Detroit Pepperoni Pan Pizza

What do you get when you take a Sicilian-style pizza recipe and bake it in blue steel pans originally designed for the auto industry to hold nuts and bolts? Detroit-Style pizza, that’s what. The square pans act like a cast iron skillet to create a super crisp crunch on the crust. Cooks spread the blend of mozzarella and Wisconsin Brick cheese up the deep interior sides of the pans to form an awesome caramelization. The result is a pan pizza on steroids. Traditionalists bake the pizza twice, putting the sauce on for the second cook to ensure a perfectly crisp crust.

Detroit Pepperoni Pan Pizza

Detroit pan pizza is all about the caramelization – caramelized crust and caramelized cheese. This recipe gives you a square or rectangular pizza with a rich, crunchy crust topped with thin strips of marinara sauce, gooey cheese dipping down the sides, and wide pepperoni slices. Pizza dough can be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated. Like Motown itself, this pizza is bold, unique, and flavorful.
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Course: Hand Food, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American, American Midwest, North American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting dough: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with dough hook attachment
  • 2 x 8-inch square metal cake pans or a 10 x 14-inch metal baking pan
  • Offset spatula or bench scraper
  • Large bowl with lid or plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 300 gm Bread flour (2 generous cups)
  • 5 gm Instant yeast (about 1 tsp)
  • 9 gm Kosher salt (about 1 tbsp)
  • 220 gm Water
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • cups Store-bought pizza or tomato sauce, at room temperature
  • 12 oz Pepperoni, 1-inch wide, cut into ⅛-inch slices
  • 12 oz Wisconsin brick cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (or 6 oz cubed Monterrey Jack combined with 6 oz low-moisture mozzarella)
  • ½ cup Pepperoncini peppers or other pickled peppers, sliced crosswise (optional)

Instructions

Make Dough

  • Combine flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand up mixer with dough hook attachment. Mix briefly on low speed and then add water and mix until dough comes together into a rough ball. Shut off mixer and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Turn back on at medium-low speed and mix for 10 minutes to form a smooth, silky ball. Remove dough hook and form dough into a tight ball. Set ball in bottom of mixer bowl and seal the top with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Line Pan with Dough

  • Pour 2 tablespoons oil across bottom of a rectangular baking pan, or 1½ tbsp into each of two 8-inch cake pans. Split dough in half if using 2 pans. Transfer dough to pan and roll to cover in oil. Press down on dough with fingers and spread towards the edges being careful not to tear. Cover tightly and leave on counter to relax, 30 minutes. Stretch dough beyond corners so it will pull back into place covering the corners. Cover again and set aside another 30 minutes.

Assemble Pizza

  • Adjust oven rack to lowest level. Preheat oven to 550°F (290°C).
    Press down on dough with your fingertips to remove any big air bubbles. Pull dough up sides. Lay half the pepperoni over the dough. Top with cheese cubes, ensuring they go all the way to the edges. Sprinkle peppers, if using, over cheese and then layer remaining pepperoni. Spoon tomato sauce over top vertically in 3 long rows.

Bake and Serve

  • Transfer to oven and bake until edges are black and bubbly, about 12-15 minutes. Exposed cheese on top will be starting to brown. Transfer to stove top. Run a thin metal spatula around the edges to loosen the pizza. Carefully lift the whole thing out and slide it onto a cutting board. Cut pizza into 4-inch squares and serve.

Notes

  • It’s important to scatter cheese around the edges. The cheese melts over the sides and caramelizes the edges of the crust, a defining feature of Detroit pizza.
  • Keep tomato sauce light. Three lines down the middle is enough.
  • For a slightly crisper pizza, put pizza into oven without an tomato sauce. Remove the pizza 5 minutes before it’s done cooking, add the tomato sauce strips, and cook for another 5 minutes.

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