Mozzafella’s Detroit-Style Dough

All the dough recipes in this Mozzafella collection are based on a simple principle called baker's percentages. What this means is that the recipe is easily scalable if you want to make 1 pizza or 100, because everything is built off a percentage. This may appear confusing at first but it’s really quite simple.

Flour is always 100%, all other ingredients are a percentage of that, so if our recipe called for 1000g of flour, and 60% water (usually referred to as the “hydration”) it would be 600g, if we wanted to double this, we would just scale the ingredients, but the ratios would remain the same.

Detroit Style pizza is a pan pizza originating from Detroit, Michigan. Although a relatively new style of pizza, its roots go back to Sicilian style pan pizzas. The pizza itself can be traced back to one man, Gus Guerra, who in 1946 decided he needed something new on the menu for his bar. His wife, Anna, used her mother’s Sicilian dough recipe in some cast iron pans that Gus borrowed from a friend who worked at a car factory and thus the Detroit pizza was born.
This style of pizza is very unique and is characterised by a crispy, crunchy cheese exterior but a soft, airy interior topped with cheese, sauce, and often pepperoni. It’s a very versatile style and one you certainly can go wild with in terms of toppings and flavour combinations.
The dough itself is of a higher hydration than neapolitan or new york style, in the region of 68-72%, and requires a stronger flour with a higher absorbency. It is however possible to use dough with a hydration in the mid 60’s, which is something I have done quite often when using up leftover Neapolitan dough. For the purpose of this recipe I’ve gone with 68% hydration and a 24h fermentation. As you become more comfortable with higher hydration dough, you can increase this further, also as above you can try this out with surplus Neapolitan dough.
Like my Neapolitan dough, I find a long room temperature proof is ideal for Detroit, ensuring the dough is nice and digestible as well as well aerated. In order to make this style of pizza you need a Detroit pan rated for high temperatures, for this recipe I am using a 8” x 10” Lloyd pan.
This recipe can be cooked in a pizza oven or a domestic grill oven with a pizza stone.
In terms of cheese, Detroit pizza uses a type called Brick, which is hard to come by outside of America. I personally use a mix of grated mild cheddar, red cheddar and low moisture mozzarella.

Ingredients:

Makes 1 425g Dough ball (24h proof)

251g strong flour

171g water cool tap water (68%)

17.5g salt (3%)

1g Instant yeast or 2 Fresh yeast

Method:

  • Measure out your water into a suitable container, if using a mixer you need to add ice to account for friction generated by the machine. This is because the generated friction causes additional heat to the process.
  • Measure your flour into a mixing bowl or suitable container and crumble in your fresh yeast.  If using dried yeast, re-hydrate it in a small amount of your total of water, then add to the flour.
  • At this point pour 95% of the water in and begin to combine the flour and water by squeezing together or mixing with a spoon, once combined, begin to knead the dough
  • Slowly add the remaining water, when the dough is coming together, add the salt. Adding this last allows the dough to take on a greater level of liquid.
  • Knead the dough on a work top for 10 minutes, rest for 10-20 and give the dough another knead for 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled container and leave to proof.
  • The following day, around 4-8hour before cooking, oil your Detroit pan, and place the dough in the centre of the pan.
  • Wet your fingers and gently press the dough down, this will cause the dough to start to fill the pan, cover, leave and repeat this process every 20-30m until the dough is at the edges of pan, you can now leave the dough until it is ready to cook, at this point it will just continue to aerate.

Cooking 

  • If you are using a grill oven, place your pizza stone in and get it to max temperature. My home oven gets to about 250c, but the stone inside will happily get to around 300c.
  • If using a pizza oven, get your floor temperature to around 300c, at this point reduce the flames.
  • Cover the pan with tinfoil, shiny side up and cook for 8 minutes, turning once halfway through, carefully remove the pan, and fork the centre of the dough, to check if it’s cooked (it should be if your oven temperature is correct).
  • Remove the pan and starting with the edges, top with grated cheese. The heat of the pan will cause it to stick and begin caramelizing, which is where crown or ‘frico’ is created. Top the rest of the pizza and return to the oven until the toppings are cooked (this will depend on what you are topping with or if you’re using a pizza oven), and get the flame back on low to char any toppings, if using a grill oven do the same with the top element.
  • Once the pizza is cooked, remove the pan carefully and place it on a heat resistant surface, using a bakers blade/metal dough scraper, slide down the pan and the cheese should separate from the edges, once you’ve done this to all four sides, use the blade and a spatula to remove the pizza, and place on a wire rack.
  • At this point you can finish your pizza, I like to put my sauce on post cook as It retains more moisture and flavour. I then usually sprinkle diced fresh basil and grated pecorino on top.
  • Give the pizza a few minutes to cool, then slice into squares.

Nutritional Information Per 100g Per 425g Dough ball
Energy 860kJ/203kcal 3654kJ/861kcal
Fat 0.7g 2.9g
of which Saturates 0.2g 0.7g
Carbohydrate 41g 174g
of which Sugars 0g 1.2g
Protein 7.2g 31g
Salt 4.0g 16.8g

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