Make Your Own Detroit Style Pizza!
Here in Michigan, we love and celebrate one of the best pizza styles anywhere—Detroit-style pizza.
We call it square, but it’s really a rectangle. The crust is thick and airy with a crisp bottom (like Sicilian-style pizza crust). Then because Michiganders and Detroiters are independent thinkers, our signature pizza showcases toppings directly on the crust, followed by cheese and thick, red sauce on top. If you haven’t eaten a Detroit-style pizza, don’t scoff. It’s delicious!
Detroiters have their own allegiances to pizzerias. For me, baking it at home is the best way to go and something I highly recommend. To get started, read on. Then, find our recipe for Detroit-Style Pizza and give it a try!
It’s All About the Pan
Appropriate pans are essential for Detroit Pizza—they make it possible to achieve a light fluffy crust with a crisp bottom using a home oven. The best option is a classic 14 x 10 x 2-inch nonstick Detroit pizza pan. They’re readily available online. But if you’re not ready to invest in a specialized pan, our recipe also provides instructions for using two cast iron skillets. Don’t try substituting a 13 x 9 x 2-inch cake pan unless it’s black. Shiny or grey cake pans just don’t get the bottom crust crisp enough.
Obviously, crust is a big deal on a Detroit pizza. For the perfect amount of chewiness without adding too much flour and making the crust tough, I found that stretching the dough works better than kneading it. Then to make the recipe work into your busy schedule, the dough rises in the refrigerator for 12 to 72 hours before it is shaped and baked.
Adding olive oil to the pan or skillets before pressing in the dough also helps create crispness. I know it seems like too much oil but it’s needed.
Finally, after adding the toppings, cheese and sauce, start baking the pizza on the bottom oven rack. Peek at the bottom crust and finish baking on the bottom rack if it needs more browning or on the middle rack if you just need to brown the cheese.
Pile On the Cheese
Great brick cheese is another defining aspect of Detroit pizza. The name doesn’t come from the cheese’s shape, but because bricks were traditionally used to press the curds. Brick cheese comes in two forms—a young, mild cheese (that’s the kind used on pizza) and a pungent, aged cheese. Sometimes it’s difficult to find brick cheese; your best bet is to look in the specialty cheese case of your local store. If you can’t find it, no worries; so our recipe gives you the option of combining either brick or cheddar cheese with mozzarella. Many classic Detroit pizzerias also combine cheeses on their pizzas, but their blends are trade secrets.
I’ve provided a quick pizza sauce recipe in the Detroit Pizza recipe. Making your own sauce is easy and allows you to better control the amount of sodium. It can even be used with pasta if you have extra.
Once your pizza is made, the only thing left to do is eat it. Enjoy this scrumptious flavor-bomb pizza. But be careful—once you start making your own pizza, your family and friends might not find take-out acceptable anymore!
Want to try making other homemade pizzas after perfecting this one? We’ve got lots of other delicious pizza recipes here.