There are a lot of pizza styles out there. For me, they’re all great in their own ways. Only a crazy person would turn down a slice of Giordano’s deep dish or Di Fara’s Brooklyn slice and that’s before you even get into the brilliance of a parlor pie from the Pacific Northwest or the beautiful bounty of pies in Italy. All of those styles aside, the elements remain the same: Yeast-risen flatbread, sauce (usually red), often cheese, varied toppings, baked at high heat. Within those five elements, a galaxy of options emerge. One of my personal favorites is what’s become known as Detroit-style pizza.
Detroit-style is an evolution of Sicilian Sfincione. That’s a thick doughy crust with red sauce, melty cheese, and minimal toppings. You’ll find this pizza in bakeries all over Sicily to this day. You’ll see Sicilian nonnas behind old granite counters, stretching dough in huge, well-seasoned baking pans all day long. That tradition migrated across the pond to America. While you can still get Sicilian pies all over the Northeast and Ohio Valley, pizzaiolo’s in Detroit added their own twist and made pizza history. Their tactic was to reverse the order of the toppings while utilizing a well-oiled rectangular baking pan and adding mild Wisconsin cheese to the mix. It may seem like a trivial change to the untrained eye but it’s in the details that all pizza shines brightest.
My recipe for Detroit-style pizza is a bit of marrying of old and new. I live in Europe, so my access to things like mild brick Wisconsin cheese is nill. I do, however, have access to legit Italian tomato and flour. So, I guess you could say I’m making a German/Sicilian Detroit-Style pizza… if you want to be pedantic about it. Or we could just say that I’m making a “Goddamn delicious pie” and be done with it. Either way, Detroit’s pizza is my inspiration. Sicily is my foundation. Let’s jump in!