Your Quick Guide to the Most Popular Pizza Styles
Plus, where to eat the best pizza in Berlin!
This article is part of “The Pizza Issue”, our month-long dive into everyone’s* favorite food. We’re sharing playful new recipes, talking pizza tools and toppings, and answering all your burning (but hopefully not burnt) pizza questions. Join our pizza party by checking out this link for an overview of all our latest stories and recipes—and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes, extra pizza content, and so much more!
Everyone has their favorite pizza style—you know the one that makes you feel amore like the kind Dean Martin sang about? For some, it’s his Italian-American pizza pie (more on that below), for others, like me, “the stars seem to shine like I’ve had too much wine”, when I look upon a Neapolitan-style pizza. Yes, the Best of Dean Martin CD had a lot of airtime in my childhood home.
This month, we’ve dedicated an entire issue to showing you the possibilities of making great pizza at home. But—just as we all have a favorite pizza style, so too do we have a favorite pizzeria. It would be remiss not to celebrate the real deal places whose deliveries have been emotional-pandemic support, places where we’ve celebrated in better times, and whose creations inspire our home cooked pizzas themselves.
In honor of pizza and our home city, Berlin, we’ve created a handy-dandy map of our team’s favorite places to eat pizza—a map that treks across the city to give you different styles of pizza all with equal measures of delicious. Whether you want a slice on the go, a pizza precluded by arancini, a giant pizza to treat your moving apartment crew with, or you want Berlin superlative Neapolitan pizza (look, we’ll give you choice but it’s ultimately in the eye of the beholder), carb your enthusiasm and save the map!
Here are some of the most delicious styles of pizza around, what makes them unique, how to replicate them at home, and if you’re a Berliner, scroll to the map at the end to see where to find them in the German capital.
1. Neapolitan pizza
Campania, the region home to Naples, is considered the birthplace of pizza. Neapolitan pizza is can be spotted its puffy, leopard-spotted crust flecked with char, what really makes a pizza Neapolitan is its brief, no more than 90 second stint in a fiery, industrial pizza oven that heats to 800 - 900°F (430-480°C). There is, somewhat predictably, even an association for “true” Neapolitan pizza that stipulates various metrics like a diameter of 8 - 13 inches (22 - 35 cm) and the particular provenance of the ingredients.
It is a pizza that is pretty much impossible to achieve in a home oven (if you’ve got a pizza oven, you’re much closer), but that’s not to say you can’t be inspired to make an at-home version that gets you that little bit closer to Naples. Don’t worry, we won’t report you to the Neapolitan pizza authorities.
How to make Neapolitan pizza at home: Lisa’s easy, no-knead pizza dough approximates the beautiful airiness of Neapolitan pizza and is shaped to get a similarly puffy crust. She uses a little whole wheat flour in the dough, which browns better in the lower heat of a home oven, to help get a little char.
Where to eat Neapolitan pizza in Berlin: It’s a style that’s booming in Berlin and you’ll find sundry options on the map. Three we particularly love are:
— L’antica pizzeria da Michele: Did you know you can find a branch of the OG Neapolitan pizza in Berlin. Here’s where to go to impress the pizza board.
—Zola: We are huge fans of the Spianata at Zola, a red pizza topped with spicy Spianata salami and a pool of stracciatella cheese. I have always appreciated the glugs of garlic oil on tap—perfect to mop up with your pizza crust.
—Standard: Neapolitan in style, local in ingredients, Standard’s pizza crust is airier than a spring day.
2. Deep dish pizza
For when more is just more, deep dish pizza is tied to the US cities of Detroit and Chicago. The Chicago-style is round and high-sided like a pie—stuffed with stringy, melted cheese, and tomato sauce, among other fillings. Detroit-style is made in a rectangular pan with high edges and cheese spread out all the way to the edges to yield the crispiest, cheesiest sides. It’s often topped with discs of pepperoni that come pleasingly curled straight outta the oven.
How to make deep dish pizza at home: Look to the name! You can make pizza in a springform pan, rimmed baking sheet, or even a ceramic dish—all of which will hold in yeasted dough that’ll rise and crisp up on the edges. To get really pillowy, double your dough recipe to make sure you can reach the desired height, make sure it has enough time to proof fully for maximum trapped air in the dough, and dot on your toppings (even the sauce!) so there are pockets of sauce and fillings, and plenty of air retained while baking.
Where to eat deep dish pizza in Berlin: To try Detroit-style deep dish, head to Magic John’s in Mitte. Unable to find proper American pepperoni in Germany, they make their own in collaboration with a small Berlin-based sausage manufacturer—and it’s true star, according to our Community Manager, Andreas.
3. New York-style pizza
What makes a pizza New York-style? Thin crust, wide slices, and an extra cheesy top—this is a pliant (but still crispy, and therein lies the magic) slice that is ready to be folded in half and eaten on the run or enjoyed as a huge “pie”, as they’re known locally.
How to make New York-style pizza at home: Try this recipe for another style of New York pizza—the “Grandma Pie,” an Italian-American creation that’s cooked in a sheet pan and was made for the home oven. It’s my favorite way to make great pizza at home and is also the inspiration behind this month’s cacio e pepe pizza.
Where to eat NY-style pizza in Berlin: Again, we’re going to send you to Magic John’s—your one-stop pizzeria for US-style pizzas in Berlin.
4. Pizza al taglio
I have what in hindsight are a fond memories (but at the time are slightly anxiety inducing as I mentally scrambled through rusty Italian vocabulary) of lining up at a famous pizza al taglio shop in Rome, eyeing up metres of long, crispy dough making its way out of the oven to be smothered with toppings—from tomato sauce and simple mozzarella to stuffed zucchini flowers and anchovies. As its name suggests, pizza al taglio (by the slice), is meant to be sliced, then eaten out of the hand—preferably, as I did, at the piazza on the steps of a fountain with a Birra Moretti. They usually boast a crispy crust, thin base, and eye-catching array of rotating toppings.
