Detroit Style Pizza

With a storied past that could fill a book as thick as this sumptuous pie, Detroit-style pizza represents the pinnacle of nearly 100 years of restaurant pizza making in America. With rich and tangy topping, and a tender yet crisp-and-crunchy crust pizzas from establishments as Buddy's and Shield's have been pleasing patrons with this distinctive style since 1955.

THE PANS

The deep dished carbon steel pans that the pizzas are baked in are a critical part of the Detroit-style process, and cannot be overlooked. What I use as four-cut pan should weigh in at almost a pound. Pre-seasoned pans are great, but if you're a true fanatic about creating patinas AND pizza grab the unseasoned.

8x10 Pan

Seasoned pan on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hPZvJ7

Unseasoned Traditional Pan on Detroit Style Pizza Co: http://bit.ly/2hPNkMo

Seasoned Pan+Dough Mix+Lid+Spatula+Tongs at Detroit Style Pizza Co. http://bit.ly/2iwVz0B

Only an 8x10 you say? You want to make a big one if you are going to the trouble of making pizza by hand? Buy a bigger pan after you master making the pizza! It hurts a lot less if you fuck up and have to throw away $6 worth of food than double that amount. Besides, this style of pizza is meant to be experimented with and smaller pizzas mean you can try a lot of topping combinations. An 8x10 will comfortably feed 2 people, and you'll maybe have a two slice or two leftover for breakfast (maybe).

THE CRUST

The pan leads to the crust, our second most important part of the pizza. I hope you have a stand mixer with a hook attachment, otherwise start doing some hand and arm stretches. Gather the following:

1 pkg Rapid Rise Yeast

1/2 tsp of granulated sugar

1.5 cups of Bread Flour

1.5 cups of All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp of kosher or sea salt

1.5 cups of 110 degree water

Start by blooming the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and the 1/2 tsp sugar in your mixing bowl. Let it sit for about 8-12 minutes or until a noticeable froth appears on top, not big bubbles, just some foaming.

(No foam? Your water is either too hot or too cold, or your yeast is old and dead. Start an series of controlled experiments to isolate variables and solve the problem.)

Add the rest of your warm water and then add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Incorporate the dough with the hook attachment with your mixer set to low (with a sturdy wooden spoon). Once the dough comes together remove it from the hook, reset your mixer and mix at medium speed for 7-8 minutes (start kneading on a dusted counte). Every 2 minutes remove the dough from the hook and reset the mixer (keep kneading!). You are looking for a sticky dough that holds together, but is not tight around the hook (keep kneading!). Even the mixer folks are going to have to knead now, so turn out the dough on to a flour dusted counter and work the dough for another 3 minutes or so, all the while adding maybe 1/4 cup more flour. The result should be a less-sticky ball that is elastic to your pull, but will spread out slowly on its own when left to sit. Lightly coat the dough with olive oil to prevent a skin from forming during proofing in a bowl covered in a damp towel.

After 30 minutes in the bowl the dough will be ready to be punched down (knead it a couple times to deflate the dough). At this stage we will portion the dough for the pan. I like to use a scale, it should be 250-300g of dough for an 8x10 pan. That's about 1/4 the total amount of dough, or enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan with 1/2" of goodness. I use preseasoned pans and I do not grease them, which helps the dough adhere to the pan while stretching it into the corners. A quick dash of cooking spray doesn't hurt, but don't go overboard with glugs of oil or pats of butter. The dough should be flat, even, and level with the bottom of the pan. DO NOT push crust up the sides of the pan. Freeze (or refrigerate if using imminently) extra dough in greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rest and rise for another 1.5 - 2 hours with the pan under a damp kitchen towel, now we are ready to make the sauce.

THE SAUCE

I like a really robust, fresh, and tomato-y pizza sauce. This one is quick to construct and tastes like it took loads of effort. It's also a ringer for Buddy's tomato-basil sauce.

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, minced

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste (metal tube kind)

1.5 tbsp dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp oregano

1.5 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Combine the garlic, onion and oil and simmer on low heat until fragrant and soft but not developing color. Add the tomato, tomato paste and herbs. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or while you get the rest of the toppings together and the dough rests. Doesn't really matter, just don't burn it.

THE TOPPINGS

4oz grated Monterrey Jack cheese

4oz grated muenster cheese

1 cup 1/4" sliced mushroom

about 1/2 cup thick-cut pepperoni

1/2 to 3/4 cup sauce

CHEESE selection is important, and will change with respect to the other toppings present. Traditional Detroit pies use Wisconsin brick-cheese, which is creamier tasting and fattier than the mozzarella found on lesser pizzas. For a standard pepperoni and mushroom pizza I use a 50-50 blend of Monterrey jack and muenster cheeses. Havarti, cheddar, and Gouda are all good blending options but try to stick to a more neutral and less-dry cheese for half the blend. The fat content is essential for the crispy caramelized cheese at the edges of the pizza; fresh cheeses like mozzarella, feta, and ricotta should be treated as extra toppings. Grate your own damn cheese! Those bags have additives to keep the cheese from clumping and just taste bad, and the bricks are cheaper anyway and you'll pay for that box grater in no time.

THE CONSTRUCTION

Push your dough back into the corners and edges, if it is still retracting when stretched let it rest longer. Traditional layering goes crust-meat-cheese-veggies-sauce. There are of course exceptions to the rules and personal preferences to take into account but I think this order yields the best result and contrast in texture across a slice. Meats are kept low to avoid burning during the longer cooking time, sauce is either dolloped randomly or in bold purposeful stripes down either side of center. Sauce is strewn among veggies on top of the cheese so that these water-laden ingredients can let off steam and concentrate flavor, and allow us to avoid having a soupy center. Cheese gets all the best treatment hanging out in the middle of all the toppings, mingling with the sauce, and forming a crisp delicious crust at the edges of our pie.

For a crust-sauce-cheese-topping ordered pizza it is a good idea to cut down on the amount of your ingredients slightly to allow for more even cooking.

BAKE IT

Put your raw pizza into a preheated 425 degree oven for 14-18 minutes in the top third of your oven. Convection is a no-no so turn off those fans. I like a well-done pizza so I go a little heavier on the sauce and pull it out when the cheese has formed a unmistakable and structurally robust brown crust at the edge.

EAT IT

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