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Detroit Style Pizza and Knives Out

Hello and welcome to Pizza and a Movie! Alex requested a pepperoni Detroit Style Pizza – with its puffy, thick crust, its edges laced with crispy, crunchy cheese. Similar to Chicago Style Pizza, Detroit Style Pizza is made in a deep pan with everything layered on the dough in reverse order: the toppings on the dough, then cheese, topped with dollops (or stripes) of thick red sauce. Possibly, the most characteristic feature of a Detroit Style Pizza is how the cheese goes all the way to edges; climbing the sides of the pan, resulting in an edge of crispy, browned cheese. Let’s get right to it!

Detroit Style Pizza

Traditionally, this pizza is made in a dark, hard-anodized pan with deep sides. The dark color of the pan helps to get an evenly cooked, crispy-edged pizza. This particular pan is heat safe up to 700 degrees and has a natural non-stick quality to it that requires no pre-seasoning. I found a recipe for Detroit Style Pizza on the King Arthur website, so let’s start with the dough.

The Dough

This pizza dough recipe calls for bread flour, instant rise yeast, kosher salt and lukewarm water. I feel like “lukewarm” is a subjective term, so I found that in my 74-76 degree kitchen, 87 degrees is the sweet spot for my water when making pizza dough. I use my probe thermometer to be sure of the temperature.

Dough ingredients

Mix the dough ingredients in a stand mixer on low, with the dough hook, until a shaggy dough forms. Then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then, uncover and turn the mixer on low and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and pulls clean away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 more minutes.

Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Dough and Sauce

When the dough is doubled in size, pour about two tablespoons of olive oil into the pizza pan. Place the dough in the pan and gently stretch the dough to the corners of the pan until the dough begins to shrink back and will not stretch any farther.

Then cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest for 30-40 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and position an oven rack in the bottom position. While the dough is having its second rise, we can make the sauce. One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, garlic and balsamic make up this simple sauce.

tomato sauce toppings

Begin by heating two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced or pressed garlic. Then add the dried herbs and crushed red pepper. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes and their juice. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine and bring to a light simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and very thick.

Toppings

Turn your attention next to the toppings. I have 8-ounces of pepperoni, 6-ounces of low moisture mozzarella and 6-ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Cube the cheeses into roughly 1/2-inch cubes. My cheddar happens to be slices, so I just made two stacks of 3 slices and cubed the stacks. It’ll be fine.

Detroit Style Pizza toppings

Building the Detroit Style Pizza

After its 30-40 minute proofing time, stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. If it still wants to shrink back, cover it and let it proof 15 more minutes, or until it easily reaches the corners of the pan. Then, gently press the dough to release any large air bubbles.

Press the air out of the dough

Start by covering the dough with the pepperoni slices, be sure to go all the way to the edges. Then evenly place the cheddar cubes, again going all the way to the edges.

Fill in the spaces with the mozzarella cubes. make sure you get the cheese all the way to the edges, touching the sides of the pan.

pepperoni pizza topped with cheese

The sauce tops the pizza. You can dot the top with dollops of sauce, or you can make three vertical stripes of sauce down the center of the pizza. Try not to get the sauce too close to the edges; we want the cheese to make the edging on this pizza.

topping pizza with sauce

Pop the pizza in the preheated oven on the bottom rack and bake for 12-15 minutes.

pre-baked Detroit Style Pizza

The pizza is ready when it sits a bit higher in the pan, the cheesy edges are super-dark brown, almost burnt, and the cheese in the center is melted and beginning to get spotty brown.

Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza

When it comes out, take a sturdy spatula and run it around the edges of the pizza to loosen the sides from the pan, then let the pizza sit for 10 minutes.

Detroit Style Pizza, loosen edges from pan.

After 10 minutes, carefully slide the spatula under one side or end of the pizza to loosen it from the bottom of the pan, then slide it out on a cutting board.

Use a pizza blade or chef’s knife to cut the pizza into squares. Make straight-down cuts, so as not to drag the toppings across the pizza.

Detroit Style Pizza squares

I am sure you can imagine how amazing this Detroit Style Pizza tastes. The extra sharp cheddar adds such a great layer of flavor. The crust is perfectly cooked; it’s puffy and soft, with a crisp bottom and edges. And that edging of cheese – it’s crispy and browned, it adds to the satisfying crunch when you bite into it.

