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If you’re on the hunt for a unique slice of pizza with a combination of cheesy, gooey goodness coupled with a great crunch from the thick crust, then look no further than Detroit and Chicago pizza. Both Italian-American Pizzas are made with a thick crust and an abundance of gooey cheese, with flattering toppings set atop an immaculate sauce that’ll surely tickle your taste buds. Perhaps you’re wondering which of the two is better or what sets them apart from each other. Is there a thicker crust involved? Which is the best pizza? Sit tight and allow us to reveal the differences between Detroit and Chicago-style pizza!
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This circular pie, sliced into triangular slices, and traditionally topped with a variety of toppings, ranging from pepperoni to sausage and mozzarella cheese, has come further in history than you would think. Initially arising in ancient Rome, many of the delicious pizzas we know of were originally created for royalty! Pizza has survived centuries, mainly for its appreciated simplicity. A round pie, with triangle slices, served in a square box, there’s certainly room for adaptability!
From experimentation and a little combination of culture, new pizzas grew to power. From rectangular shape pizzas to stuffed pizzas, there’s so much to unpack!
What is Detroit-Style Pizza?
Detroit pizza is a rectangular-shaped pizza with a crisp and chewy thick crust, traditionally loaded with tomato sauce and Wisconsin brick cheese that spreads to the edges. Detroit-style pizza is often baked in rectangular-shaped steel trays, which is slightly uncommon for those who eat triangular-shaped pizza on a regular basis, but in no way does the difference in shape make them less relevant or fun to eat! This particular style of pizza was developed during the mid-twentieth century in the city of Detroit before expanding to other areas of the United States after 2010.
What is Chicago-Style Pizza?
Chicago-style pizza is a type of pizza developed in Chicago and prepared in several ways. Commonly referred to as Chicago’s deep dish pizza, the pan in which the pizza is baked provides enough space for large amounts of cheese and a thick layer of tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizzas may come prepared in deep-dish style as a stuffed pizza.
Differences Between Detroit and Chicago Pizza
When talking about pizza, there are two common types to choose from – deep dish and thin crust. Both of which are incredibly delectable, but which of the two tastes better than the other? Deep dish pizza has been floating around since the early 20th century. Initially invented in Detroit, Michigan, becoming increasingly popular amongst Italian immigrants. This style of pizza is characterized by its thick crust brimming with cheese, sauce, meat, or vegetables.
Chicago-style pizza resembles a traditional pie cut into thick triangular slices. Though, unlike deep pan pizzas, it has a thinner crust and is normally served without toppings. Let’s explore the differences in:
- Crust Ingredients
- Cheese Sauce
- Cooking Time
One of the major differences between the Detroit and Chicago style pizza is the thickness of the crust. Generally, Chicago-style pizza tends to have a thinner crust, mainly due to the fact that Detroit-style pizza is cooked in a larger, deeper pan.
Additionally, another difference between Detroit-style and Chicago-style pizza is the type of crust used. Chicago-style is more of a thin crust pizza, made from flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt, shortening, and lard. However, Detroit-style pizza uses a thicker crust made from bread dough.
Of the many differences between Detroit and Chicago-style pizza, you’ll notice or taste the difference in their cheese sauces. The Detroit-style pizza uses a cheese sauce that is slathered throughout the entire circular pie, while Chicago-style pizza sprinkles a generous helping of cheese atop the pizza.
Detroit-style pizza is commonly topped with vegetables and meats, while Chicago-style pizza uses toppings like pepperoni, sausage, ham, chicken, turkey, or beef.
The final difference between both pizzas is the length of time taken to cook them. Since Detroit-style pizza is baked in a larger and deeper pan, it takes longer to bake. This is why Detroit-style pizza emerges slightly undercooked. On the other hand, Chicago-style pizzas are generally cooked until they achieve a beautiful golden crust.
How to Prepare Detroit-Style Pizza
For the pizza lovers who wish to recreate their favorite and best Detroit-style pizza, then try this recipe.
- 1 pack of active dry yeast
- 3 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- Grab a large bowl and combine yeast, warm water, sugar, and salt. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover this mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Meanwhile, grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with butter
- Pour the mixture into the prepped skillet using a spatula to smooth the top
- Bake this for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and resume baking for another 30 minutes
- Remove it from the oven, and brush the top with some egg yolk
- Return the skillet back to the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes
- Then remove the cast iron skillet from the oven completely, sliding it onto a cutting board once it has cooled down completely.
- Slice your very own Detroit-style pizza into any shape you like; for this recipe, you can slice the pizza into a perfectly fine square shape before serving.
How to Prepare Chicago-Style Pizza
Deep dish pizzas are the equivalent of a brilliant and filling meal. With a variety of toppings and other fillings to bring forth joy to your meals, here is a basic Chicago-style pizza recipe.
- 1 pack of active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tsp unbleached bread flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 egg white
- To make your Chicago-style deep dish pizza, start by combining the yeast, warm water, and butter in the bowl of a standing mixture, with the paddle attachment intact
- Mix this on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed
- Add the salt and flour, mixing at low speed for minutes
- Increase the speed to medium, and beat for 6 to 8 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides. The dough should spring away from the side of the bowl and form a ball
- If this doesn’t happen, add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, and cover tightly with some plastic wrap, letting it rest for 45 minutes.
