Detroit Style pizza is famous for its thick, crispy crust that reminds people of Foccacia bread. It has layers of yummy pepperoni slices, diced brick cheese, and rows of homemade sauce.
The authentic buttery brick cheese melts and caramelizes on the spicy meaty pepperoni. The rich simmered tomato sauce flavored with herbs, sugar, spices, and garlic offers a palatable moist fruity break to the chewy crust. Traditionally, the pizza is baked in an oil-greased black anodized pan to achieve crisp golden perfection.
This pizza was created in 1946 at a restaurant in Detroit named “Buddy’s Rendezvous.” It is unclear whether the owner’s Sicilian mother-in-law influenced the pizza style. The classic Sicilian pizza known as “sfincione” is also prepared in a rectangular pan and has a fluffy crust. As goes for the Chicago-style deep dish pepperoni pizza. It has a flaky deep pie-like crust. On the other hand, Detroit style pizza has a more airy crust with a crispy underside.
You don’t need a ton of ingredients for the Detroit style pizza. Most of the ingredients are similar to a regular pizza. There are a couple of things you can order online, if unavailable at your grocery store.
- Bread flour
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Wisconsin brick cheese
It is best to stick to bread flour for this recipe. All-purpose flour isn’t strong enough compared to bread flour. Flour strength is necessary for the crust to hold the cheese and toppings. Furthermore, the dough must be set aside to rise multiple times to achieve a scrumptious crisp bready crust.
The golden sauteed garlic infuses an earthy aromatic flavor into the sauce. Keep a close watch while sauteing, as the garlic can turn brown and burn within seconds.
Tomatoes are a juicy fruit with tangy acidity. Simmering thickens and intensifies the sauce flavor. Additionally, the thick consistency is necessary to help apply the sauce in rows without running all over the place.
Dried herbs, like oregano and basil, enhance the taste of the sauce. Also, in slow cooking, dried herbs tend to hold the flavor much longer than fresh herbs. If using fresh oregano or basil, chop them up, and add them right before turning off the burner.
Wisconsin Brick Cheese is the classic cheese in Detroit-style pizza. It’s an aged cheese with a high-fat content. It has a buttery taste, melts deliciously, and browns well during baking. Thus, providing an exclusive lip-smacking taste.
This recipe uses Boars Head pepperoni. You may use any natural casing pepperoni. During the baking process, they cup and crisp up exceptionally well.
If you can’t find Wisconsin Brick cheese in your area, you may use a combination of Monterey Jack and mild Cheddar. Moreover, young cheddar may be alternated with low-moisture mozzarella. And it’s always best buy cheese in a block and cut or shred it at home
You may use your favorite type of pepperoni slices. Or substitute them with crumbled spicy Italian sausage, ground beef, bacon, or ham. Vegetarians can switch the meat topping with red onion, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and olives.
Detroit-style pizza notes
Traditionally, the Wisconsin brick cheese is diced. At times, this makes the top heavy and deflates the crust. Therefore, you may layer with shredded brick cheese instead of diced to maintain the crust’s fluffy texture.
Keeping the sauce slightly chunky helps it stay in place when topping on the diced cheese layer. When it’s too smooth pureed consistency, the sauce spreads all over, which we do not want to happen.
Store and Reheat
Wrap each pizza slice in cling film and keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. In the freezer it will last up to 30 days.
To reheat the Detroit-style pizza in the air fryer, line the basket with a foil sheet and air fry a 360° F for 3-6 minutes. To save the toppings from burning or drying out, you may lightly spray the top of the pizza with oil.
How to make Detroit style pizza
- Prepare the crust – In a stand mixer, pour in the warm water and yeast. Let sit for a couple mins before adding the flour. With your dough hook, mix at a low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Rest for 10 minutes. Then run on medium-low until the Detroit pizza dough is silky smooth. Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
- Make your sauce – In a food processor, blend 3/4 of the tomatoes with the seasonings. Keep it chunky and set aside. Next in a small sauce pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about 15 seconds. Add in the mixture from the food processor along with the rest of the tomatoes. Mix well and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl and let cool.
- Assemble the pizza – Coat a Detroit-style pizza pan with olive oil. Place the dough into the pan and spread it out to the edges. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Spread the dough and rest again, covered, for 45 minutes. Then, spread half the pepperoni slices on the raw dough. Followed by the diced cheese. Then spoon the sauce into 3 stripes and cover with remaining pepperoni. Bake in a preheated oven on a pizza stone at 500 degrees F. Remove once the crust is golden brown.
Detroit style pizza FAQ
Why place the pan on a preheated pizza stone?
The pizza stone helps transfer all the heat into the bottom of the pan. Thus, the crust turns out perfectly golden and crisp. Which is the highlight of the Detroit-style pizza.
What is the actual pan size used in Detroit style pizza?
A 10×14 inches rectangular metal pan is typical for the Detroit style pizza. If unavailable, two 8x8inches cake pans will work and make 2 pizzas. Split the dough into 2 equal halves and divide the cheese, pepperoni, and toppings as well.
Which wine pairs well with Detroit Style Pizza?
“Tenuta La Fuga 2014 Brunello di Montalcino” is an Italian red wine. Its cheery & spice flavor, along with the sharp acidity, compliments the pepperoni-topped pizza. The “Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016” is another brilliant red wine.