Detroit Style Pizza

Movie Night: Knives Out

We have our Detroit Style Pizza ready, let’s get to the movie! Knives Out was one of the last movies we saw in the theater before the Covid shutdowns; and I thought it would be fun to re-watch since we recently watched Daniel Craig in his last turn as 007. The ensemble cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Chris Evans and Christopher Plummer, among others.

PI Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) attempts to untangle the web leading to the untimely death of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer); everyone in the dysfunctional Thrombey family is a suspect and it’s up to PI Blanc to sift through their red herrings and self-serving lies.

This film is so much fun to watch! Witty dialog and classic family dysfunction go hand-in-glove; Knives Out captures this dynamic so perfectly with its amazing cast and direction. A classic whodunnit updated for modern audiences, Knives Out is a must-see. Available to stream on Amazon.

Thank you all so much for joining me today for Pizza and a Movie. I hope you make this Detroit Style Pizza, it’s really special and I am sure you and your family will totally love it. It’s a great change up from the usual thin crust pizza we do on Pizza and a Movie. Another great alternative to a thin crust pizza is a skillet pizza, try my Meat Combo Skillet Pizza; or my Pan Pizza Supreme. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Detroit Style Pizza

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Dinner, Main Course American/Italian
By Adapted From King Arthur Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 2 Hours, 40 Minutes (includes dough proofing time) Cooking Time: 12-15 Minutes Total Time: ~3 Hours

Crispy, crunchy cheese edges top pillowy soft dough; pepperoni, cheddar and mozzarella, topped with thick tomato sauce. It's Detroit Style Pizza.

Ingredients

  • Pizza Dough
  • 2.5 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1.5 tsp. Instant Rise Yeast
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Lukewarm Water (87 degrees)
  • Olive Oil, for greasing the pan
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 28-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
  • Toppings
  • 8 to 12 oz. Pepperoni
  • 6 oz. Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Instructions

Pizza Dough

1

Mix the dough ingredients in a stand mixer on low, with the dough hook, until a shaggy dough forms. Then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then, uncover and turn the mixer on low and mix until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and pulls clean away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 more minutes.

2

Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

3

When the dough is doubled in size, pour about two tablespoons of olive oil into the pizza pan. Place the dough in the pan and gently stretch the dough to the corners of the pan until the dough begins to shrink back and will not stretch any farther.

4

Then cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest for 30-40 minutes.

5

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and position an oven rack in the bottom position.

Tomato Sauce

6

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced or pressed garlic. Then add the dried herbs and crushed red pepper. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

7

Add the can of crushed tomatoes and their juice. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine and bring to a light simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and very thick.

Build the Pizza

8

After its 30-40 minute proofing time, stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. If it still wants to shrink back, cover it and let it proof 15 more minutes, or until it easily reaches the corners of the pan. Then, gently press the dough to release any large air bubbles.

9

Start by covering the dough with the pepperoni slices, be sure to go all the way to the edges. Then evenly place the cheddar cubes, again going all the way to the edges.

10

Fill in the spaces with the mozzarella cubes. make sure you get the cheese all the way to the edges, touching the sides of the pan.

11

You can dot the top with dollops of sauce, or you can make three vertical stripes of sauce down the center of the pizza. Try not to get the sauce too close to the edges.

12

Pop the pizza in the preheated oven on the bottom rack and bake for 12-15 minutes.

13

The pizza is ready when it sits a bit higher in the pan, the cheesy edges are super-dark brown, almost burnt and the cheese in the center is melted and beginning to get spotty brown.

14

When it comes out, take a sturdy spatula and run it around the edges of the pizza to loosen the sides from the pan, then let the pizza sit for 10 minutes.

15

After 10 minutes, carefully slide the spatula under one side or end of the pizza to loosen it from the bottom of the pan, then slide it out on a cutting board.

16

Use a pizza blade or chef's knife to cut the pizza into squares. Make straight-down cuts, so as not to drag the toppings across the pizza.

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  • Mari
    October 22, 2021 at 11:46 am

    Wow, since I gave up reading trashy gossip magazines, and even mainstream magazines like People, I have lost track of movies, and what was out. I do not regret not knowing who is doing what where, and with whom, but I do miss not knowing about things that would interest me. My youngest son who generally tells me what is going on in the world of entertainment hasn’t been keeping up either. When a Sagittarius is out of the loop, there is no hope for us mere mortals, but luckily, we have Pizza And A Movie. Whew! I have got to get this movie, and I’m sure we have it somewhere, since we have all, or almost all, of the streaming services. This week’s movie sounds just like the kind I love. A who done it with witty repartee, is irresistible. My husband would have loved this movie because it checks all the boxes. My kids all love pepperoni, and this will help free up some freezer space since I bought a lot of it once it was back in stock. Sam’s Club had a Detroit pizza, but it was small, expensive, and covered with bacon, so I passed on that. I’m not sure what constitutes a Detroit pizza, but I’d take this one over a mass market frozen offering. This will be fun to make. For years I have done a Chicago style pizza in homage to one of my favorite cities, but I am expanding to include Detroit this week. This looks spectacular and will be a real crowd pleaser. Once again, the pictures are amazing, and you are a first class camera ninja.