- While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 400F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rolling each piece into a ball, then place them on your cookie sheet
- Flatten each ball into a disk shape using the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll each disk to an eighth-inch thick
- Place some tomato sauce or marinara sauce on the bottom half of each dough ball
- Add a dash of mozzarella cheese, and a small amount of basil leaves
- Fold over the edges, pressing them together gently to seal
- Brush with egg white and sprinkle some parmesan cheese
- Bake this for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until you achieve a deep brown pan pizza with a crunchy caramelized crust. Serve and enjoy!
Detroit-Style Pizza vs Chicago-Style Pizza
The good thing about Detroit-style deep dish pizza is that it is fairly easy to make, with a crust that you can customize according to your preference, whether you want a thick crust or thinner crust for your pizza; neither will disappoint! On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza can be easier to make for some when compared to Detroit-style deep dish pizza, though others may feel like it requires too much pressure on their wrists. Once you start making a variety of pizza recipes, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Here are some deeper differences between the two popular pizzas:
|Detroit-Style Pizza||Chicago-Style Pizza|
|Flour||Bread flour/high protein flour||all-purpose flour|
|Dough||high-hydration dough||Flaky dough for a nice chewy crust (1 1/2 inch tall)|
|Toppings||Wisconsin brick cheese spread to the edge and finished with cook tomato sauce on top||Mozzarella cheese, sausage, and cooked tomato sauce plopped on top|
|Optional Toppings||Pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, onions, pepperoncini peppers||Onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, grated parmesan cheese|
|Pan||rectangular pan||deep-dish pizza pan (round)|
|Baking Temperature||500°F (260° C)||425°F (218°C)|
|Baking Time||12 to 15 minutes||35 minutes|
Other Styles of Pizza
Originating in Italy, pizza has gone through a variety of amendments to become the thick crust, rounded pie with triangular slices we all know and adore today. With Detroit-style and Chicago-style pizzas in the bag, here are some alternative and delicious options to go for:
- Neapolitan Pizza
- New York Style Pizza
- Sicilian Pizza
- Greek Pizza
Neapolitan pizza originated way back in the 18th century in Naples, Italy. Its toppings are typically made up of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil leaves, oregano, and olive oil. Though, it happens to be a very thin pizza designed to hold fewer toppings because its fragile makeup cannot handle the weight of pepperoni and sausages! In fact, Neapolitan is such a thin pizza, it’s commonly eaten with a fork and knife.
New York Style Pizza
New York-style pizza is commonly large with foldable triangular slices, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Unlike Neapolitan pizza, it can handle a wide range of your favorite toppings. From mushrooms and anchovies to pepperoni and sausages. Of course, you can add any other topping of your choice, whatever makes this pizza incredibly further delicious!
A thick cut of pizza with a soft poufy dough, coupled with an immaculate crunchy crust and spectacular tomato sauce. This square-cut pizza can be served with or without cheese, often with cheese beneath a glaze of tomato sauce, to prevent the pie from sinking in and becoming soggy.
As the name entails, Greek pizza was created by Greek immigrants who had migrated to America, and after being introduced to the magnificence of Italian pizza, they decided to create their own magical formula! Greek pizza features a puffier, chewier crust compared to thin crust pizzas, with typically more sauce than cheese; the final product would impart a more tangy, potent oregano flavor.
Types of Pizza Crust
When deciding on the type of crust you’d like to complete your pizza, there are a couple of varieties that may alter the overall flavors and textures of this delicious pie. Here is the common couple:
- Thin Crust Pizza
- Thick Crust Pizza
Thin Crust Pizza
Thin crust pizzas are much slimmer in the center, typically where the sauce, cheese, and ingredients are placed, resulting in a crunchy yet chunky edge. To achieve a thinner dough, the key is to gingerly stretch out the dough to create edges. Pizzas with thin crusts aren’t great at handling the weight from toppings, but if you really want to add some toppings, then use your dough to create a slightly thicker center to accommodate the additional ingredients.
Thick Crust Pizza
A thick crust is an entirely thick pizza with the ability to handle the weight of a variety of toppings and, of course, sauce. Thick crust pizzas like Chicago-style and Sicilian pizzas have thick edges to handle the abundance of sauce, cheese, and toppings.
So Which One?
Both Detroit and Chicago-style pizza are individually fantastic; depending on the type of pizza you fancy, you may even choose to get both to accommodate the alternating taste buds of the guests at a birthday party; a whole lot better than simply microwaving a pizza!
What makes Detroit-style pizza different?
The major difference in the quality of Detroit-style pizza when compared to other pizzas is its cheese. A Detroit-style pizza has cheese spread all over the top of the pizza, providing a distinct crispy layer of burnt cheese around the edge of the pizza.
Is Detroit-style pizza really a thing?
Detroit-style pizza came into existence when it was first baked in forged-steel pans borrowed from local automotive plants. They produced a crispy crust, which is now famously known to be the best square pizza to this day.
What makes Chicago pizza different?
Aside from regular pizzas where the dough is normally rolled at the ends, the dough in Chicago pizza is pushed and pressed against the sides of a circular pan, creating a crispy crust afterward.
What is the difference between Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza?
Its cheese-covered crust is what sets Detroit-style pizza apart from Sicilian pizza. The cheese is slightly burnt to crisp perfection, along with long vertical streaks or racing stripes.