Finally the basics are all together so here is my recipe for Detroit Style Pie.
I attempted to incorporate as much of the info contained in this thread as possible. Sort of trying to imagine how one of these pizzerias would pump out the dough and pies every day. Whenever in doubt I referred to the KISS theory. I also tried to use easily findable ingredients for everyone's convenience. In the end this is a simple and forgiving dough but the devil was in the other details.
No scale, all measurements textbook method.
Flour (100%): 273.04 g | 9.63 oz | 0.6 lbs 2C + 3 T
Water (75%): 204.78 g | 7.22 oz | 0.45 lbs ¾ C + 1 T + 2 ½ t
IDY (0.55%): 1.5 g | 0.05 oz | 0 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp ½ t
Salt (1.5%): 4.1 g | 0.14 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.73 tsp | 0.24 tbsp ¾ t
Total (177.05%): 483.42 g | 17.05 oz | 1.07 lbs | TF = 0.1218
KAAP, table salt, tap water, KA mixer with "C" dough hook, 10x14 black steel pan.
Dissolve salt in water, add flour, sprinkle IDY on top. Mix on lowest speed until incorporated then continue on this speed for a 8 min knead. 20 mins rest to relax then scrape into greased pan, spread, cover, rise, dress and bake on bottom oven rack for 15 min at 475.
Yeast. I have varied between 0.33 and 1.1% and the only noticeable effect was rise time so adjust away. The above formula is usable in 3-4 hours at room temp for me.
This is a wet, soft, sticky, extensible dough. Not much handling possible or needed. With fingers oiled from the tips to 2nd joint it smooshes out fairly easy. The "double knead" process does make it easier to spread as described in Peter's helpful summary http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg81436.html#msg81436
The magic cheese here is indeed white cheddar. If these pizzarias are not/were not using this, then it must be white cheddar's twin sister. I have used Boar's Head Vermont white cheddar and Cabot Extra Sharp white cheddar from Walmart, sold in 2 lb blocks and half the price of Boar's Head. The Cabot is the sharper, saltier, and more intense of the two, but they both caramelize up golden to brown (not black) and have the unmistakable flavor profile of the Detroit style. Blending these with a mozz that goes creamy and goey adds an interesting effect and can soften the sharp cheddar if desired, but ONLY pure white cheddar should be used on the perimeter of the pan to create the all important caramelized cheese crust. Shredded or cubed both work. Pile the cheese up around the perimeter of the pan then fill in the center. 15 oz is what Buddy's indicate they use.
Pan prep. Every pan lube I have tried works. OO appears to be most authentic and is what I am using now. Getting this right results in a good crisp fry without the pie ending up greasy. In the 10x14 pan, 1 1/2 tsp spread with a pastry brush is about perfect since the brush does soak up and remove some of the oil. The cheese crust always welds itself to the pan for me. To prevent this, I paint a thin strip of shortening just above the risen dough with a brush around the sides of the pan before piling on the cheese. It still does not pop out, but can at least be released with just a little effort.
Sauce. All the Detroit pizzerias have quite diff sauces and 6 fluid ounces seems about right for a 10x14. I have not yet succeeded in coming up with any of the individual sauces of the big 3, I think.
The crumb and texture here is better than passable but I believe bromated flour would be necessary to close the gap. Even so, this pie could be mistaken for one of the real things, past or present. That is due to these pizzas being a moving target. Since starting this quest I have used 4 diff Buddy's locations for "controls" and over that year have experienced 3 diff versions of the same pie! The last was just this week and after I thought I had the sauce figured, they either changed it dramatically or the particular location I visited (for the first time) is just diff or something. Plus the cheese was not right. It was one of their carry out only's so maybe that is the reason?
PJ, I pull the pie out of the pan immediately and onto a cooling rack to preserve the bottom crisp until served. I found this helped with the way over hydrated 90% version of Sicilian dough and also with some NY styles. To be honest, I never tested if this matters with this particular formula but am just in the habit.
That's all I can think of for now.