Does New York Water Make the Best Pizza Dough?

There’s something in the water: the Hudson Valley’s water supply makes a real difference in New York-style pizza crust




Ulster County’s Ashokan Reservoir plays a significant role in making 
New York pizza stand out

Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock

For nearly a century, New York pizza purveyors and bagel bigwigs have given the city’s water credit for their terrific-tasting treats. But really, they should be thanking the Hudson Valley. After all, most of the city’s water supply comes from reservoirs, streams, lakes, and ponds located in Ulster, Greene, Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester counties (the rest flows from neighboring Sullivan and Delaware counties). From the nearly 2,000-square-mile watershed, the city’s lifeblood travels through an underground system of tunnels and aqueducts — an amazing 95 percent of it moves by gravity alone — where it is naturally filtered almost to perfection. That’s right, no artificial filtration is required; since 1997, the state has been implementing programs to naturally stop contamination, and they have worked so well that in 2007 the EPA declared man-made filtration systems unnecessary.

This all adds up to the Valley being the source of one of the healthiest, most mineral-rich, best-tasting water supplies in the nation. But does our water really make a difference in the outcome of a pizza crust? Pizzaiolos of New York claim it is what marks Big Apple pizza the best in the world. Giovanni Scappin says minerals in the water actually can affect how pizza dough tastes. “Different minerals make yeast in dough react differently, meaning you can get different types of acidity and taste,” he explains. “If you are in Colorado, you might have different minerals and taste than you have in upstate New York.”

You’re welcome, New York City.

Need more proof? 
Watch the Food Network’s Food Detectives solve the mystery below. (Video coming soon!)

» Return to Pizza and Pizzerias in the Hudson Valley feature story
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