New York style pizza is known for one major feature; its crispy edge with a floppy, foldable middle. It makes the giant slices easy to eat on the go, and New Yorkers love eating their pizza like a semi-open calzone too. If you want perfect New York style pizza at home, you will have to master the crust. Here is how to get the perfect New York style crust on your pizza every time.
Start with a Large Lump of Dough
New York pizzas are massive. They are at least sixteen inches across in diameter, which means you need to start with a serious lump of dough. Your dough ball needs to be about the size of a large honeydew melon. It may look like too much at first, but you will need this much dough to make the crust just right.
Knead It and Flatten It from the Middle
If you have never tossed pizza dough in the air, you will need practice. For now, just focus on kneading the dough and flattening it from the center out. Leave a small ball of it in the center while you flatten the rest of the dough outward into a thin crust. The edges of your New York style pizza need to be really thin, no more than a quarter inch thick. This is what gives this pizza its crispiness.
Pound out the Smaller Center Dough Ball
Remember that small, baseball-sized lump of dough you were supposed to leave in the center of your crust? Okay, now push that dough ball outward in a circle, turning the pizza pan as you push the dough down and out into the thin, flattened crust. DO NOT push the dough all the way to the edge. You want the middle of the pizza crust to be doughy, and the rest crispy, so that the pizza folds really nicely in half after baking.
Pre-bake the crust for just a few minutes. Usually three or four minutes is good, but you will have to check the crust often to make sure your oven is not cooking it too fast. Then remove the pre-baked crust to add sauce and toppings.
Bake It Longer
After you add your sauce, cheese and choice of toppings (most New Yorkers prefer just cheese and heavy on the sauce so that nothing falls out and drips onto their clothes), bake the pizza some more. You will have to make frequent checks now, because you want the edges to be a crispy golden brown and not overcooked. Remove it as soon as the cheese is melted and the edges of the crust are golden.
As you slice through it, you should notice that the extra dough toward the middle is barely baked, with a nice, floppy feel. The underside should be slightly golden in color. When you pick up a hot slice, you should be able to fold it in half or roll it up. If you can do that, you got the crust perfect!