Detroit-style pizza is a regional variation that features a rectangular shape with a thick, crispy crust and crunchy caramelized cheese along the edges. It originated in 1946 after Gus Guerra converted his former Detroit Prohibition-era speakeasy named Buddy’s Rendezvous into a full restaurant. Guerra decided to use an old Sicilian-style pizza recipe from his mother-in-law, and the legend goes that he baked the pizza in a parts pan used by Detroit’s automotive manufacturers. These special cast iron-like blue steel pans—named so because of their slight blue tint when new—give the Detroit-style pizza its uniquely crunchy bottom crust.
Recipe Servings: 8
+ 2 hours resting
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup water, warm
- Olive oil, as needed for greasing the bowl
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp sugar
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a food processor with a metal blade attachment and pulse to mix.
- Add 1 cup warm water and mix until a ball forms, about 30 seconds (if a ball does not form, add a bit more flour).
- Process for another 30 seconds before rolling the dough into a tight ball.
- Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
- Pour the oil into a small saucepot set over medium heat.
- Add the Italian seasoning and garlic and sauté until fragrant; do not let the garlic burn.
- Add the tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until concentrated, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Position an oven rack in the bottom of the oven and preheat to the highest temperature setting, 500–550°F.
- Pour the oil in a large, square metal cake pan (or, ideally, an authentic Detroit-style pizza pan).
- Place the dough in the pan and gently stretch it out to fit so the dough reaches the corners. If the dough is being temperamental, set it aside for 10 minutes to rest and try again.
- Layer the pepperoni on top of the dough.
- Sprinkle cheese cubes all over the pepperoni, especially around the perimeter up to the edge of the pan (this creates the coveted crispy cheese crust).
- Pour the sauce in three or four thick lines spaced 2–3 inches apart.
- Bake for 10–15 minutes, until bubbly and golden with a crispy cheese crust.
- Remove the pizza from the oven.
- Loosen the edges using a spatula and transfer the pizza to a cutting board.
- Slice into squares and serve.
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