If you’ve heard of Wisconsin Brick cheese and live outside of the Midwest, you’ve probably heard of it in relation to Detroit-style pizza. It’s a high-fat aged cheese with a uniquely tangy, salty, buttery flavor that lends the deep-pan Detroit pizza its buttery taste and more important its crispy, lacy, blackened edges. The edges will look black and burned beyond edible but don’t be fooled that’s black gold.
With just a little effort, the home cook can really up their pizza game. Ten years ago, I moved to the suburbs and immediately realized all the pizza was mediocre at best and if I wanted to once again have pizza anywhere near as good as a place in the city (even a city like Boston with an Ok but not stellar pizza rep) I was going to have to make it myself.
Since then, I’ve tried many different flours, recipes, toppings, and dough. Top it with whatever you want, what will really elevate a pizza is a great dough.
I like to think of Detroit pizza as the Sicilian’s chubby cousin. Not so rustic as, say, a focaccia, but not quite as soft and fluffy as a New York–style Sicilian slice.It’s special occasion pizza that’s dripping with cheese, fluffy in the middle and laced with crispy edges. This is not every Friday night pizza or you’ll soon be purchasing a defibrillator. But it is really good pizza.
And despite the decadent use of cheese you don’t need a wood-fired oven or 900 degrees to get professional quality. You do sort of need a special pan, if you want to get technical, but this simple and easy dough recipe is perfect for homemade pizza.
My obsession with a simple, clean and great tasting sauce for my pizzas has nothing to do with being a purist or overly frugal. I didn’t learn the history of Neopolitan sauces until later. The frugality definitely appealed to me but wasn’t the primary reason either.
The reason I started exclusively making my own simple, better sauce in 2 minutes or less was that one day I became stuck in the local food store aisle desperately searching for a jarred or canned sauce that didn’t contain corn syrup, weird additives, or tongue-twisting chemicals that seemed better left outside the body.
We all hit the wall at some point. It’s late summer and you’ve just returned from the farm with another box of fresh, organic CSA produce and….you feel nothing.
Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. The dog days of CSA happen to the best of us. One more eggplant or ear of corn can turn your stomach. Don’t panic. Don’t toss everything in the compost bin.
So you’ve taken the plunge, tackled the basics and found that you just might like this homemade pizza making thing. If you are looking to take your home pizza game up a notch, here are a few more tools you might consider. None of them are essential to making good pizza at home, but each one can potentially take your homemade pizza from good to great.
You might notice a trend with the tools on this list: they all help with consistency. You might make a great pie once in a while with the essential tools. And a blind squirrel might find a nut. But if you really want to have consistent, predictable results, say, you want to invite people over for pizza and know that you will produce something worthwhile, you need to be confident that your processes and recipes will produce results. These tools, along with some high heat, can help.
Making pizza at home isn’t all that difficult and with a little practice you can often turn out pies that are just as good and probably better than your local corner pizza joint. You do, however, need a few pieces of equipment.