Monday, January 25, 2016

NY Style No-No List

I feel like I do not have a good NY style post on this blog. The one that exists is decent, but it's very outdated, and I have learned a ton since posting it. I would like to post a new one, with lots of good pictures, but I can barely move anymore. I have been making NY style pizza about every other day for the last two or three weeks, but it's now very difficult for me to photograph them, and I may never make another one after tomorrow.

The following is a post I wrote to start a thread on Regardless of what you may already think, this post contains the most helpful information you will ever receive about NY style...

It just occurred to me that knowing what not to do may sometimes actually be more helpful to some people than knowing what to do. So here's a short list of things I consider what not to do with NY style, along with explanations.
  • DO NOT bake on screen or pan. They don't do this in New York; they do this at Domino's. There are plenty of reasons why, but the fact that they don't do it in New York is reason enough not to do it at home. You're not going to get the same results by doing something considerably different. Just by putting a thin piece of metal (2 mm?) between your pizza skin and your hot stone keeps that heat from reaching your dough for a considerable amount of time, which does not happen when you bake directly on hot stone, like they do in New York. Not only do screens insulate, but they also lift your pizza to a zone of much lower temperature than the surface of the stone, while stealing heat from the stone.
  • DO NOT re-ball. Also not done in New York; first of all because this is something that can easily be taken care of through effective dough management. In business you don't have the option to do work you have already done. If you do, you don't stay in business (because that is inefficient, which means it costs money that wasn't supposed to be spent). If one can't stay in business by being inefficient, it's impossible to have an entire industry doing the same thing. More importantly, though, the fact that your dough has blown is a very clear signal that it has fermented more than it was supposed to.
  • DO NOT bulk ferment. This is not done in New York. By doing this, you totally change the pizza to something not even close to NY style. In a commercial setting, this also makes it infinitely more difficult to manage the dough, or to keep the dough consistent throughout the time you use a single batch. Bulk fermentation works with some pizza styles, but not NY style.
  • DO NOT bake at extremely high temperature. I won't bake NY style pizza above 550° (580° stone temperature) anymore. I'm not sure where people got the idea that NY style pizza bakes at a temperature above 600°, but experience has taught me over and over that if I do that, I cannot replicate the pizza I have eaten in New York. Even though I have a ton of respect for Scott (scott123), my NY style improved significantly once I stopped worrying about a 4-minute bake time. I am inclined to think a 7 or 8-minute bake time is much more appropriate.
  • DO NOT cook your sauce. No need to explain this one. Cooked sauce is simply gross.
If you do any of those things and your NY style seems to be missing something, it's probably because you do at least one of those things.

Now, I'm just some guy from Ohio who has never worked in a pizzeria in New York, so you have my permission to disagree with what I've said.

Can you add to this list? If so, go ahead, even if it disagrees with something I've said. I can handle it.


  1. Thanks Ryan I really appreciate these tips. The only question I have is about the bulk ferment vs. balling right away. What's the difference?

    1. Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I almost never check for comments.

      1. Bulk fermenting leads to tougher crust.
      2. If you bulk ferment, there almost no way to get consistency in fermentation.

      Probably some other things I haven't thought of yet. I'm in the hospital right now with a horribly broken femur, so my mind isn't really in that direction at the moment. I'll say more if anything else comes to me.