We were introduced to Detroit Style pizza in Tony Gemignani in The Pizza Bible. The pizza, made in a specific pan, is cheese and dough-centric with characteristics of extra caramelized bits of both. The pan allows for the creation of these elements. It allows for the constructing of these pies. In actuality the pan is both a safety net and a catalyst for creativity. The pan allows us to let a dough rise in place and be built upon heavily. The high sides prevent overflow and the solid construction prevents warping during the cooking process. The pan was the spark for revisiting molded pizzas. The idea of more browned bits and excessive toppings excited me. We used the pans to build our version of a pan pizza.
We used our no-knead pizza dough, with 50% bolted spelt flour, from Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work. We oiled the pans with olive oil. We divided the risen dough between the pans. and roughly shaped it in the bottoms. We let the dough rise in the pan and fill the voids. When the dough was bubbly and risen we added toppings. In one pan we used cooked sauce, provolone and mozzarella cheese. In the other pan we used seasoned hand crushed tomatoes, gruyere cheese, artichokes, onions, sausage and fresh mozzarella. We put the pizzas in our convection oven at 500°F on a Baking Steel and cooked the pizzas for 17.5 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. We rotated the pizzas top to bottom halfway through the cooking process.
When they were done, w removed the pans from the oven, ran an offset spatula around the edges and slid the pizzas out and on to our cutting board. The result was rich decadent dough flavored with excessive toppings and plenty of caramelization. We have made plenty of pan pizzas before in sheet pans and even baking dishes. But it felt easier, simpler and more controlled in the Detroit Pizza Pans. I'm sure some of that was a placebo effect. But plenty of it was the pan itself. And the combination of the two created an incredible pizza experience.