Friday, March 19, 2010

Pizza Ingredients: School, Market, Home

Whole Wheat Pizza with Asian Eggplant and Brown Beech Mushrooms

My very first blog piece was Pizza Perspectives for the Fed Up with Lunch: the School Lunch Project blog.  You may have seen it already but if you haven’t, you can find the piece here.

I had so much fun writing it that I started this blog.  It is really surprising that a plain piece of school pizza has 62 ingredients, so I wondered how that compares to other pizzas. 

I scanned the frozen section of my neighborhood grocery store.  Most pizzas I looked at listed 40 ingredients, and all those included one topping such as pepperoni.    

About a month ago, I began making pizza at home every Friday for dinner.  My fiancĂ© dubbed it Pizza Friday!  It is fast becoming a tradition for us.  Sometimes we invite a friend or two over to partake; other times we indulge on our own.  Tonight I decided to see how many ingredients go into my pizza.   

Dough: 7 ingredients
When Pizza Friday! started, I made the dough myself, but then I got lazy.  After I found frozen organic dough at Whole Foods to be cheaper than the dough at my grocery store, I decided that the $1.69 was totally worth it.  By the way, the 7 ingredients count comes from white pizza dough.  I also used an organic whole wheat dough, but the label fell off, and I can’t seem to find it. 

Sauce: 9 ingredients
I opened a can of tomatoes, pureed it, and added olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, and chili flakes to it. 

Cheese: 4 ingredients  
Today I took a hunk of mozzarella cheese and sliced off what I needed as I’m making the pizzas.  I don’t buy the pre-shredded cheese because it’s more expensive and there’s extra stuff added to the cheese to prevent it from sticking together.  Occasionally, I might use a nice round of fresh mozzarella.

Brown Beech Mushrooms

Toppings: 2 ingredients
I used Asian eggplant, and brown Beech mushrooms; Pat kept his plain. 

Etc: 10 ingredients    
I drizzled olive oil on the dough, sprinkled some salt on the eggplant, and dusted my pizza peel off with some cornmeal and all-purpose flour, which I found out has six other ingredients other than wheat flour.  I included all 7 ingredients in my count because I counted every distinct ingredient when I looked at my school’s frozen pizza to come up with 62 ingredients. 

Total ingredients used for Pizza Friday!: 32

That’s more than I would have expected, though I may have over-counted a few items.  I know salt appeared in more than one ingredient category.  Still, that’s about half the ingredients compared to my school’s pizza. 

My pizza: whole wheat with Asian eggplant and Beech mushrooms
Pat’s pizza: plain cheese   


  1. Mmmmmm! I think I'll have to revive our own weekly pizza night!

    I wonder how restaurant pizzas compare, both chain and gourmet?

  2. We have Pizza Friday! around our house, also. I am pretty sure it is the man's favorite day of the week as he asks me several times every week, "Is is Pizza Friday! yet?"

    Reviewing our pizza ingredients, I think ours come in somewhere around 20 for a veggie or cheese pizza, and around 15 for a barbecue pizza. I don't have any pepperoni on hand to check, but I imagine that ingredient list is ghastly and would add 20 or more ingredients to that.

  3. Many of my favorite recipes take more than 30 ingredients, especially some Mexican and Middle Eastern recipes. But none of those ingredients are HFCS, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, caseine, food dyes, artificial flavors, etc. It's not the number of ingredients, but what they are.

  4. I make large batches of generic pizza dough to make pizza, breadsticks, and crackers whenever I want (just divide and store in the freezer until ready to use). It's only 5 ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. Super easy, and I think each "serving" of dough (enough to make a 12" pizza or plenty of grissini or crackers) ends up costing about $.80, and that's using my $35 bottle of olive oil.