Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular pizza with a chewy, thick, and crispy crust. It is traditionally topped with tomato sauce and Wisconsin brick cheese that runs right to the edges. This style of pizza is often cooked on rectangular steel pans. They are designed to be used as automotive drip pans or to hold the small parts in factories.
This style was developed in the mid-20th century in Detroit before it spread to the other parts of the United States in the 2010s. Detroit-style pizza is one of the signature foods of Detroit. When it comes to Detroit, the city is generally known for its top three exports such as pizza, music, and cars. Not to be overshadowed, the mass-produced and flimsy pizza chains are found in Detroit.
History of Detroit Style Pizza
The Detroit-style pizza was developed in 1946 at Buddy’s Rendezvous, a former blind pig that was owned by Gus and Anna Guerra. It was located on the corner of Six Mile Road and Conant Street in Detroit. The sources do not agree that the original Sicilian-style recipe was from Anna Guerra’s mother’s sfincione recipe. Also, it is not sure if it was from a restaurant’s employee, Cannie Piccinato.
The recipe of Detroit-style pizza was focaccia-like crust with pepperoni pressed into the dough that maximizes the flavor penetration. The restaurant used to bake it on the blue steel trays that came from a local automotive supplier.
What is Detroit Style Pizza?
The rectangular shape and airy and light dough with flavorful golden cheese perimeter is a Detroit-style pizza. It encourages savoring the corners where real estate crust is most abundant.
Defining Characteristics Of Detroit Style Pizza
Detroit-style pizza is a square and thick pizza with a bottom layer of crisp and deep-fried crust overflowing with delicious melted cheese. It is a rectangular pan pizza served in the United States with a variation of Sicilian Pizza, originally known as Sfincione meaning little sponge. Sicilian pizza is having softer bread than most American pizzas.
Detroit-style pizza is different from Sicilian pizza by the cheese-covered crust. It is usually so crisp that the cheese burns a bit. Also, it is having long vertical bands of sauce on top of the cheese. As a result, a unique style of pizza is doughy and having a sticky center with crispy outer crust. The cheese runs down the edges.
The traditional topping on a Detroit-style pizza is pepperoni but not in most cases. Instead of a large and flat circular pepperoni in common pizzas, Detroit-style pizza is having smaller and thicker slices of pepperoni that nestle in miniature cups while baking. The cups of pepperoni retain the fat and enhance the pizza while baking.
How Is Detroit Style Pizza Made?
The making of Detroit pizza starts with the dough. It is because it is known for its airier center with a crispy exterior. The dough needs to be properly hydrated. It means getting the perfect water/flour ratio is necessary for making Detroit-style pizza. To create the famous open, chewy, and fluffy center of the crust with a crispy exterior. Hence, Detroit-style pizza uses moister dough.
The next big factor in making an impeccable Detroit-style pizza in the pan. For making the best Detroit-style pizza, an industrial steel skillet with the sides slanted outward is used. It makes the area at the top of the pan larger than the area at the bottom. A 10 by 14-inch skillet with a black surface is ideal for making sure the batter fills the entire pan and makes the sides crispy.
Wisconsin Brick Cheese
Unlike most other styles of pizzas, Detroit-style pizza coats the crust with cheese and toppings underneath the sauce. Traditionally, Detroit-style pizza uses Wisconsin brick cheese, semi-firm cheese with a mild flavor and is high in fat, unlike regular mozzarella. The fat in Wisconsin brick cheese gives the crust a delicious buttery flavor. The cheese, itself stays sticky in the center and stretches around the edges of the pizza to caramelize into a cheesy and golden crust.
In some cases, the cheese is added first and sometimes the toppings are placed directly on the crust. Also, the sauce is always poured last on the pizza as a final layer of flavor. A Detroit-style pizza includes a tomato-based sauce that perfectly complements the softer brick cheese that tastes like cheddar cheese. The sauce can be applied in the form of stained spoons or thick lines known as racing streaks.
Some recipes recommend adding the sauce after the pizza has been taken out of the oven known as red lid because the sauce is the final garnish. The crust is protected from the tempera by waiting for the last second to add sauce. Whether the sauce is added after or before the baking, a Detroit-style pizza should be baked around 440 degrees Fahrenheit for 13 minutes. It makes sure that the pizza is cooked well.
Once the baking is complete, the pizza is cut into squares so that it makes it a Detroit-style pizza. These square slices are served piping hot and many diners choose to eat them with a fork and knife. Although some Detroit-style pizza fans are brave enough to eat it without using utensils.
How Detroit Style Pizza Is Different From Other Pizzas?
Usually, the image that comes to mind when someone says pizza is a thin-crusted round pizza with stingy and melted mozzarella cheese that falls into thin triangular slices. Detroit-style pizza deviates completely from the conventions with its rectangular shape and cheese topped with sauce. The crust is so thick that it might get impossible to fold it.
The Detroit-style pizza is completely different from conventional thin-crust pizzas such as New York Slice but it shares some common characteristics with other flatbread pizzas. The most notable difference between Detroit-style pizza with other flatbread pizzas is the cheese. The cheese is sprinkled over the top that gives a distinctive crispy layer of burnt cheese around the edges.
The dripping fat from the Wisconsin brick cheese helps to fry the bottom and side of the crust while baking pizza. The other types of pizza are considered deep dish while the Detroit-style pizza stands out with a crispy exterior and smooth center. While Chicago-style pizza features a flaky crust that is thinner and deeper like traditional pizza. On the other hand, Detroit-style pizza looks like focaccia.
Detroit Style Pizza – An Airy Dough Pizza With Red Top
No one knows how Detroit pizza was introduced but it is considered as one of the best types of pizza in the United States. The square shape, Sicilian style dough, red top, brick cheese, etc. made it unique in various ways. When you hear the word, pizza around and thinner dough pizza comes into your mind but Detroit pizza is different.
You can use the ultimate guide to pizza to know the distinguishing features of Detroit pizza with other conventional thin-crust pizzas. The use of pepperoni enhances the taste and Wisconsin cheese runs down the crust along with fats.