Have you ever wondered why pizza is round? Round pizza is the most common shape for pizza. Of course, there are some exceptions, like Detroit-style pizza and Sicilian pizza, but round is the most common shape.
It is kind of odd if you think about it; round pizza cut into triangles comes in a square box. This is no accident. There are a few reasons that pizza is round. Many home pizzaiolos struggle with getting the perfectly round pizza, and we get asked a lot how do you get your pizza so round? We have a few tips and tricks that we use, but first, let’s look at why pizza is round.
- Round pizza is the most common shape for pizza due to the ease of shaping the dough, even baking, and regulations set by organizations such as The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana.
- To get a perfectly round pizza at home, it is recommended to stretch the dough from the middle, use a dough mat, use a small knife to cut around the excess dough, and practice.
- While artisanal odd-shaped pizza was once popular, many professional and home pizzaiolos are now prioritizing the universally recognized round shape of pizza.
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Why Are Pizzas Round?
Dough balls are round, and when pizzaiolos stretch the dough out and throw it around in circles, the centrifugal force of throwing the dough and the circular motion and the spinning cause the dough to form a round shape.
It’s a fast way to shape the dough, and once you have mastered the skill of throwing pizza dough, then it is like riding a bike, and you can do it without thinking about it. So it’s easy to make a lot of round pizzas with minimal effort.
Round pizzas bake evenly and tend not to have burnt corners. When you are making a lot of pizzas, it makes sense to have them round to ensure the crust is fully cooked and not undercooked or overcooked in spots. Plus, round pizzas are easy to cut quickly. Just a few swipes with a good pizza cutter that’s nice and clean, and you have a hot sliced pizza pie in no time.
Traditional Neapolitan pizza has a strict set of guidelines, and one of those is that pizza must be round. These guidelines are set by The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. The VPN, according to their website…
“is an international organization officially established in 1984 by a group of Neapolitan people representing some of the oldest families of pizza makers and the most famous Neapolitan pizzerias, seeking to cultivate the culinary art of making Neapolitan pizza. Later on, the association was officially established by the Italian government as a denomination of control (DOC), a designation that made AVPN a legal entity able to give special designation to pizzerias who meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making.”
So in the case of Neapolitan pizza, it is a rule that pizza is round. Of course, other styles of pizza have followed it for the most part. New York-style pizza is round and eaten folded over like a taco. The thin crust and simple cheese or pepperoni topping on a New York pizza make it easy to do that. The history of pepperoni states, though, that the topping can be on any shape.
It would be hard to fold over a slice of Californian pizza topped with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.
How Do You Get Your Pizza So Round At Home?
When you start learning how to make pizza, it takes some time to get it right, from dough density and hydration to stretching and throwing to baking temperature. With so many things to be concerned about, many home pizzaiolos aren’t all that concerned with a perfectly round pizza.
When artisanal pizzas started becoming popular, it was almost a badge of honor to have misshapen pizza; it showed it was rustic and back to basics of taste rather than appearance. Or remember our review of Boludo, the diamond-shaped pizza.
Making a perfectly round pizza gave the appearance the pizza was mass-produced and not a unique handcrafted product.
But many professional pizzaiolos and home pizzaiolos are giving up that artisanal odd-shaped pizza to go back to the round shape that is universally recognized as pizza.
Not to mention that some pizzaiolos are just perfectionists and want a perfectly round pizza every single time. If you are one of those people trying to perfect the shape of your pizza and keep asking, how do you get your pizza so round? We are going to share a few ways we have learned to do it.
Pro Tips to Get Your Pizza Round
Our first several pizzas were anything but round. Many were kind of oblong, some were kind of egg-shaped, and others looked like the great state of Texas. It was not great for the time. Or the first few times. But we eventually figured it out with practice, and you can, too.
Stretch From The Middle
Start with round dough balls. You can use your hands or a rolling pin. But start stretching your dough out from the middle. Push down and pull out the sides. We start using our hands and press and stretch the dough and then usually use a rolling pin the flatten out any dough spots where the dough is too thick. This was one of our early problems was keeping the dough thickness the same throughout.
Use a Dough Mat
A silicone dough mat can help you get the round shape you want. This dough mat has different sizes, so if you are trying to make smaller individual pizzas, medium, or family sizes, it can help you shape and size your dough.
The mat is only safe in the oven up to 450º F, so while it is ideal for shaping, you will need to slide it off if you are using a pizza oven with higher temperatures. If you don’t have a lot on the counter space, the mat can serve as a work area to make the dough and stretch your pizza while keeping all the flour on the mat, making for easy cleanup.
And if you’ve ever had dough stuck on your counter, you know it’s like cement, so having a mat for a pizza-making station is a simple solution to a big problem.
Another way to get your dough round is to stretch it out and lay it on your pizza stone or pizza pan and just use a small knife to cut around the excess dough so you are essentially shaping the dough in the pan.
Practice making pizza over and over again until you are able to have a feel for making it round. The more you practice all aspects of pizza making, the easier it becomes and the better you get at the art of pizza making.