Your Essential Guide To Popular Pizza Styles

Posted on: 6 July 2016

Pizza is a popular comfort food that is not only delicious but also filling and makes for great leftovers. However, when you are too hungry to cook and want to order a pizza, you may be confused by the numerous styles of the beloved food item. If you are mystified by terms like deep dish, New York Style and Detroit square, the following guide to the most popular styles of pizza can help when you are browsing menus looking for the perfect pie to order.

New York Style

There is nothing quite like eating a slice of New York-style pizza in a well-worn booth with a view of the street in America's most populated city. New York pizzerias sell slices that residents of the city typically fold as they consume the thin-crust food.

If you find yourself in another part of the country that claims to offer New York-style pizza, make sure the pie was made from hand-tossed dough to create the perfect thin crust. Pizza chefs catch the dough on the backs of their fists so the dough does not tear in the process to get it to the right thickness.

The thin crust gets a top layer of seasoned tomato sauce and left to rise for several hours before any toppings are added. Traditional New York style pizzas are cooked in coal- or wood-fired ovens, a process that adds to the slightly smoky flavor of the thin, bubbly crust.

Chicago Style

Chicago style pizza is the culinary opposite of the New York pizza. The pizza pies from the Windy City have thick, hearty, soft crusts. The deep dish pizzas are baked in pans for a longer period of time than thin-crust pizzas. The outer surface of the crust is crispy as the baking pan is generally lined with grease in order to make slices easy to remove.

After the dough of deep dish pizza is prepared, chefs layer cheeses and tomato sauce on top to finish the pie. However, many people love deep dish pizza that also includes ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni or prosciutto in the layers. Some chefs also top deep dish pizza with slices of red bell peppers, onions, oregano and more cheese.

Detroit Style

While maybe not as popular as New York and Chicago-style pizza, Detroit pizza has die-hard fans in other parts of the country as well. The most visually distinct feature of Detroit-style pizza is the shape of the slices. Chefs cut the pies into squares.

The square pans used to cook Detroit pizza pies are reminiscent of the square trays used to hold spare auto parts in the heyday of the city's auto manufacturing age.

Like Chicago pies, Detroit pizza is a deep dish concoction that is hearty, filling and cooked in a grease-lined pan. However, chefs pour the tomato sauce over the cheese when making traditional pies of the Motor City. Pepperoni and ham along with green peppers are popular toppings for Detroit-style pizza.

Philadelphia Style

The City of Brotherly Love, with a heritage that includes the contributions of proud Italian immigrants, also has a distinct style of pizza loved by residents.

Philly-style pizza features a crust that is more reminiscent of focaccia, a type of flat, oven-baked bread. The soft, airy crust is not as thick as Chicago-style pizza and is delicious even without toppings. Some chefs cook the dough in square pans while others use circular pans.

A popular take on the style is a square pizza topped with a thin layer of seasoned-tomato sauce. Ask to have freshly shredded Mozzarella or Romano cheese added to the top of the tomato pie and you will have a delicious Philly classic.

For more information and options, call up one of your local pizza shops, such as Ynot Italian.