Homemade Vegetarian Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe - Fluffy and soft crust with a chewy, crispy, and cheesy edge is the new way to enjoy pizza! I'll show you how to make this fool-proof, easy pizza crust along with a simple yet delicious homemade pizza, Detroit-style.
I am more of a thin crust pizza kind of a gal. But I will make an exception for the Detroit-style pizza. Wait, you haven't heard about Detroit-style pizza yet? Well, let me introduce you to this magical pizza you have been missing your whole life!
What is Detroit-style Pizza?
Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular shaped pizza with thick crust and Wisconsin brick cheese topping. The original pizza was created in 1946 by Gus Guerre. He used a metal pan that's similar to a cast iron pan (more so than a metal cake pan) to create its signature rectangular shape. If you are interested in its history and where to find the original Detroit-style pizza, you can check out an article published by Michigan.org.
Difference between Detroit-style VS. Chicago-style Pizza
- Detroit-style Pizza - The overall shape of the pizza is rectangular. And the crust is thick and airy. The original Detroit-style pizza uses Wisconsin brick cheese rather than shredded mozzarella cheese. Lastly, the sauce is the last layer of the pizza and it's placed on top of the cheese.
- Chicago-style pizza - It is a round shape pizza with a crust that is not necessarily thick but acts as a "dish." Typically, whole milk mozzarella cheese is used and the red sauce goes on top of the cheese.
How to make the crust for the Vegetarian Detroit-style Pizza
Whenever I make pizza, I either use my pizza dough recipe (using a stand mixer) or the pizza dough recipe by hand. These recipes work EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But if you were to use this recipe, you are only using half or ⅔ of the dough. So, I thought I'd adjust the amount for you here!
Tips on preparing the crust
- Cover your baking pan with a generous amount of oil (3 to 4 tablespoons). I use a silicon brush to get all the corners of the pan.
- Flip the dough a couple of times in the pan so that the dough is completely covered in oil.
- Don't worry if the dough is not covering the bottom of the pan at first (the first photo on the left). Once it rises, it WILL fill the entire pan (the second photo on the right).
- Once the dough has risen, careful not to deflate the dough when putting the sauce and cheese on top. Not deflating the dough will ensure a soft and airy crust.
How to make Vegetarian Detroit-style Pizza
- Make the crust for the pizza (see the section above).
- Place the pizza sauce.
- Add the cheese cubes and shredded cheese.
- Place the sliced tomato and sprinkle some black peppers on top.
- Bake at 450 to 475F for 17 to 20 minutes.
You might ask, "George, didn't you just say Detroit-style pizza only uses brick cheese and the sauce is placed on top of the cheese?!" Well, nice catch!
How my Detroit-style pizza is different from conventional Detroit-style pizza
- The sauce goes on the bottom (directly on top of the dough). Detroit-style pizza has its signature look - strips of red sauce going across the pizza on top of the cheese. Although that's the original look, I don't like that I won't get any sauce on some pieces.
- I use both brick cheese and shredded cheese. I like how evenly the shredded cheese melts but I appreciate how the brick cheese can create chewy and crispy edges.
- I'm using tomato slices instead of pepperoni to make this pizza vegetarian-friendly. However, you are more than welcome to put whatever toppings you desire.
How to customize
My intention with this recipe is for you to customize it the way you like your pizza. So please feel free to add your favorite pizza toppings!
- For omnivore - Thick slices of pepperoni are always a great option in any pizza. The salty bites of pepperoni go perfectly well with an airy and soft crust.
- For vegetarians - Be adventurous! Onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, mushroom, olive, pineapple, plant-based sausage, broccoli, spinach, and so much more are all valid options!
- Experiment with cheese! If you want to achieve the classic Detroit-style pizza, go ahead and use all brick cheese. You can also experiment with using different types of cheese!
Tips on making Detroit-style Pizza at home
- If you don't have an authentic blue steel Detroit-style pizza pan, use a non-stick metal cake pan as I did. A metal pan is a must in achieving a chewy and cheesy crust/edge.
- Oil your pan generously. You don't want your pizza stuck to your pan. Once you separate the melty cheese from the edge of the pan, the whole pizza should slide out of the pan like focaccia bread.
- If you like to achieve the signature look of Detroit-style pizza, you can use brick cheese only and add the pizza sauce at the end (on top of the cheese)
My vegetarian Detroit-style pizza may not be the most carb conscious choice but I guarantee that you won't regret trying it.
Looking for more delicious pizza recipes?
- Mushroom Spinach White Pizza - One of my most popular recipes!
- Sausage Pepper and Onion White Pizza - A pizza that can be customized for both omnivores and vegetarians at the same time!
Homemade Vegetarian Detroit-style Pizza Recipe
Homemade Vegetarian Detroit-style Pizza Recipe - Soft bread and chewy, crispy cheesy crust meets your favorite pizza sauce!
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6
- Category: Main course
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
For the dough
- 1 and ⅓ cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 packet of dry active yeast (about 2 teaspoons dry active yeast)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the pizza
- 1 and ½ cup pizza sauce of your choice
- 6 ounces cubed cheese of your choice (I like to use Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, or cheddar cheese)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 medium-size Roma tomato, sliced
- Black pepper
- Dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water. Once the sugar is all dissolved, add the yeast and let it bloom for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together the salt and 2 cups of flour. Add the yeast mixture and stir to mix. Slowly add the rest of the flour and knead the dough until it comes together. This will take about 10 minutes.
- In a 9 x 13 non-stick metal pan, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Make sure to coat all the corners and sides of the pan by using a brush.
- Place the dough in the pan and try to flatten the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Flip the dough a couple of times to coat it completely with the olive oil that's added to the pan. If the dough does not cover the bottom of the pan, don't worry. The dough will rise and eventually cover the whole pan. Cover the pan loosely with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise until the dough fills the baking pan, about 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450 to 475F (either temperature works).
- If the dough has risen unevenly, gently tap the dough with your fingertips to make the even surface. Be careful not to deflate the dough completely.
- Spread the pizza sauce evenly on top of the dough.
- Sprinkle the cubed cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
- Place the tomato slices and sprinkle them with some black pepper.
- Bake the pizza in the oven for 17 to 20 minutes until all the cheese melts.
- Take the pizza out of the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
- Using a spatula, loosen up the edges of the pizza in the pan. The pizza should slide out. Slice them into 12 pieces and serve.
- The dough may not cover the bottom of the baking pan at first. But once the dough has risen, it will. The important part is to cover the dough and the pan completely with olive oil. This step is crucial so that your dough won't stick to the pan.
- When adding the sauce and the cheese to the dough, careful not to deflate the dough. This will ensure a soft, fluffy, and airy crust.
- You can bake this at either 450 or 475F. Everyone's oven temperature is different. I tried both temperatures and the pizza came out good either way!
- If you'd like the signature look of the Detroit-style pizza, you may add the sauce at the end (on top of the cheese).
- Feel free to add your favorite pizza toppings to make it your own.
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