September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day. How about going beyond mozzarella with this Detroit Pizza recipe?
The classic Detroit pizza uses mozzarella plus brick cheese.
Brick cheese is a specialty of Wisconsin, made in a brick-shaped form, a medium-hard cheese like Cheddar or Limburger. The mild and earthy flavor of the young cheese matures into a strong, ripe cheese with nutty, tangy flavors.
The color of brick cheese ranges from pale yellow (achieved with the addition of annatto vegetable dye) to white (the color of the milk used to make it). The rind is pale orange (photo #2).
Brick cheese is a good melter and slices well: perfect for pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.
If there’s no brick cheese in your area, just substitute Cheddar or Limburger.
Food Trivia: Why is brick cheese spelled in all lower case but Cheddar, Limburger, and Parmesan begin with capital letters?
Because the latter three reflect the proper names of the towns where they originated (Cheddar, England; Limburg, The Netherlands; and Parma, Italy). Brick, like cream cheese, blue cheese, mozzarella, and others, are generic terms.
Another feature of Detroit Pizza is that it’s made in a rectangular pan with high sides.
The standard Detroit pizza pan is 8 x 10 x 2.25 inches. The depth enables the special crust (photos #3 and #4). You can get one on Amazon.
While you might demur at purchasing a specialty pan, the pan is equally good for baking, casseroles, roasting, etc.
In this recipe from Colavita, the brick cheese goes between the dough and the sides of the pan, so you get a crispy, cheesy outer pizza crust.
> Another Detroit Pizza recipe with provolone and brick cheeses.
See photo #1. You can add as many other toppings as you like.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Allow the pizza dough to come to room temperature (if it’s been in the refrigerator, this will take about an hour).
2. DRIZZLE the pizza pan with olive oil, spreading it over the bottom and sides. Place the pizza dough into the pan and stretch it to the outer corners of the pan, creating a rectangle. If the dough stretches back, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and stretch again. Once you’ve stretched the dough, allow it to rest for 10 minutes until slightly puffed.
3. DRIZZLE the top of the dough with a little olive oil and place the pan with the dough in the oven. Bake for 6 minutes. This is called par-baking and will ensure a non-soggy pizza crust.
4. REMOVE the pan from the oven. Place the brick cheese in between the sides of the pizza and the sides of the pan. Don’t be afraid to really fill the spaces with cheese. This will give your pizza a truly crispy and cheesy edge. Sprinkle any remaining cheese over the top of the pizza.
5. SPRINKLE the mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process. The cheese should be bubbling and golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven.
6. SPOON the crushed tomatoes over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle the Pecorino Romano cheese and the oregano over the top of the tomatoes. Return the pan to the oven and bake for just 2 more minutes
7. REMOVE the pan from the oven and allow it to rest for 2-5 minutes. Chisel the pizza from the pan using a spatula, and slide it onto a cutting board.
Whether you get takeout pizza or make your own, mark your calendars for: