Detroit Style Pizza

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Joined May 23, 2020
Hi - We’re looking to start a business focused on Detroit Style Pizza that is delivery and take out only. Our goal is try and take over a struggling business and help keep some jobs. I’m posting now because we’d love to work with a chef who preferably has experience in commercial kitchens to help us develop the recipe for this pizza. The art to this pizza is the dough which is why we think a pastry chef would be the best suited for this. Is there anyone that you could point us to to help with this? We have the home cooked recipe that we just need to scale for a commercial kitchen. Any resources you could point us to to help get this developed would be great!
 

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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I had to look this up because I have never heard of Detroit style pizza before. If you already have a recipe it should be easy to scale it up. Just start experimenting with bulk versions of the sauce and dough and work from there.
 
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Joined May 23, 2020
I had to look this up because I have never heard of Detroit style pizza before. If you already have a recipe it should be easy to scale it up. Just start experimenting with bulk versions of the sauce and dough and work from there.
Thanks - it’s more the process of figuring out the humidity levels and how long to sit that dough out at that quantity that we’re looking for help with. I’m not a chef by trade so it would be great to get the help of someone who is more experienced with this to help me out :)
 
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So, I've operated a lot of pizza joints with a lot of different styles (Never Detroit as I just recently became familiar with it) and I had to do a lot of research on scaling appropriately. I don't remember where I found this online but I used this as a resource to teach a lot of my new pizza cooks about hydration and scaling. I hope this helps, feel free to message me with specific questions.

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Baker’s Percentages:


The first time I saw bakers' percentages in a book; I thought the writer had gone mad. C'mon now, how can anything possibly add up to more than 100 percent? I moved on, blithely unaware that I had just seen the secret spy code for bread makers. Outside the bread-making world, percentages indicate what part of the whole a particular component makes up, while a bakers' percentage is about how various other ingredients relate to the weight of the flour in a recipe.
In baking, as with much of cooking, the actual amounts of an ingredient don't matter much—it's the ratio of ingredients that matters. Think of bakers' percentages this way: the flour is equal to 100 percent. Every other ingredient is then expressed in terms of its ratio to the amount of flour. If, for example, you had a dough with 16 ounces of flour and 8 ounces of water and 0.32 ounces of salt, you'd say that the dough contains 50% water because the water weighs 50% of what the flour weighs. In baker's talk, that's called 50% hydration.
The beauty of expressing recipes in terms of percentages is that the units of measure can be anything: grams, ounces, picograms, farfuffles*, whatever. It doesn't matter if you've got 15 ounces of flour or five pounds. And it doesn't matter what kind or how many varieties of flour. Add up the weight of the flour, divide by 100, and that's the unit you use to measure the rest of your ingredients.** It doesn't matter how much a particular ingredient weighs, only how much it weighs in relation to everything else.
If this all sounds confusing, hang on a minute. It gets easier.


SCALING RECIPES USING BAKER'S PERCENTAGES
Bakers' percentages are very handy if you want to scale recipes up, down, and sideways. If you know the percentages, you can start with any amount of flour you want and figure out the rest of the ingredients by doing a little bit of math.
Let's try this with a real recipe.
My standard, everyday white bread recipe breaks down to the following percentages:

  • Bread flour: 100%
  • Water: 67%
  • Sugar: 4%
  • Yeast: 2%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Olive oil: 4%
So let's say I start with 12 ounces of flour on my scale. To calculate the rest of my ingredients, I first divide the amount of flour I have by 100, giving me 0.12 ounces. Now all I have to do to figure out the rest of my ingredients is to multiply them by their various percentages. So, for example, the water recipe is 67% water. Multiply 67 by 0.12, and I get 8 ounces (rounded from 8.04 ounces).

Do the same math across the board (rounding to the nearest 0.05 ounce), and you get the following weights:

  • Bread flour: 12 ounces
  • Water: 8 ounces1
  • Sugar: 0.5 ounces
  • Yeast: 0.25 ounces
  • Salt: 0.25 ounces
  • Olive oil: 0.5 ounces
Some more astute readers might note that if you look at the bakers' percentages, it all adds up to 179%. Weird, right? That's just the nature of the beast.


ARRIVING AT A SPECIFIC DOUGH WEIGHT

What if you want to go the other way? Say you know that you want a pound of finished dough. How would bakers' percentages help you figure out how much of each ingredients to use? First, you'd start by adding up all of your percentages. For the white bread, that's 179. Next, divide the weight of the final dough you are trying to achieve by that number to give you the weight of a single unit.
So four a 16-ounce (1 pound) ball of dough, each unit of weight should be equal to 16 ounces/179, or 0.089 ounces.
Now all you have to do is multiply that unit by each of your percentages. So flour, for example, is 100% of the recipe. 100 x 0.089 = 8.9 ounces total. Using the same math for every ingredient, you get the following measurements for a one pound ball of dough:

  • Bread flour: 8.9 ounces
  • Water: 6 ounces
  • Sugar: 0.35 ounces
  • Yeast: 0.175 ounces
  • Salt: 0.175 ounces
  • Olive oil: 0.35 ounces
Got it?

Here's all that in handy table form:



Here's what I like best about bakers' percentages: If you were in a location with no conventional measuring tools except a balance scale, you could make bread using these formulas. Using a handy pebble to represent your single unit of measure, or even better, a bunch of those pebbles that each weigh the same amount, you could use that balance scale to weigh 100 units of flour, 67 units of water, 2 units each of salt and yeast, and 4 units of sugar and olive oil, and you've made yourself some dough.
It wouldn't matter if those pebbles weighed an ounce or a gram or a Sakmar, and it wouldn't matter if you used a coconut instead of a pebble. You could use the formula to make a single loaf or enough to feed the entire village.
Although the initial math is, well...math, once you've got the formula it makes iteasier to scale recipes when you need to, as long as you've got a good scale to do the measuring. (Or a balance scale and a bucket of coconuts.)
For a very casual baker, you may not ever need to use bakers' percentages to make a loaf of bread or a great pizza crust, but it's good to have that secret decoder ring, just in case.
* An imaginary unit equal in weight to the left big toenail of an average 3-day-old dormouse.
** There are actually two ways of measuring bakers' percentages if you're using a poolish or some other preferment. In some systems, the preferment is considered to be a separate ingredient, and in others the flour weight in the preferment is part of the 100 percent. If you're reading a recipe that uses bakers' percentages and a preferment, make sure you know which system is in use. For the sake of this explanation, we're assuming that there is no poolish to worry about."
 
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Joined Dec 13, 2018
While they are similar, my understanding is that there is a distinct difference, although I'm not sure what the distinction is. They have both styles on the menu at Tony's in San Francisco as well.
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
To my knowledge Detroit style and Sicilian style basically use a focaccia based dough recipe. Look for a baker with focaccia experience rather than a pastry chef.

Focaccia is actually fairly easy. One place I worked, I used to make 12 sheet pans or more of focaccia a day. If I can make it, anybody can. :~)
 
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I'm not being a wiseass here ... but you guys are cracking me up.
If you want a successful pizza place ... HIRE PIZZA PEOPLE. You don't need bakers or pastry chefs ... you need people experienced in pizza places.
The best commercial crust to copy is ... believe it or not ... Little Caesar's. The one they use for their "PAN PAN" pizza; the side-by-side square deep-dish pizzas. It's a bigger bubble airy chewy 70%+ hydration crust. Another quirk of Detroit Pizza is using Wisconsin brick cheese that goes over the edge to make ridge along the crust against the pan. The part I never understood was the sauce. The sauce is either in round globs or in stripes on the pizza ... ON TOP OF EVERYTHING.

Like I was sayin' ... to repeat myself ... HIRE EXPERIENCED PIZZA PEOPLE.




"We work in kitchens ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
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you guys are cracking me up
You are easily amused but then so am I, what is ain'te? Is that how they spell it at Little Caesar's, although actually there is no apostrophe in Little Caesars, but I digress. Kpgullapalli is looking for someone to scale up an existing dough recipe, NOT DEVELOP PIZZA. They have a recipe they want to use, NOT COPY FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. It is also already an existing place, so there are people working there that HAVE EXPERIENCE IN PIZZA PLACES.

Like I was saying...to repeat myself...SCALE UP...LOL!!!



 
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OK ... So my ideas didn't come out in the best sentences. I used Little Caesars as an example of a beautiful crust style for this application, not meaning that you should copy their recipe. I believe that Kpgullapalli suggested bringing in a "pastry chef" which I tried to express my opinion of difference. Now after that, Mischief's beautiful explanation was very informative but in it's length I kinda got the feeling that a baker was being suggested. Please excuse my mistake if I'm wrong. All you need is a good pizza chef who can make a plain simple focaccia style dough. Now foolish Me in my wasted years of working in and even owning a pizza place ... but I've never seen any "home recipe" just easily scaled-up into a commercial kitchen. Foolish Me again but it just doesn't work that way. Now however, the experienced Me knows that any decent experienced PIZZA CHEF can pull this off in his sleep. I don't see any pastry chefs or bakers making a pizza place fly.

Please excuse if this again sounds cocky. Being a Chicago guy myself, talking about pizza is a religious conversation.



"We work in kitchens ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
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I was certainly not suggesting a baker but to scale a pizza dough recipe, one would use bakers percentages. That is how you get that home recipe scaled for commercial use with the same end product.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
While they are similar, my understanding is that there is a distinct difference, although I'm not sure what the distinction is. They have both styles on the menu at Tony's in San Francisco as well.
The difference between Sicilian and Detroit Pizza is a matter of semantics. Detroit Pizza originated at a placed called "Buddy's" in Detroit. The owner used his grandmother's Sicilian pizza recipe. They place the pepperoni under the cheese to keep it from burning and put the sauce over the cheese, which is exactly how Sicilian pies are made. They even describe this technique as "Sicilian Style" on their web page.

Check it out here: https://www.buddyspizza.com/pizzas

In the case of Tony's in San Francisco, they take the matter a couple of steps further and include Wisconsin White Cheddar and garlic butter with their recipe, which are their own delicious creations. I've been to Tony's on several occasions and spent quite a bit of time talking with the owners. IMO, they make the best pizza on the West Coast. :)

Cheers. :)
 
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Take a look at this guy.........Another thing to look at.........I took some advanced classes at CIA in Napa Valley. At that time I met some people who were working with a Staff Teaching Chef or Baker on perfecting recipes of their companies menu. This may only take a few days of maybe even a week. This would let you set up whatever is needed to get you operation started. Look around Detroit the answers to your questions can be closer than you think........Good Luck ........ChefBillyB.......

 
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