Thank you for the comprehensive report and for Steve's input also. It looks like you covered a lot of ground for this style.
After studying the report, I have the following thoughts and comments:
1. For the two pizzas that you weighed after baking (the first and fifth pizzas), the weight losses were 6.92% (for the first pizza) and 8.36% (the last pizza). The weights of those pizzas before baking was 22.25 ounces. The baked weights of the two pizzas, at 587 grams (20.71 ounces) and 578 grams (20.39 ounces), were both more than the final baked weight of the Buddy's cheese and pepperoni pizza that you recently purchased. However, if we use the average slice weight of 145 grams for the slices that dicepackage purchased from Buddy's, which was also from a cheese and pepperoni pizza, the total baked weight is 4 x 145 = 580 grams. So, your baked weights of 587 grams and 578 grams were very close to the dicepackage calculated weight. I have no good explanation for why the Buddy's cheese and pepperoni pizza you purchased weighed less than the ones you made or even the total calculated weight based on dicepackage's number. Maybe Buddy's uses less cheese and possibly less sauce (by weight).
2. Of all the pizzas you made, I thought that the third pizza that you prebaked and then added the sauce (which you had forgotten to add at the outset) looked most like the Buddy's cheese and pepperoni pizza that you recently purchased, including what appears to be a comparable height. The third pizza had the blend of the AMPI white cheddar and the mozzarella cheeses. You mentioned the death of the yeast a couple of times in respect of the third pizza but it is the moisture content of the dough that predominantly governs the oven spring of the dough. The yeast will be completely dead when the internal temperature of the crust is 145 degrees. The starches start to gelatinize at 140 degrees F, and be completely gelatinized (but still swelling) at 153 degrees F. If you pulled the pizza out of the oven after the starches had completely gelatinized and set, I don't think that you could have gotten the crust to rise anymore after you put the sauce on the pizza and returned it to the oven. Maybe it was serendipitous that you forgot to add the sauce because maybe that helps explain why the cheese and pepperoni pizza you recently purchased from Buddy's did not seem to have a great deal of height. That pizza was also a parbaked (partially baked) pizza. If you'd like to read how a pizza changes during the course of its bake, you might take a look at page 16 of the Pendleton Flour booklet at http://www.pfmills.com/filebin/pdf/technical_informational_booklet_v1-opt.pdf
3. It appears that a 9-ounce dough ball was not too small for a 4-square pizza. Of course, we can't say with any certainty that that is the weight of dough ball that Buddy's uses for its small square pizzas. For example, if Buddy's actually uses less cheese than 8 ounces and/or a small amount of sauce, because the cheese and sauce are not weighed, then the dough ball could weigh more and you can end up with the same pre-baked pizza weight.
4. It seems that the brick cheese can brown if the temperature of the oven is high enough. In fact, your mozzarella based pizzas seemed to do better than the brick cheese in that regard. That is what threw me off when I tried to guess which pizza had only the mozzarella cheese. You indicated that your oven temperature at one point was 538 degrees F. Buddy's apparently uses a bake temperature of around 495 degrees F. The cheese color standard that I have used for a Buddy's pizza is essentially the one shown in the photo of http://bp0.blogger.com/__XShj91sMpw/RlJCGZFbuCI/AAAAAAAAAk4/jIeRhr1ub-U/s1600-h/redwings_5.JPG
. There are many other photos of Buddy's pizzas that appear to be consistent with that photo.
5. It appears that there are many possible cheese options for the Detroit style pizza, although it appears from your tests that mozzarella cheese only is not the best choice. However, mozzarella cheese with another cheese, such as cheddar or brick, look to be reasonable choices.
6. I do not sense that dicing the cheeses affected the pizzas you made. Buddy's uses a diced cheese (brick) but that may be because they believe, as Grande often says, that a diced cheese is easier to put on a pizza and it may actually require less cheese for the same coverage when compared with shredded cheese. I might add that there are some pizza operators who do not agree with Grande on this point.
7. Canola oil looks to be a good choice to achieve a crispy bottom crust. As previously noted, Buddy's uses oil in its pans. The two oils that I have identified for this purpose are soybean oil and canola oil.