Culinary Class

How to Make Detroit-Style Pizza Dough

Detroit style pizza feat


What sets Detroit-style pizza apart is not just the square shape, but its thick focaccia-like crust, crispy and chewy, filled all the way to the edges with robust tomato sauce, Wisconsin brick cheese and a slew of toppings. Emily Hyland deviates from the classic pie at Emmy Squared, which started in Brooklyn and now has more than a dozen locations from DC to Atlanta, where the pizza maker subs the standard brick cheese for softer mozzarella dairy making for a crispy bottom, fluffy dough, and cheesy “frico” crust.

“No doubt making Detroit-style pizza by hand at home might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be,” Hyland says. Here, she outlines the six steps to turn cupboard staples into a Detroit-style pizza dough recipe for a square and saucy pie.


10 - 15 Minutes


1 dough ball for 8x10 pan

Detroit Style Pizza Dough heading-plus-icon

  • 1 ⅓ cups flour (Hyland uses King Arthur)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ⅓ teaspoon dry active yeast
  • ⅓ teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
Blooming yeast in water to start the Detroit-style pizza dough


Pour your yeast and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Next, pour in your warm water. To determine how warm, simply run your finger under the tap until the water feels nice and warm, not scalding. From there, use your hand to gently dissolve the yeast and sugar into the water. This will happen quickly. The water will appear murky and smell sweet/sour. This means you are on the right track.

Adding oil to the Detroit-style pizza dough


Once the yeast and sugar have bloomed in the water, pour in the oil and whisk for 15 seconds to help emulsify the mixture.

Adding dry ingredients to the Detroit style pizza dough


After that, add both four and salt.

Adding dry ingredients to Detroit-style pizza dough


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 those fingers spread and engaged, around in a clockwise spiral from the center to the exterior of the bowl. Keep mixing in this circular pattern, and using your hand and the dough that is developing, to scrape the flour remnants on the bowl's circumference.

Mixing the Detroit-style pizza dough


Within 30 seconds to a minute, your dough will become shaggy. The dough will be moist but not nearly in one cohesive ball shape yet. Use your hand to squeeze the dough merging all of the particles into one ball. Keep working the dough until the flour has fully merged in and the dough is moist but not sticky. It should have a soft sheen and will feel dense. This whole process should only take 5 to 7 minutes.

Wrapping the Detroit style pizza dough to let it proof


Immediately cover with an air-tight plastic seal to avoid skin from forming on the exterior of the dough. Let the dough sit out for roughly an hour or until it's doubled in size to its bulk fermentation process. Then, place into the refrigerator for 24-36 hours to continue to proof. When you are ready to finish the dough-making process to begin pizza-making. remove your dough from the fridge, and place each in a well-buttered pan or casserole dish roughly 8x10 in size. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for 90 minutes to proof at room temp. Once the dough has risen and is malleable, stretch the dough across base of the pan to the whole perimeter. Put the lid back on and in the fridge until it is time to cook your pizza.

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