    After the last two weeks of shock and confusion by Alfred, our intrepid movie buffs and pizza connoisseurs are hiding out on the back deck with a large screen TV. The doors to the house are locked, and the pizza oven is heating up. The three dogs are snoozing and visions of pizza dance in their heads. Since Kelly and Alex have locked the doors to the house and have set the alarm system, they feel relatively safe. It is all to no avail. A very thin man with a cigarette appears in front of them, and introduces himself as Rod, and begins a monologue about Kelly and Alex being lost in the Twilight Zone. The dogs all stand up on their hind legs, howling in protest, and in the blink of an eye, are transformed into Captain Kirk, Copernicus, and Galileo. They are arguing about the time space continuum, and how they got to Georgia. All three are speaking in a language that Kelly and Alex haven’t heard in awhile. Alex realizes that the language is Klingon, and he invites Rod, Captain Kirk, Copernicus and Galileo to join them for pizzas and a movie. Pick a movie and a pizza for each man, and be glad that next week will be all about Halloween! Rod being a mid century kind of guy is content with a martini and an ash tray, and canapés. What kind of canapés is he eating? Have a great weekend Djalalis, Terry, and blog lovers everywhere. Having the flu really made this week zip past, but I don’t recommend it! ?

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Mari! Wow, this is a tough one! So many things to consider. Let’s start with the movies. I think all three would be entertained by Interstellar, The Martian and Ad Astra. As for pizza; for Copernicus, I will do a mortadella pizza, finished with a ball of burrata in the center. Galileo would get ground wild boar sausage with lots of garlic, parmesan and fresh mozzarella. Captain Kirk would get a classic Hawaiian pizza. Lol! As far as Rod Serling’s canapés go, I’d like to introduce him to pimiento cheese toasts – they go so well with martinis and olives! Sometimes it takes me a few hours to think and respond to your challenges, Mari! This was a great one, I am looking forward to next week’s Halloween challenge. Have a wonderful weekend! xo Kelly

      • Mari
        October 22, 2021 at 7:27 pm

        Kelly, some more really great picks. The pizzas sound fantastic, and the movies too. As for Rod’s canapés, pimiento cheese it is. We started eating it after we moved out here, and Trader Joe’s sold a decent version. Of course making it at home is better, but my guys liked Joe’s version, so that’s what I did. I will really have to put in time in my kitchen to come up with a dairy free version. Last week’s pizzas sounded really good and I could see any of them as a special occasion breakfast. The only trouble would be picking which one to make first.

  • Suzanne Smith
    October 22, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Perfect pizza for Knives Out. Looks yummy! and I love that movie. Fun. Have a great weekend!

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 22, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Isn’t it such a great movie, Suzanne! I love Jamie Lee Curtis, she’s hilarious in this one! You have a great weekend too, xo Kelly

  • Sandra
    October 23, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Hi Kelly
    Great posts from all! Kelly, I am nowhere near making my own pizza dough. Is there a chance there is a nice pre-made one you could recommend? Apologies to a class act chef (that would be you) from a “what is a spatula?” person (that would be me). ☺
    Thank you and take care
    Sandra

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 24, 2021 at 8:17 am

      Hello Sandra, Thanks for your question! I haven’t found any name brand pizza dough that will get puffy, like this dough – most seem to be thin crust dough. That said, If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, their dough would probably rise a good amount, especially if you let it sit at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes before using it. If you’re in the Southeast and have a Publix, I have found the dough they make and sell in the bakery section is really bread-y, and would be a good bet. Perhaps your local supermarket makes dough for pizza-making. Another option would be a focaccia dough. The Detroit pizza crust is a lot like focaccia; Kroger sells packaged (in a tube) focaccia dough. So maybe look for that product (or something like it) if the other options are unavailable. Hope that helps, let me know what you end up finding and how it works out for you! xo Kelly