The Ultimate Guide To Brooklyn-Style Pizza

Craving some Brooklyn-style pizza? You don't need to go to New York City to taste the gooey, cheesy goodness that this slightly different approach to pizza-making offers. Comparable to NYC's typically thin, foldable slices that are often eaten like a sandwich, the Brooklyn-style features a crust that's slightly thicker, while remaining thinner than hand-tossed, and especially thinner than deep-dish dough. While the borough of Brooklyn doesn't have one particular style of pizza, the Brooklyn style is an evolution that takes classic pizza recipes to the next level (via Streets of New York). Originally created by Domino's Pizza in 2006, this fresh take on pizza pies features a lighter load of cheese and a crispy, crunchy crust using cornmeal.

What makes Brooklyn-style pizza so unique? Besides the crust being hand-stretched to perfection, Dominos makes this style stand out with the cornmeal-dusted crust. However, in the actual borough of Brooklyn, pizzerias feature pies in diverse styles to reflect the blossoming population. While Domino's may have started the method, there are some restaurants and pizza joints to indulge in Brooklyn-style. Keep reading to learn more about this New York-inspired pizza.

The Domino's origin

Big, thin, and foldable. These are the main characteristics of Domino's Pizza's original Brooklyn-style pizza. The style emerged in the mid-2000s in order for customers to savor a specialty pizza that offers a little of every topping in each slice (via Domino's). As Domino's has said the style of pizza reflects the motto, "Go big or go home." Perfect for all types of social gatherings, the Brooklyn style is offered only in large or extra-large sizes to feed from three to six people. Each pie is sliced into six slices and topped with your favorite sauces, cheese, meat, and veggies. 

Each Brooklyn pie starts with dough that's hand-kneaded and stretched to a particular thin density for that authentic crispy crust while covered in cornmeal. Domino's pride in this expert technique means that they rigorously train each new employee on perfecting it. And, the crust is such a crowd favorite that it's the only type that Domino's even offers in an extra-large size.

The right dough

Typically made of flour, oil, salt, water, and yeast, pizza dough is an uncomplicated recipe. Pizza itself may have started out as a flatbread or focaccia bread in areas of the ancient Mediterranean (via Giovanni's Pizza). Today's crusts are thinner and come in a variety of tastes and textures. From pillowy deep-dish to fluffy hand-tossed, there's an option for everyone. Brooklyn-style pizza is the perfect choice for those that like thin crust and a delightful crunch. As Domino's has stated that the Brooklyn-style pizza features the thinnest crust ever, it also includes cornmeal, which is baked into the dough and adds to the signature crunchy quality.

For extra emphasis, a Brooklyn-style crust should consist of the right texture. The unbaked dough is kneaded and meticulously hand-stretched for the ideal consistency and thickness. With a sturdy outcome, the pie should resemble slim, flawless slices that are highly mobile, as they can be folded over and conveniently eaten sandwich-style.

The hand-stretched technique

Crisp and slick, it's all in the crust. Brooklyn-style pizza showcases the art of hand-stretched dough that is centuries old. Brooklyn-style pizza makers may start with a soft, petite ball to produce the generous size and consistency to accompany the sauce, toppings, and cheese. Kneaded and hand-stretched to a particular size, the pie remains thin in the center with thicker, crispy edges. The key to preparing a perfect Brooklyn-style crust is by artfully hand-stretching the dough, not tossing it.

Stretching is a significant portion of the process, as the dough is worked and kneaded, and overextended, again and again, to attain the ultimate thickness and texture (via The Food XP). It's then dusted with cornmeal and baked on an aluminum pan to just the right crispy texture. The result is an airy, foldable crust to serve as a base for the delicious layers of meat, veggies, and cheese. 

Classic tomato sauce

What's in the sauce? Classic pizza sauce consists of canned tomatoes and tomato paste with olive oil added for a silky consistency. Garlic and herbs like basil and oregano are added for the signature Italian flavor. Small amounts of salt and sugar are also mixed in to provide the perfect balance. This combination provides the perfect base that melds well with various vegetable, meat, and cheese toppings on Brooklyn-style pizzas.

However, you can think outside the box and choose other sauces that complement the crisp crust. Depending on how you order or make your own Brooklyn-style pizza, the flavor of the sauce will play a huge role in its overall taste. With Domino's, you can opt for classic sauces like zingy red sauce or creamy alfredo. You can also go for the unexpected and have your crust topped with garlic parmesan, honey BBQ, or ranch. Then, fill it with your favorite toppings for a custom pie, perfect for your preferences. 

