What is Detroit-Style Pizza and Why is it so Popular?

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Naming pizza styles after cities is a time-honored tradition. New York has a style, as does Chicago. Even St. Louis has its own pizza. However, these pizza styles are being eclipsed by the Motor City’s contribution to the pizza industry: Detroit-style pizzas.

The popularity of Detroit-style pizza has made a nationwide impact as consumers from Los Angeles to Miami to everywhere in-between ask for these square, deep-dish pizzas. But what makes a Detroit-style pizza truly unique? Let’s take a look.


The Shape of Things

Perhaps the most defining characteristic of a Detroit-style pizza is its square shape. And yes, it’s a square, even though it’s actually a rectangle. Confused? It’s all part of the lore of Detroit-style pizzas. Most come in sizes of either 8×10 or 10×14, but are still referred to as squares.

 Crusty and Chewy

Forget the thick, heavy doughs used to make Chicago-style deep dish pizzas. Detroit-style pizza dough is light and airy, resembling a focaccia or Sicilian-style dough. This delivers an exceptional tasting experience of a chewy crust that’s also crisp on the outside (more on that later).

 The Upside Down Pie

Here’s where things get crazy. Detroit-style pizzas are built in reverse to traditional pizzas. To build an authentic Detroit-style pizza, start by layering your toppings (pepperoni is our favorite), directly on top of the crust.

Next, add cheese. But not just any kind of cheese, and definitely not mozzarella. True Detroit-style pizza uses Wisconsin brick cheese. The cheese melts at a low temperature, allowing it to spread to the edges of the crust and give the pizza more flavor from end-to-end. Finally, ladle the sauce on top of all those delicious toppings and cheese. Allow the “red top” to shine through and give consumers a unique looking pie.

Detroit-Style Pizza Pans

lloyd pans detroit style pizza panIn no other style of pizza does a pan play a more important role. It’s rumored that the inventors of Detroit pizza were looking for a new pan to bake pizza in when they discovered an unused oil drip pan. This rectangular pan shape allows the pizza to bake with a crispy exterior and a chewy center.

Now, we’re not recommending using an oil-drip pan to bake pizzas, but the characteristics of these pans produce the crispy, crunchy, almost fried-like crust that’s indicative of Detroit-style pizza. So how do you replicate it without using an oil drip pan?

LloydPans has spent a significant amount of time in its test kitchen developing the perfect Detroit-style pizza pan. It starts with a durable construction using 14 Gauge Aluminum that is hard coat anodized and features a double-thick flat rim.

Next, LloydPans applies its proprietary Pre-Seasoned Tuff-Kote (PSTK) finish, which is then baked onto the surface of each pan. PSTK finish is a non-toxic and permanent release coating that eliminates the need for pre-seasoning. This is a big technological breakthrough in Detroit-style pizzas, as pre-seasoning with a significant amount of oil was previously necessary to give the crust its crispy texture.

We worked with world champion pizza maker Shawn Randazzo to test how this pan would hold up to traditional Detroit-style pizza pans in delivering a crispy crust. The end result was “the same quality bake that defines Detroit Style Pizza: crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, edge-to-edge cheese that caramelizes around the crust and the style’s signature square shape. In addition, the pan introduces significant improvements.”

The biggest improvement when using LloydPans’ Detroit-style pizza pans was eliminating the need to season pans. Considering the amount of money and manual labor that goes into seasoning, this is a significant cost savings. Especially when you consider that you’re not sacrificing the characteristic crispy crust when using the PSTK finish.

So, now you know the characteristics of Detroit-style pizza, how to make them and the best pans to use to deliver the trademark crust attributes. The only thing left to do is buy your Detroit-style pizza pans at LloydPans.com!


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