Bread expert highlights Detroit-style pizza in new cookbook

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
"Perfect Pan Pizza," hitting shelves Tuesday, features Detroit-style deep pan pizza.

Bread expert Peter Reinhart's new book explores the depths of pan pizza and gives a good amount of ink to Detroit's thick-crust square pie. 

"Perfect Pan Pizza," (Ten Speed Press, $22.99) a 192-page hardcover cookbook out Tuesday, explores the many nuances of deep-dish pizza that is baked in a pan. Besides Detroit-style, the James Beard Award-winning author writes about Roman and Sicilian style pizza, plus focaccia and schiacciata, a type of Tuscan flatbread. 

In the book, Reinhart nails down what sets the pan pizza born in the Motor City apart from other deep-dish variations. 

"It's way too much cheese, way too much dough, way too much oil, but also way too good to stop eating it," he writes. 

He characterizes Detroit-style pizza — and name-drops Buddy's and Jet's — as being one that has cheese that melts over the side of the crust and crisps up between the outer edge of the dough and the pan. 

For making the square treat at home, Reinhart recommends using Wisconsin brick cheese, but says it's not a must as it can be pricey and hard to find. He also suggests baking in a 9 by 9 inch pan that is 2 or 3 inches deep. 

"Perfect Pan Pizza" aims to be useful to both beginners and practiced pizza-makers. There are recipes for sauces, different types of dough and specialty toppings like a caramelized balsamic onion marmalade. 

This is just one of a dozen books penned by Reinhart, who is a full-time baking instructor at Johnson and Wales University.

He's also known for "American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza." Within the pages of "Perfect Pan Pizza" he admits to having dropped the ball including Detroit-style pizza in the former book. 

"It just wasn't on my radar then," he writes. "Almost as if the folks from Detroit wanted to keep it under wraps to prevent the mainstream food world from hijacking and (corrupting) it."

Seems like he's hip now.

Twitter: @melodybaetens