Toppings to the edge

Don't skimp on the toppings. Brooklyn style goes all the way with whatever toppings you desire to the edge of the crust. Typically, a simple approach to garnishing a pie might include black olives, mushrooms, and pepperoni. While you can't go wrong with classic pepperoni slices, include a range of toppings like green peppers, garlic, onions, meatballs, and mild sausages to help enhance the overall flavor while keeping it modest. You might even add fresh basil leaves if available. According to Bacinos Pizza, you may want to avoid adding pungent or tart elements like pineapple, goat cheese, kale, and spicy meats, which could throw off the Italian essence.

With a delightful and flavorful blend, the cheese on a Brooklyn style tends to be on the lighter side compared to the slightly heftier hand-tossed versions. This gives it the perfect balanced flavor while still being hearty and satisfying. This also means that Brooklyn-style pizza can be a lower-calorie choice with its thinner crust and smaller portion of cheese (via Oak and Rowan).

The superb balance of cheeses

To achieve the tasty brilliance of a Brooklyn-style pizza, a perfect sprinkling of white cheese melts with the toppings. As pizza itself may have originated from Naples, Italy, traditional recipes focused on applying the cheese first, then the sauce (via Pizza Bien). These days, there's a proper balance that has developed by the cheese binding the toppings while melting together in the oven. 

With Brooklyn-style pizza, less cheese is typically used. However, it's often a flavorful blend of cheese that provides its characteristic flavor profile. One key technique is adding provolone to the normal mozzarella pizza topping to up the creamy factor. In fact, Brooklyn-style pies typically feature more provolone than mozzarella in their blend. These two types of cheeses are combined to make Brooklyn-style pizzas full and aromatic. And with this magical mishmash, the amount of cheese is lightweight, not to overtake the unique flavor profiles of the toppings.

Baking the Brooklyn

Many thinner pizzas should aim to be cooked quickly for a hot and fresh presentation, as with the Brooklyn. Once it's ready to be baked, it should be placed on a shallow aluminum pan or baking stone in an oven preheated to about 500 degrees (via The Pizza Heaven). If you have a convection oven, this function can help give your pizza that evenly crisp, golden crust with its thorough circulation of heat. Remember to keep an eye on your pie though! Brooklyn pies will cook faster and receive an easier turnaround with a convection oven.

Wood or coal-fired pizzas can also give the Brooklyn a nice, charred appearance around the edges, as regular ovens may not create the same effect. This is an awesome way to add a distinct flavor and cook the pizza quickly. You can also use the broil function in your typical oven to achieve the same trademark charring and taste.

Six slice pies

Who doesn't want more pizza? As medium, large, and extra-large pizzas are usually cut into eight slices, the Brooklyn is different with its generous six servings (via Cook's Info). With larger triangular pieces, there's more goodness to enjoy within each bite of the sizeable portions, including more flavor and more ingredients like pepperoni and sausage. The stretching process of the dough is where makers establish the wider sections that allow for these ample serving sizes.

When it's time to slice up your Brooklyn pizza, you might start by cutting it in half horizontally, then continue by making an X through the center to achieve perfectly-portioned six pieces. Make sure you use a quality cutter that is adequately sharp and slice the pizza shortly after baking. If you have a long enough knife to cover the width of the pizza, you can use that as well. Or, use kitchen shears to cleanly slice through the pie from side to side, making six slices ready for devouring.

Fold and eat

One of the main perks of Brooklyn-style pizza dough is that it's ready to fold and eat. Whether you like to eat it sideways like a taco or horizontally like a sandwich, the crackly, crispy crust is undeniable, including that thin, greasy center. The fast-paced life of New York City pizza may have started this trend through film and television programs of the 1960s (via Scott's Pizza Tours). However, centuries ago, pizza was a go-to food for Neapolitan peasants. Served as street food, it's not too far off to think that these early pizza eaters might have folded their slices for portability as well.

Folding your slice allows you to dine on the go, it also keeps the melty cheese from burning the roof of your mouth and protects toppings from falling (via Time Out). However, not all pizza lovers are for the fold. Many claim that it unnecessarily shortens the dining process, robbing your tastebuds of the chance to savor the slice. 

Where to find the Brooklyn

Where can you find Brooklyn-style pizza? Domino's currently offers it on its national menu in two sizes. You might choose from a variety of meat toppings plus various kinds of cheese, like feta and cheddar. You can also customize your sauce for a truly unique pie. There are also various pizzerias around the country that have perfected the crispy cornmeal crust. Search for one in your area and go on a tasting tour to find your favorite.

It may be true that the fact that Brooklyn-style pizza actually originated in the borough is up for debate. However, if you happen to find yourself in the hip foodie city of Brooklyn, there are some fantastic pizza places to check out (via Thrillist). In fact, many create pies in styles that pay homage to other cities around the world. Emmy Squared is known for its rectangular Detriot-style pies. Or, check out Bar Camillo's old-world Roman-style pies if you're craving that crispy Brooklyn-style crunch.