It almost goes without saying but pizza is one of the most popular, delicious foods across the globe. Don’t get me wrong, I still love pizza, but after working with it for over a decade it’s time to admit I’m getting just a little bored. This doesn’t mean I’m done eating pizza, but it does mean that the pizzas I make these days are off the beaten path of classic pizza styles. One of these “new” types of pizzas I’ve come to adore is the Detroit-style pizza. Today we’re going to set you up with the technique and an important new tool to perfect for your first Detroit-style pizza.
There are a few things that set Detroit-style pizzas apart from traditional pies. The first difference you’ll notice is that Detroit-style pizzas are rectangular, not round. It’s been said that the first of these pizzas were baked using rectangular metal trays from the Motor City’s auto factories.
Detroit pizzas are also built in a different manner than traditional pizzas, with the cheese going on first. Toppings are laid down next, and finally sauce is placed on top of the pizza. When you make a traditional pizza, you also leave crust at the edge; this is not the case with the Detroit-style pizza. Cheese is spread edge to edge, and if you’ve done it right the cheese will fry up nice and crispy just like the coveted crust on grandma’s scalloped potatoes. It’s a crispy, fluffy, and cheesy combination that will shake up your pizza world. Today we’re going to set you up with the technique and an important new tool to perfect for your first Detroit-style pizza.
Setting up the Dough
The one major difference in technique here is the use of a Detroit-style pizza pan. You’ll want a sturdy, non-stick pan that’s deep enough to allow for rise. The pan also helps to create what I like to call the “fried cheese effect.” I like to use a 10-14 oz. dough ball for this pizza in order to achieve the proper thickness when fully stretched. Once you’ve found the right baking pan, you’ll begin to shape the dough into its rectangular shape. I find it’s easiest to achieve this shape by using a combination of your hands and a rolling pin. Let’s take a detailed look at how to shape our dough to fit the pan we’ve selected.
Starting with a cold piece of dough, stretch the dough by pulling opposite ends of the dough ball. Make a long log shape that will help begin to form a rectangle with the dough.
Roll the dough out using the rolling pin, squaring it up as you go by pulling on the corners of the rectangle.
Use plenty of olive oil both in the pan and on the dough. Use at least 3 Tbsp. in the pan to crisp the crust and keep it from sticking.
Once the dough is rolled out to a rectangle slightly bigger than the pan, carefully peel it off the rolling mat and place it in the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to proof.
Assembling and Cooking your Pizza
Once your dough has been shaped and proofed, the hard part is over. Place the cheese on the proofed crust, followed by your choice of toppings and finally the pizza sauce. As you can see in the picture I used a spoon, but you can also use a squeeze bottle if you’d like more even coverage. The sauce is put on this order so that it doesn’t soak into the crust, making for a crispier pizza.
Baking your Detroit-style pizza is also slightly different than cooking a regular pizza. If you’re using a Pizzeria Pronto, preheat the oven to 550-600°F. Once your pizza is assembled, place the pan in the oven and cook 12-14 minutes. I recommend placing the pan onto a pizza screen half way through the baking process to prevent the bottom from overcooking. You’ll also need to rotate the tray 2 to 3 times as it cooks to ensure even browning.
In your kitchen oven, the pizza cooks best at 500°F on the middle rack position. Bake the pizza 14-16 minutes until golden brown.
Practice Makes Perfect
Although they take a little more time and effort to prepare, Detroit-style pizzas are a delicious spin on a classic food that almost anyone can appreciate. Try one yourself and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about!
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