Comfort Food – Detroit Pizza

With a light, soft crust that’s crispy on the bottom, charred on the sides, and topped with plenty of melted cheese and crunchy slices of pepperoni, there’s a lot to love about Detroit pizza. It is traditionally baked in a rectangular pan; We used two 8-inch square metal baking sheets so you still get a dark golden brown edge. Simmer the sauce until it is thick and rich, which will deepen the flavors and keep the dough from getting soggy. Layering is key here: start with the pepperoni, then add the cheese. Wisconsin brick cheese is the traditional choice, but you can also use a partially skimmed mixture of mozzarella and low-moisture provolone. Pour the ketchup over the streaky cheese (to mimic the racing lines on an antique car) and finish the pizza with the remaining pepperoni slices (pro tip: buy some pepperoni and slice yourself for better quality and for a thicker disc). Bake your pizza on the lowest rack above a steel plate for the crispest crust.

Prep time:

  • Active:1 hr 25 mins
  • Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
  • Servings: 8


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (about 9 1/8 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface and as needed1 cup warm water (105°F to 110°F)
1 teaspoon instant or quick-rising yeast (from 1 [1/4-ounce] package)2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing bowl2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
5 ounces pepperoni (preferably with natural casing), thinly sliced (1 cup), divided8 ounces Wisconsin brick cheese or low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (1 1/2 cups)
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese (10 slices), torn into bite-size pieces (1 cup)
Detroit Pizza Ingredients

Step 1

Beat flour, warm water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons of the salt with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 2 minutes. Continue beating on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If needed, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough barely pulls away from bowl as it mixes (dough should be sticky). Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a tight ball; place in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm (about 85°F) place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. 

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add oregano, garlic powder, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in crushed tomatoes; bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring often to avoid scorching, until mixture is jammy and reduced to about 2 cups, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside until ready to use. 

Step 3

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in lowest position. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, and punch down. Divide dough in half. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil into an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Place 1 dough portion in prepared pan; using your hands, stretch dough to pan edges (let dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes if it shrinks back). Repeat process with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 additional 8-inch pan, and remaining dough portion. Cover pans loosely with clean kitchen towels; let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.

Step 4

Uncover dough portions. Gently press down any large air bubbles in dough. Top each dough portion with about 16 slices pepperoni, half of the mozzarella (3/4 cup), and half of the provolone (1/2 cup). Spoon tomato sauce in 3 separate lines (about 3 heaping tablespoons per stripe) across each pizza. Top pizzas evenly with remaining pepperoni in rows over exposed cheese. Bake pans in preheated oven on bottom rack until cheese is bubbly, pizza edges are dark golden brown, and pepperoni is crispy, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Loosen pizza edges around pans using a metal spatula. Remove pizzas from pans, and transfer to a cutting board. Let cool 3 to 5 minutes. Cut each pizza evenly into 8 pieces (2 x 4 inches each). Serve. 


If using a Detroit-style pizza pan, leave dough whole in Step 2, and proceed with recipe as directed, using 2 tablespoons of oil in bottom of pan.