I was thinking about maybe why cheese caramelizes with oil in a steel pan. Doesn’t a pizzeria like Pequods in Chicago http://www.examiner.com/article/pequod-s-pizza-morton-grove-burnt-pizza-is-good and http://chicago.seriouseats.com/2008/07/pequods-chicago-illinois-il-deep-dish-pizza-caramelized-crust.html or Burt’s http://chicago.seriouseats.com/2011/05/chicago-essential-burts-place.html also make a pan pizza that the edges caramelize in a different type of steel pan? Aren’t both Pequods and Burt’s just using mozzarella to get the caramelized edges?
I hear you and it appears to be true that Pequod's uses mozzarella cheese and does get caramelization of that cheese, but I think that, in general, there are six factors that you have to consider with respect to the caramelization of the cheese: the type of cheese used, the amount of the cheese, the physical form of the cheese (e.g., shredded or diced), whether the cheese as placed on the pizza is covered or exposed (in whole or in part), the bake temperature and the bake time. I don't know all of the details of a Pequod's pizza, including the amount of cheese used, but it looks to me that the cheese is largely covered during the baking of the pizza and, according to the article at http://www.bonnibella.com/2010/09/caramelized-crust-at-burts-place-and.html
, it takes about 45 minutes to bake one of their pizzas. With such a long bake time, you are perhaps guaranteed that the cheese that is intentionally placed around the perimeter of the pan will be caramelized.
In the case of a Detroit style pizza, such as a Buddy's pizza, the cheese can be largely exposed except for some sauce stripes (for a basic cheese or similar pizza). And the bake time is much shorter than what Pequod's uses. Otherwise, the cheese would be burned and blackened beyond recognition.
As Mike at Klausie's noted in the article at http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/behind-the-slice-klausies-pizza-truck.html
, he espouses the proposition that there has to be the proper balance between melting of the cheese and its degree of browning so as to induce a nice crispy cheese at the perimeter of the pan. In the context of the Detroit style pizza, brick cheese seems to meet these requirements. Others believe (but not Mike) that a white cheddar cheese might also meet those requirements. As I noted previously, I did not see that nearly as much in the all-mozzarella cheese that Jet's uses on its square pizzas. See, for example, the modest caramelization of the mozzarella cheese at the perimeter of the pizza as shown at Reply 70 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8247.msg135948.html#msg135948
. And that is for a pizza that is typically baked for about 8 minutes at a temperature below 500 degrees F (around 475 degrees F). I believe that we estimated that Jet's was using around 6 ounces of cheese. In that case, Im not sure how well the cheese would hold up (that is, not get overly browned) with even a few minutes more bake time.