How to make pizza al taglio at home: Make a large batch of pizza dough that you can shape to fit large, rimmed baking sheets. To obtain a truly crispy crust, use the pizza setting on your oven, warm up a pizza stone, or upturn a baking sheet at the bottom of your oven as your DIY stone (like Lisa)! And, since so much of what makes pizza al taglio special are the toppings, see Andreas’ article all about getting out of your pizza box (much more fun visual than comfort zone, right?) and into new ideas. Your tastebuds will thank you, even if the purists won’t.
Where to eat pizza al taglio in Berlin: One of my favorite dough dealers of Berlin is Sironi. They do a daily array of crisp-crusted pizzas by the slice with toppings like Italian sausage and friarielli (rapini) or tender slices of potato and fragrant rosemary.
4. Cauliflower crust pizza
Dubious of efforts to water down perfection, I have not been kind to pizza with a cauliflower crust in the past; I’m sorry. However, my mind’s been changed by Christian’s cheesy cauliflower crust pizza. Look, if you’re looking to cut calories, this recipe is not your solution (although a recent, redemptive study suggests cheese’s unhealthy rep is entirely unfair), as it’s laden with three delicious cheeses—but for the gluten-intolerant, keto-curious, or straight-up cheese hedonists like me, it’s a great one for you. Plus, with shaved asparagus, parsley, and tomatoes on top, it’s like a quaint spring garden on a plate.
How to make cauliflower pizza at home: It pays to use a round pizza pan or a smaller sheet pain to act as a secure mold to keep the crust together; this three cheese cauliflower-crust pizza holds together like an absolute dream.
5. Stuffed crust pizza
Made famous by fast food chains like Pizza Hut, the stuffed crust is an over-the-top pizza flair. It might seem like some kind of industrial, cheesy sleight of hand, but it’s very easy to recreate at home.
How to make a stuffed crust pizza at home:1. Shape your pizza slightly larger than usual to allow for the stuffed crust.
2. Create a border of cheese using pre-bought mozzarella cheese sticks or by squeezing and shaping room temperature shredded mozzarella into a cheesy halo around your pizza.
3. Fold the edge of the pizza up and over the cheese and seal very tightly to create your crust. Top your pizza with desired toppings and bake immediately. Voila!
6. Sourdough pizza
Adding sourdough to your pizza adds flavor and extra pillowiness to the crust. When making sourdough pizza at home, you can omit the yeast and rely entirely on your starter to act as the dough leavener. There are various recipes, out there: some recipes (like this one from The New York Times) use a mixture of yeast and sourdough starter, while others (like this BBC Good Food recipe) simply use a basic sourdough bread recipe as their base.
Where to eat sourdough pizza in Berlin: Most highly-rated for sourdough pizza among our team were Neukölln’s Gazzo (who also made a name for themselves with their buffalo-milk soft serve ice cream drizzled with olive oil) and Prenzlauer Berg’s Estelle, who make pizzas with unexpected toppings like charred cabbage (it works, trust me!) Both have many vegan and vegetarian options as well.
What’s the difference between pizza and focaccia? The general answer is that pizza dough uses less yeast than focaccia—but this rule of thumb doesn’t especially apply if you think of thin, olive-oily Ligurian focaccia (my favorite!) or a heighty deep-dish pizza. So I’d vouch that—while the yeasted doughs themselves are similar, focaccia is baked more like bread with an all over, golden crust and less toppings; sometimes none at all.
How to make focaccia at home:
– Try a decorative garden focaccia
– Make an onion focaccia
– Go for this focaccia topped with sausage, rosemary, and potato
Where to eat focaccia in Berlin: Again, the answer here has to be Sironi, who make what is possibly my favorite focaccia ever—crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and oily enough to make a paper bag a window, dotted with hollows housing anything from rosemary to nuggets of potato to stracchino cheese, or spread simply with a herby tomato sauce. Perfection in dough.
8. Skillet pizza
Cooking pizza in a skillet helps attain a crispy, puffy pizza at home. Not only is it a helpful mold, but a cast iron pan is a great conductor of heat that can withstand the highest of oven temperatures and insulate your dough so it can rise up!
How to make skillet pizza at home:
Try this copycat Pizza Hut peperoni skillet pizza or make a delicious, vegetarian, onion and fennel pizza. If you have a bit more time and are into trying something trendy, make Devan’s confabulation of the viral pizza babka, comes twisted up into a thick round similar to Chicago deep dish, plus uses American-style “supreme” toppings.
So many styles, so little time: More 'pizzas' from around the world
For some, the definition of pizza may be limited to Naples alone, but for others, pizza is the most useful, all-purpose demarcation for any dough plus topping combo the world over. So, leading with that looser definition, there are so many more pizza styles of the world to eat and love. Here are some to get cooking!
— Tarte flambee (try the classic recipe from Alsace, or a version with swiss chard and bacon, or a gorgonzola and pear creation).
— Lahmacun, also known as Turkish pizza. Try this recipe!
— Lebanese manakish, like this recipe with za’atar and cheese.
— Georgian “pizza”, like cheese and egg-filled khachapuri.
Berlin Pizza Map: The Very Best Pizza, According to Our Team
Do you have a favorite style of pizza? Or another pizzeria in Berlin you’d love to recommend? Get chatting and exchange your thoughts in the comments below!
Published on April 17, 2021