step offers an opportunity to put your personal touch on this classic dish. Let’s dive into the process.
Making the Dough for the Crust
The dough is commonly crafted from high-gluten flour, semolina, water, extra virgin olive oil, dry yeast, and salt.
These ingredients are mixed together and then left to rise for 24 hours. This process results in a dough that is sturdy yet flexible, perfect for achieving the thin and crispy crust characteristic of Brooklyn-style pizza.
The dough is then hand-stretched to the desired thickness, a technique that requires a bit of practice but is well worth the effort.
Preparing Your Toppings
Next, it’s time to prepare your toppings.
Traditional generous toppings for Brooklyn-style pizza include pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, bell peppers, onions, and olives.
For a Brooklyn-style pizza, it’s essential to use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
If you’re using vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms, slice them thinly to ensure even cooking.
For meats like pepperoni or sausage, ensure they are thinly sliced or crumbled.
Assembling and Baking the Pizza
Once your dough is prepared and has risen adequately, preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).
If you’re the kind who savors every crispy bite and has a pizza stone tucked away, it’s time to put it to work by placing it in the oven during the preheating phase.
In the meantime, begin crafting your pizza. Roll out your dough to the thickness you desire, ensuring a consistent base.
Then, brush a thin layer of tomato sauce onto the dough, leaving a narrow edge untouched for the crust.
Add a layer of fresh cheese, preferably a blend of provolone and mozzarella.
Distribute your chosen toppings evenly across the pizza, ensuring they reach close to the edges for that signature Brooklyn-style flavor in every bite.
Place your assembled pizza into the oven, or directly onto your preheated pizza stone if you’re using one.
Allow it to bake for roughly 10-12 minutes, until the edges adopt a golden tan and the cheese joyfully bubbles with a few toasted spots.
Midway through baking, rotate your pizza to ensure even cooking and avoid any undercooked areas.
Once it’s perfectly cooked, pull it out and grant it a moment to cool before diving into slicing. The result is a homemade Brooklyn-style pizza that’s sure to impress.
The Role of the Oven in Brooklyn-Style Pizza
The oven plays a pivotal role in the creation of the perfect Brooklyn-style pizza.
Brick ovens, in particular, are a key element in achieving the unique texture and flavor of this pizza style.
The high temperatures of brick ovens, often reaching up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit (426 C), result in a pizza that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The intense heat also imparts a slightly smoky flavor to the pizza, a characteristic that’s synonymous with Brooklyn-style pizza.
Brooklyn-Style Pizza vs Other Pizza Styles
When compared to other popular pizza styles, the differences are quite apparent.
Neapolitan pizza, for instance, has a soft and chewy crust, quite different from the thin and crispy crust of Brooklyn-style pizza.
Chicago deep-dish pizza, on the other hand, is known for its thick crust and hearty toppings, a stark contrast to the thin, foldable slices of Brooklyn-style pizza.
New York-style pizza, while similar to Brooklyn-style in many ways, typically has a thicker crust and is less crispy.
Detroit-style pizza, with its rectangular shape and thick, crispy crust, also differs significantly from Brooklyn-style pizza.
The baking methods also vary, with each style requiring a specific oven temperature and baking time to achieve the desired results.
Brooklyn-Style Pizza in Pop Culture
From movies and TV shows to books, this pizza style is often used as a symbol of New York City’s vibrant and diverse culinary scene.
Characters are often seen grabbing a slice from a local pizzeria, folding it in half, and enjoying it on the go, a sight that’s quintessentially New York.
This representation has not only contributed to the popularity of Brooklyn-style pizza but also shaped how people perceive New York City – as a bustling metropolis with a rich food culture.
The Future of Brooklyn-Style Pizza
As the culinary world continues to evolve, so does Brooklyn-style pizza.
Trends like gourmet toppings, gluten-free or alternative crusts, and locally sourced ingredients are making their way into this pizza style.
Gourmet toppings such as truffle oil, prosciutto, and arugula are adding a touch of luxury to the humble pizza, while gluten-free and alternative crusts are making it accessible to those with dietary restrictions.
The use of sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, on the other hand, reflects a growing consciousness towards the environment and local economy.
These trends are shaping the future of Brooklyn-style pizza, ensuring its relevance and appeal in the years to come.
Popular Places that Serve Brooklyn-Style Pizza
New York City is home to numerous pizzerias that serve Brooklyn-style pizza.
Each of these pizzerias offers a unique take on Brooklyn pizza, making them must-visit spots for pizza enthusiasts.
Di Fara Pizza
A legendary spot run by Dom De Marco, who has been crafting pies since 1965. It’s a testament to the rich pizza heritage of Brooklyn.
What sets their pizza apart is the attention to detail – from the hand-grated cheese to the use of fresh basil. A slice of pizza from Di Fara is not just a meal, it’s an experience.
Another iconic place known for its Brooklyn-style pizza is Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
With a history that spans several decades, Grimaldi’s has contributed significantly to the popularity of Brooklyn-style pizza.
Situated under the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s famous for its coal-fired brick oven pizzas.
The place often sees long lines of pizza enthusiasts waiting to get a taste.
Known for its thin-crust pizzas made with fresh ingredients in a cozy ambiance. The candlelit setting and BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) policy add to its charm and allure.
Paulie Gee’s Pizzeria
Located in Greenpoint, this spot offers a unique twist on traditional pizza with its creative toppings and vegan options.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a visit to Paulie Gee’s Pizzeria is a must for any pizza lover.
Inspired by the owner’s prize-winning racehorse, Speedy Romeo employs a hardwood-fired oven to craft airy, crisp pizzas that have captured the hearts of the local community.
The pizzeria, set in a century-old bar, offers both vegan and classic options, ensuring a delightful experience for all pizza lovers.
Living up to its slogan, “If it’s not Krispy, it’s not pizza,” this pizzeria is renowned for its audibly crunchy thin crust.
Krispy Pizza, a cherished family-run spot, boasts an extensive menu of classic and inventive pizzas, guaranteeing a flavor for every palate that walks through their doors.
Located in Coney Island, this pizzeria boasts a coal-fired oven and has been serving delicious pizzas since 1924. It’s one of the oldest pizzerias in the U.S.
Its rich history and consistent quality have made it a staple in the Brooklyn pizza scene.
Brooklyn-style pizza, with its thin, crispy crust and generous toppings, has left an indelible mark on the global pizza scene.
Its influence extends beyond the borders of Brooklyn, shaping the way pizza is made and enjoyed around the world.
Whether you’re making it at home or enjoying a slice at a local pizzeria, Brooklyn-style pizza offers a culinary experience that’s uniquely New York.
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