If you haven't had Detroit Style Pepperoni Pizza, you're missing out on what could possibly be the most delicious pan pizza available. Detroit-style pizza is different than more popular deep-dish pizzas because unlike Chicago-style pizza the crust is pillowy and full of air bubbles almost like focaccia bread. One of the best things about Detroit-style pizza is that you don't have to travel to Michigan to enjoy it. Although there are plenty of pizza recipes out there, they don't get much more simple than this Detroit-style pizza recipe.
How Is Detroit-Style Pizza different than other Pizza Styles?
Let me count the ways!
For starters, Detroit-style pizza is cooked in a pan instead of directly on the floor of a pizza oven like New York-style pizza. The edge of the dough touches the edge of the prepared pan which often has a skim coating of extra-virgin olive oil on the bottom to assist with browning the bottom of the crust. The entire pizza is covered with cheese and the cheese extends to the edges of the pan. When cooked, the cheese overlaps with the dough creating a flavorful and crispy cheese crust that is browned along the edge of the pan.
Unlike Chicago-style deep dish pizza which is cooked in a round pan, Detroit-style pizza has an airy crust and the rectangular pan ensures every slice will have at least a few bites of that crispy crust that's covered in beautifully browned cheese from the sides of the pan.
But crispy edges aren't the only thing that's unique to this style of pizza. With Detroit pizza recipes, it's common for the tomato sauce to go on in reverse order, adorning the pizza's rectangular shape after it comes out of the oven.
What are the best toppings for Detroit-Style Pizza?
The Detroiter pizza from Buddy's Original Detroit Style Pizza is considered to be the gold standard of Detroit pizza. The pizza is topped with Wisconsin brick cheese and pepperoni on top. A tomato-basil pizza sauce that gets spooned on at the end along with some Parmesan cheese and a Sicilian spice blend.
One thing you don't want to skimp on is the cheese. High-fat, low-moisture mozzarella and brick cheese are about as classic as it gets for Detroit pizza. If you can't find Brick cheese locally, you can substitute Monterey jack, muenster, or a combination of the two along with mozzarella cheese.
As far as toppings go, sometimes the best pizza night ingredients at my house are leftover ingredients from previous cooks. I've used a bacon cheeseburger, leftover grilled chicken, jalapeno poppers, corned beef and cabbage, diced spiral ham, and even German Potato Salad as toppings. Although non-traditional as long as the toppings are on top of the cheese they tend to get browned and add loads of flavor.
Where do you find a Detroit-style pizza pan?
It's been said that the iconic rectangular pizza pan was taken from the automotive industry. Literally! Rumor has it that pans that may have recently contained automotive parts made their way into factory workers' kitchens so they could make a version of deep-dish pizza at home. The traditional pans typically come in two sizes. An 8" x 10" pan makes 4 slices or a 10" x 14" pan that yields 8 slices.
The walls of the pan are angled outward. This allows you to add plenty of cheese to the edges of the pizza so it can sink down into the edges of the dough and melt into a crispy cheese Brulee. The angles also allow the thick-crust pizza to be removed easily with a thin metal spatula.
If you can't find an authentic Detroit pizza pan, a square cake pan will work just as well. I have a tart pan with scalloped edges that works quite well, and I love the textured ridges of the crust.
Is there a quick way to make Detroit-style pizza?
If you are pressed for time or want to take the guesswork out of making Detroit-style pizza, I've found a ready-to-make mix that is fantastic. It also works well for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The mix is called Urban Slicer. Urban Slicer comes in 4 varieties including Detroit/Deep Dish, Neoplitan, Outdoor Grilling, and Gluten Free. I've tried all of them and they get my full endorsement. Each package makes 2 14" pizzas or in this case 2 rectangular pizzas.
- 1 Detroit-style pizza pan 10" x 14"
- 300 g Bread Flour
- 4 g Instant yeast
- 10 g kosher salt
- 240 g water
- Add all dry ingredients to a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix to combine
- Add the water and mix for 3 minutes on medium speed or until all flour has been saturated with liquid and a shaggy dough has formed.
- Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Continue mixing with the dough hook for 10 minutes until most of the flour has come clean from the side of the bowl.
- Brush your baking pan liberally with olive oil.
- Form the dough into a ball and lightly press it into an oval
- Wipe any excess oil from the pan and place the dough in the pan to rest overed for 30 minutes
- Stretch the dough to the edges of the pan or as close as you can get it while maintaining an even layer.
- Allow the dough to rest for 2-4 hours or until it has doubled.
- At this point, the dough should either be touching the edges of the pan or can be stretched to touch the edges. If the dough is still too tight, allow it to rest for another 15-30 min covered, and then perform the final stretch.
- Preheat your oven to 475F.
- Top the pizza with a thin layer of cheese and par-bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and add a thick layer of cheese around the edges of the pizza pan.
- Top with any of your preferred toppings and sauce if desired.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and crispy along the edges.
- If you refrained from saucing earlier, feel free to sauce at this point in streaks across the top of the pizza.
- Use a sturdy spatula and release the sides and bottom of the pizza from the pan.
- Cut into squares and serve.