By Emily Hyland
There are many types of pizza in the world, all unique and delicious in their own right. And even though there are so many adaptations of this craft, the beauty of pizza is that it’s all amazing. Nonetheless, our favorite kind of pizza at Emmy Squared is the famous Detroit-style pizza.
Detroit-style pizza has many iconic characteristics, but, most notably, it is cooked in a specialty 8×10 high-heat steel pan, which is seasoned much like a cast iron. These pans were originally used to collect auto parts in the Detroit car factories until a man named Gus Guerra reimagined their usage and started making pizza in them at his restaurant, Buddy’s, in the 1940s.
Built in this signature pan, Emmy Squared pizza has a crispy bottom, airy focaccia-like middle and delectable, crunchy frico crust wherein the cheese and the dough caramelize during the baking process to create a fried-cheese edge. In Detroit-style pizza, the sauce is applied with two stripes of sauce parallel to each other down the length of the pie. This is said to mimic racing stripes on the side of a car, bringing the pizza back to its industrial, automotive Detroit roots.
This all might seem intimidating for the home cook who wants to try their hand at making Detroit-style pizza, but it doesn’t have to be. Try my hands-on recipe for Emmy Squared’s famous Detroit-style pizza dough. It’s easy, accessible and comes together in a matter of minutes.
Work your hands with intention in this recipe to feel ingredients merge from a simple array of cupboard supplies into a tactile, beautiful dough baby. Follow these easy steps to bring your dough to life.
The writer is the co-founder of Pizza Loves Emily restaurant group, which owns Emmy Squared and its recently opened Old Town location
Makes enough for 1 dough ball To be used in an 8×10 pan
• 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 1/3 tsp dry active yeast
• 1/4 tsp sugar
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp canola oil
• Pour yeast and sugar into a mixing bowl. Then pour in the warm water.
• Use your hand, moving in a circular motion around the bowl, to gently dissolve the yeast and sugar into the water. This will happen quickly. The water should appear murky and smell sweet/sour at first.
• Once the yeast and sugar have assimilated into the water, pour in the oil and whisk for 15 seconds to help integrate the oil into the mixture. Then, pour in the flour and the salt.
• Next, use your hand in a claw shape to begin incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet. Start with your claw in the middle of the bowl and move your hand, with fingers spread and engaged, around in a clockwise spiral from the center to the exterior of the bowl.
• As you keep mixing in this circular pattern, use the hydrated dough mass that is developing to scrape flour remnants from the bowl’s circumference into the mixture.
• Within 30 seconds to a minute, your dough will become moist but not nearly in one cohesive ball yet. This means that you can start using your hand to squeeze the dough as a means to help merge all of the particles into one main body.
• Keep working the dough until the flour has fully merged in and the dough is moist but not sticky on your hands. It should have a soft sheen and will feel dense at this point. This whole process should only take five to seven minutes.
• Upon completion, immediately cover with an air-tight plastic seal and let it sit out for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
• Then, place into the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours to continue to proof.
• When you are ready to begin pizza-making, remove your dough from the fridge and place it in a well-buttered pizza pan, cast iron or dish roughly 8×10 in size.
• Cover the pan tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for 90 minutes to proof at room temperature.
• Once the dough has risen and is malleable, stretch it across the base of the pan to the whole perimeter. Put the lid back on and put back into the fridge until it is time to top and cook your pizza.