Have you been struggling to nail that desirable chewy texture in your New York-style pizza? Maybe you’ve tried mixing it for a longer time or a shorter time or adding more or less water—all to no avail. Is there something you’re overlooking?

Probably so. The answer to this question is not in mixing or dough absorption, but rather in flour selection.

The protein content of the flour that you elect to use will determine the textural properties of your finished New York-style pizza. By changing to a stronger flour, or by adding between 2% and 4% vital wheat gluten (available through any bakery ingredients distributor) to the formula, you should be able to achieve the desired chewy texture in the finished crust.

Related: Publication names the 6 best New York-style pizzerias in Chicago

For making this type of crust you want to use a very strong “pizza” flour. Then adjust the yeast level to between 0.75% and 1% compressed yeast, combined with salt levels of 1.8% to 2%. The lower yeast level will provide for less fermentation to the dough, resulting in a tougher eating characteristic. The slightly higher salt level will act to control the yeast activity, enhance flavor and toughen the finished crust.

The late, great Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann was a longtime contributor to PMQ and, before his retirement, served as director of bakery assistance for the American Institute of Baking. This article previously appeared in an earlier issue of PMQ Pizza Magazine.

Dough Information Center, Food & Ingredients