The Anatomy of a Detroit Style Pizza
The phenomenon began in 1946 shortly after World War II ended and the troops headed back to America with a newly acquired taste for European dishes. Owner of Buddy’s Rendezvous in Detroit, Gus Guerra, was eager to satisfy these cravings and set out to create a new kind of pizza. The Sicilian style dough was lined in a rectangular blue steel pan that had previously been used to store nuts and bolts at a local automotive factory. Unlike other pizzas, Gus placed pepperoni directly on the dough, followed by a generous helping of cheese spread to the edge, with a thick drizzle of red sauce on top. Hence, the authentic and original Detroit-style pizza was born.
While this pizza style has been around for nearly 75 years, it is just starting to become more prevalent across the country. In 2019, Detroit-style pizza was found on less than 1% of menus among Pizzerias and Italian restaurants with 25 or fewer units. However, this pizza style grew 66.5% on menus from 2015-2019 and is expected to continue to increase* as more people become more aware of its indulgent flavor and crunch.
Here are the five key characteristics to making an authentic Detroit-style pizza.
The Pan is square or rectangular, preferably a well-seasoned steel pan.
The Dough requires hydration levels between 65% and 75% to ensure proper texture after baking.
The Cheese should be spread edge-to-edge so it caramelizes on the crust when baking.
The Toppings are placed on top of the cheese, except for pepperoni, which traditionally lays directly on top of the crust before cheese is added.
The Sauce is the last ingredient, ladled on top before or after baking.