Have you ever wondered why pizzas tend to be rounded?
When so many of our foods are designed to be cooked in square dishes or on rectangular trays, it seems odd that pizzas should be round.
Pizza is round for a few reasons; it’s easier for the servers to cut into slices, and rounded pizzas cook more evenly, with less risk of burning. Additionally, the dough is traditionally rolled out by spinning, tossing it, and using circular motions that cause it to come out round.
Why Is Pizza Round?
There are a few reasons for pizza to turn out round, including:
- Spinning the dough is the easiest way to make pizza, and this results in a rounded shape
- Pizzas will cook evenly when they are round
- It’s easier to make dough round than square
- Round pizzas look more attractive because they are evenly shaped
- It ensures every portion has some crust and some topping
- It’s traditional, and most people prefer this shape
As you can see, there are many reasons for making pizza round. The traditional one is a significant aspect of this; most people just think of pizza as round and prefer round pizzas.
Although square pizzas are delightful, many more places make and serve round pizza, and there’s a strong sense that round is better.
Let’s look at why pizzas are round in more detail.
Spinning Causes Round Dough
When pizzas are made, the dough may be spun in a circular motion. Suppose you have ever seen a professional chef doing this. In that case, you’ll already know just how impressive it looks and how quickly a ball of dough can be turned into an amazingly even and delicious pizza.
The physics behind this is a little complex. Still, essentially, the centrifugal force when the pizza is spinning serves to pull the dough outward. Provided the spin is maintained, an equal force is applied to all parts of the pizza so the dough stretches evenly.
The more the pizza is spun, the thinner it will get and the larger it will become. Therefore, you can make a thinner, satisfying base with no thick parts due to uneven rolling.
The result is a beautiful, round shape that is attractive and easy to cook evenly.
Round Pizzas Cook Evenly
As mentioned above, round pizzas cook more evenly. However, because the crust has no toppings on it, it is exposed to the oven’s heat, and square corners will often cook faster and are at risk of burning or overcooking.
Having circular food means that all the edges will cook at the same rate because none stick out further from the toppings.
This means that you can cook the rounded pizzas with minimal risk of burning them. This reduces food waste and makes it easier to create a delicious, crispy pizza that is even on all sides.
It’s Easier to Make Round Dough
We’ve already discussed that pizza dough can be spun, but you might be wondering why? The answer is that dough is always shaped into a ball for the fermentation period. Because of this dough ball shape, when you roll or stretch it into a pizza, it forms unsurprisingly into a circular shape. It does not naturally form a square or rectangular shape.
So, it is much easier to roll dough into a ball and then roll it out into a flat disc than trying to make it into a cube and then roll it into a square or a rectangle.
Also, because pizza dough is stretchy, it will pull itself back into a somewhat rounded shape if you try to make it into a cube.
Therefore, most pizza chefs make round pizza in the interest of speed.
You can turn round dough into square pizzas, but it cannot be done by spinning, and rolling it out is slower, so less popular with chefs. Additionally, it is much harder to get the base even when rolling it, leading to thicker and thinner crust parts.
Therefore, rounder pizzas are much easier to make, and many chefs prefer them.
Every Portion Gets Crust and Topping
A round pizza is cut into triangular portions, which ensures that every serving gets the same amount of topping and crust. If you cut up a square or rectangular pizza, you either end up with very long strips that are hard to handle or pieces from the center that have no crust on them at all.
These are hard to eat as there is no topping-free edge that you can hold onto, and there’s no crispy edge to enjoy. Therefore, many people prefer round pizzas, especially if they intend to share the pizza with others.
Why Are Pizza Boxes Square?
It might seem odd to put a round item in a square box, but there are a few reasons for making pizza boxes square:
- Square boxes are cheaper to make
- Square boxes fit on shelves and in freezers and fridges better
- Square boxes stack well and stack alongside other goods in stores better than round ones would
- Square boxes take up less space when folded flat
- Square boxes are easier to hold
You might think that putting pizzas in round boxes would save space on the shelves, but as the width of the pizza remains the same, there is no storage space saved with round boxes.
Round boxes are also much more challenging to make and cannot be stacked flat before they are turned into boxes – so there are many reasons for keeping pizza boxes square.
People say it’s easier to get a round pizza out of a square box because of the space left at the sides.
However, shipping and stacking convenience are likely the most significant reasons the boxes are square.
Pizzas are round for various reasons, including the fact that this is simply more traditional to have round pizzas. The dough naturally comes out round, and spinning the pizza to make the base creates a circle. This is the fastest way to get an even, flat bottom, and therefore it is the favored method for most restaurants.