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The Elements of Style
What kind of slice are you enjoying?

10/15/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 They may all have sauce, cheese, toppings and a crust, but that doesn’t mean all pizzas are created equal. Depending on who you ask, there anywhere from four to 15 or more styles of pizza represented across the country.

“I think there [are] probably New York style, Chicago deep dish, Sicilian is definitely another style of pizza, and then there’s Greek and then there's more traditional Italian pizza,” Jimmy Hartwyk, owner of Skinny's Pizzeria in Manchester, said in a phone interview.
Though he thinks most pizza roots can be followed back to one of the core group of styles, he said certain regions shine through with specialties like California style pizzas, which tend to feature very unique toppings (think sushi or goat cheese and bean sprouts).
 
“Down south they probably have more savory meats and barbecue-type pizzas and things of that nature,” he said. “Out west you know there are a little more unconventional [styles].”
Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria with locations in Manchester and Epping, said that often times the style of pizza one was brought up eating is what they tend toward, showing how regional options create such a stronghold.
“We have a lot of Greek style pizza in this area,” she said in a phone interview. “In Connecticut they have more Italian, coal-fired … but it does seem likes there's different regions that have a very specific type of pizza.”
 
Covering the components
While sauce, cheese and toppings play a big role in differentiating the styles of pizza, if Lane-Rondeau had to pick the defining factor, she’d go with crust.
“It has a lot to do with the crust, the flour, the dough,” she said. “I think there are three components, the dough, the sauce and the cheese. The ingredients are the topping on the cake, but if you’ve got those three components you can make a good pizza.”
Hartwyk learned the art of pizza making in a New York style pizzeria, and continues that “concentration” of foldable, thin crust pizza slices at Skinny’s. He explained that New York style pizza is cooked right on the brick in the oven.
“We keep our bricks at about 550 to 600 degrees and when we put the pizza in it comes right off the wooden peel and it goes right onto the brick,” he said.
A style popular in New Hampshire is Greek style, which Hartwyk said stands apart due to two main factors — it’s cooked in a pan and uses a cheese blend with a good amount of cheddar.
Using an oiled, shallow pan means the thicker crust is on the chewy side and tends to be an oily pizza. This is not to be confused with Chicago deep dish pizza, which are cooked in deeper pans.
Neapolitan pizzas made at 900 Degrees mimic those found in Europe, with clean flour, tomatoes, mozzarella and a thinner crust cooked in a wood-fired oven. 
 “[It’s] very, very thin, cooked at a super high temperature and that's more … traditional pizza like if you went to Italy you'd get something closer to that,” Hartwyk said.
“Now you might add different types of cheese for some of our other pizzas,” Lane-Rondeau said. “But your basic Neapolitan pizza is the margherita,” she said.
And don’t forget that style of pizza and type of pizza are not interchangeable terms — you can get a Greek New York style pizza with feta cheese, olives, onions, tomatoes and bell pepper that’s still cooked in a brick oven with a nice, thin crust. 





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