The first picture shows how moist the top of the dough was. Even with the moist dough, the toppings didn’t make the crumb fall in the bake. That still puzzles me.
I wouldn't fight it. Apparently there is enough strength in the gluten matrix and retention of the gases of fermentation that the dough can tolerate adding cheese, pepperoni slices and some sauce on top of it without collapsing. Also, the sides of the pans contain the dough and may prevent it from spreading when things are put on top of it.
One thing I can’t figure out is why some of the pizzas had a droop at one end when they were finished baking. I think that was on two of the Buddy’s attempts. One being in a larger pan and one being in a smaller pan. I don’t know if too much MFB was added to the steel pan that caused that or not. I wonder if I should try all Canola oil in the bakes next Tuesday.
One of the things that I noticed was that lufty, the former employee of Buddy's, said to use the "thumb to press the corners into the pan a midway up the edge". See his discussion of this point at Reply 318 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg136795.html#msg136795
. Also, the same point was made in the video at http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/19042572/how-to-make-buddys-lake-huron-pizza
where, at 1:52, the dough is pushed up at the corners. Maybe that simple measure helps "lock" the dough in place and keeps the ends from shrinking more than the rest of the pizza. It's also possible, I suppose, that the dough at the sides is pushed up relative to the center but I have not read anywhere that that is done. I also recall that one member used shortening at the corners of the pan, although I have seen no evidence that Buddy's does that. However, it might help in your case if it solves the problem.
Also I wonder now since I proofed the dough in the steel pans and saw a “skin” form on the doughs that were left out without any cover if that is really what Buddy’s is doing. I think I recall that Mary Heller was carrying two Buddy’s doughs in the steel pans that didn’t look like there were “skins” on the doughs in the steel pans. I wonder if Buddy’s might be using some kind of proofer that protects the skins from forming a “skin”. There are too many mysteries about Buddy’s pizzas that I don’t truly know.
At this point, I am not prepared to ignore or refute what lufty said about how the Buddy's dough is made and managed, as he discusses at Reply 318 referenced above. I have not read anywhere that Buddy's uses a proofer of any sort. steel_baker entertained the idea of using a proofer at Buddy's, at Reply 298 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg126411/topicseen.html#msg126411
, but as far as I know that was never confirmed.
I am also trying to figure out just how Buddy’s mixes their dough. As could be seen on the two videos I took in my Hobart mixer, I did really mix the dough fast and on second speed different times. The dough still was sticky. I had at first wondered if those higher mix speeds might damaged the dough in some way, but really don’t think they did. I was holding my breath on that one and really didn’t know until Tuesday if those dough balls would be okay. I had to oil my doughs balls though because I was putting them in plastic bags to ferment until the next day. When I took the dough balls out of the plastic bags, they really weren’t in round dough balls anymore. I know Buddy’s doesn’t put their dough balls in plastic bags.
My guess is that Buddy's works off of 50 pound bags of flour and otherwise uses volume measurements for the rest of the ingredients since that would simplify matters for the workers who make the dough. A 50-pound bag of flour would seem to be enough to make a fair number of dough balls for both the small and large pans for lunch service. Based on typical volumes learned from experience, further dough batches would be made throughoy the day for later service. If timed properly, that might negate the need for a proofer.
I noticed over at Reply 1211 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20791.msg224601.html#msg224601
that you offered your Detroit-style pizza for sale at market. How did that go, and how did the pizzas taste?