Had an opportunity to visit Buddy's a couple of times since last posting so decided to use this to reacquaint myself with this pie see what I could find out. Between the literature available there, what I could get the employees to reveal, and my observations (some of this is not new, but maybe confirmed):
The pies were not nearly as greasy as I seem to remember in regard to the dough. The bottom crust was fairly dry and the interior was not all that moist.
Cheese is a brick or brick blend, but has way more flavor than any brick I have yet tried.
No oil or sugar in their dough.
At the not original location visited, the pies are baked for 13 min in a conveyor oven at 375.
I was just talking to a good friend this morning about when he worked at Buddy's back in high school. Must've been over 20 years ago. He said they'd start making the dough about 8 in the morning and continue until about 11. And that's all the dough they would make for the day. They used iced cold water (like with actual ice cubes to cool it down) and cold flour. After mixing it went straight to the tray and not in the fridge. So at lunch time they'd start using the earlier doughs that started at 8 and got done by 9. He said by the end of the day the yeast are pretty much exhausted. If they just dropped the pan a few inches or piled on the toppings the dough would deflate. I didn't ask him about the actual dough formula. Doubt he'd remember it. He did said they used a spice pack, oil and sugar.
I was never much into the Detroit style pizza because I thought it was too greasy and crust is too bready. But reading through this thread made me want to go to Buddy's and then make my own Detroit style!
Right on, madymo3d, as the pie I had that was made at around 9 pm was indeed deflated. The crumb seems to be a just a bit past bready to me though.
So my best guesses here is a hydration between my first attempts (definitely bready) and last attempts (way too open crumb and too moist), also targeting the lower temp and bake time. This may help with the cheese crust and bottom baking to a golden brown rather than dark or even blackish. Although I have tried a cold method, and a same day method, I never combined the two so that may be warranted. A few seasoning cycles for the pan and a more minimal amount of pan lube, prob oil, seems right. I am not sure what effect "lightly oiling the dough when pressing it out" might have but that may be worth a try to find out. Once I get off the NY style kick, I will see where this leads.
Photos of the target attached.