Chewy and crispy on the edges, cheesy and saucy on the top, any home cook can make this mouth-watering Detroit-Style pizza!
2cupswarm water (95° F), divided
4cupsplus 2 Tablespoons bread flour
extra virgin olive oil for pan
2Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1medium yellow onion, chopped
2cloves garlic, minced
132-ounce can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1teaspoonkosher salt, plus more as needed
16 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into small dice-sized cubes*
12 oz. medium cheddar cheese, cut into small dice-sized cubes
5 oz. sliced pepperoni (optional)
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and the sugar in 1 cup of warm water (water should be approximately 95° F). Let sit for five minutes. Mixture should be bubbly after sitting.
In a stand mixer, combine the yeast/warm water mixture, the remaining cup of warm water, 2 cups of bread flour, and salt. Use the paddle attachment and mix until combined. Add the remaining 2 cups and 2 Tablespoons of flour, one cup at a time. Once the dough begins to come together, remove the paddle attachment and swap for dough hook. Once combined, let dough rest for 10 minutes.
Mix the dough again with the dough hook until smooth (about 1 minute). The dough should be soft, but not super sticky. You may need to add an additional 2 Tablespoons of flour if you live in a humid climate, or it is humid on the day that you bake. Spray the sides of the mixing bowl with cooking spray, cover bowl with plastic, and allow dough to rise until doubled, about 2 hours (see notes on room temperature).
Pour 2-3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in each of the pizza pans and, using your hands, spread the oil until it coats the bottom and sides of the pans evenly. Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, carefully remove from mixing bowl and place on a floured surface. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and divide in half with a bench scraper or knife. Carefully stretch each ball of dough with your fingers and the back of your hands (pulling outward as the dough sits on top of your knuckles ) to form two rectangles, roughly the size of your pizza pans. Place the dough in the pans and gently stretch the dough until it covers the bottom of the pan.
Cover both pans tightly with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for 4 hours, or until ready to bake (good for up to 36 hours).
In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally- about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and accompanying juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you release them into the sauce pan. Add one teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce for a few seconds, keeping some small pieces of tomato/onion visible. Add the oregano and stir. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed. Set aside until pizza assembly.
Assembly & Baking
One hour before you plan to bake your pizza, place a baking steel or pizza stone on the bottom rack of oven and preheat to 550° F for one full hour.
Assemble the pizza just before baking. If using pepperoni, layer about 1 1/2 ounces of the pepperoni directly on top of the dough. Sprinkle 1/2 of mozzarella (roughly 8 ounces) and 1/2 of cheddar cheese (roughly 6 ounces) evenly on top. Make sure there is plenty of cheese situated on the border of your pan, which will help give you those iconic, crunchy, Detroit-style pizza edges.
Spoon two parallel lines of pizza sauce down the length of the pizza, with 2-3 inches of space on either side. Use about 1/3 cup of sauce per line. If using pepperoni, sprinkle a few more pieces alongside and in between the sauce.
Place the pizza directly on the pizza stone or baking steel if using, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Pizza is done when cheese is melted and bubbly, and the crust is a deep golden brown on the sides and bottom of pizza. You may have slight charring anywhere cheese has contacted the pan, which is completely acceptable. Turn oven to broil, transfer pizza to top rack, and broil for 1-2 minutes, until pepperoni and pizza edges are nice and crisp. Watch carefully and do not burn pizza. Adjust oven back to 550° F if you still need to cook your second pizza.
Remove pizza from oven, allow to cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes, and repeat steps 2-5 for remaining dough. Using two large spatulas on either side of the pizza, transfer to a cutting board. Cut into square pieces (6 per pizza) and serve immediately.
2 Detroit style pizza pans (see notes)
Pizza stone or pizza steel (see notes)
Detroit-style pizza is (unsurprisingly) best made in Detroit-style pizza pans. This is our preferred pan to use, which will give you beautiful, crispy crust every single time. You can also make Detroit-style pizza in a 9x13" nonstick aluminum baking pan.
If you have a pizza stone or pizza steel, make sure and use it for this recipe. Using one or the other will help produce the signature deep brown crust on the bottom of your pizza. Place it on your bottom rack, and let it sit there for a full hour as your oven preheats.
This recipe makes two Detroit-style pizzas. If you’re going to all of the trouble to make Detroit-style pizza, we believe it's in your best interest to make at least two (this pizza reheats really well btw). However, if you strongly prefer to make one, the recipe can easily be halved.
Make sure that your room is sitting at about 70 degrees for the initial rise of the dough. If your house runs cold or it is winter, consider bumping up your heat a few degrees, or letting your dough rise in a warm part of your house (but not too warm).
*Traditional Detroit-style pizza is made with a delightful cheese called Brick Cheese. You can often find it in the specialty cheese section of grocery stores, or you can even purchase it online. If you prefer to use brick cheese for this recipe rather than the combination of mozzarella and cheddar, use about 14-15 oz. per pie, totaling to roughly 28-30 oz. of brick cheese for both pizzas.