Is Pizza Really Bread? A Closer Look at the Science

  • By: Mike
  • Date: December 30, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Pizza is one of the most popular foods eaten all around the world. The seemingly limitless number of pizza styles—deep dish, Sicilian, New York, etc.—makes it so that almost everyone can enjoy a pizza that suits their personal taste. But what kind of food is it? Is pizza considered bread?

No, pizza is generally considered its own distinct food group and is not typically classified as a type of bread. Pizza is a dish that is made by topping a flatbread base, known as a pizza crust, with tomato sauce, cheese, and various other toppings, and then baking it in an oven until the crust is crispy and the toppings are hot and melted.

The pizza crust is typically made from dough that is made from flour, water, yeast, and other ingredients, and is shaped and baked until it is crispy and golden brown. While the pizza crust is made from bread dough, pizza as a whole is not considered to be a type of bread.

Keep reading to learn more about why pizza is considered bread even though it may not look much like it. 

What the Science says about Pizza

From a scientific perspective, pizza is a dish that is made by combining a number of different ingredients, including a dough base (the pizza crust), tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings.

The dough base, or pizza crust, is made from flour, water, yeast, and other ingredients that are mixed together to form a dough. The dough is then shaped and baked in an oven until it becomes crispy and golden brown.

The type of flour used to make the dough, as well as the amount of water and yeast, can affect the texture and flavor of the crust.

The tomato sauce and cheese are added to the pizza crust and then baked in the oven along with any additional toppings. The tomato sauce is made from crushed tomatoes, which are a source of lycopene, a type of antioxidant.

Cheese is a dairy product that is made from milk, and it is a good source of protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

The other toppings that are added to a pizza can vary widely and may include a variety of vegetables, meats, and other ingredients. These toppings can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to the pizza.

Overall, the ingredients in a pizza work together to create a unique dish all on it’s own!

I​s Pizza Considered Bread? 

W​hen you go out to eat at a restaurant, do you order a loaf of bread as your main course? Of course not. You’re more likely to order some bread as an appetizer or side. So why is pizza considered bread?

I​t Uses The Same Basic Ingredients

T​o understand why pizza is bread, we need to talk about the critical components of any bread recipe.

If you’ve never baked yeast bread, you may not know exactly what goes into creating a beautiful, flavor-packed loaf. 

M​erriam-Webster says that bread consists of flour that is moistened, leavened, and baked. Here are the ingredients that all traditional bread recipes include:

  • F​lour (including all-purpose, whole wheat, bread, rye, etc.)
  • Water or another liquid such as beer or broth
  • Y​east

O​f course, many bread recipes include more than just these three ingredients. Salt, seasonings, and butter are common additions that improve the taste and texture of a loaf of bread. But no matter what, yeast bread always includes flour, water, and yeast.

N​ow that we know the critical components of bread, let’s take a look at the ingredients used in pizza dough. Here are the ingredients from the New York Style pizza on Reddit Pizza:

  • Vegetable oil
  • F​lour
  • Instant yeast
  • B​read flour
  • S​alt
  • Sugar

Notice the similarities between the standard ingredients for bread and this pizza recipe? Yep, you guessed it: they both include flour, water, and yeast! The vegetable oil added to the recipe helps create a pizza dough that’s easy to shape, while the salt and sugar influence the final taste of the pizza. 

Pizza Dough Can Be Used To Make Bread

D​id you know that pizza dough can be used to make more than just pizza? That’s right, you can make pizza dough and then use it to make a delicious artisan-style loaf of bread.

In this video, world-renowned pizza chef Vito Iacopelli shows how you can shape your pizza dough into ovals and transform it into a ready-to-bake bread loaf.

I​s Pizza Considered Whole Wheat?

Whether pizza is considered whole wheat depends on the type of flour used to craft the dough.

While it’s possible to find a restaurant that serves a 100% whole wheat pizza or make one yourself at home, it’s harder to get that perfectly chewy, crunchy texture with the excess gluten found in whole wheat flour.

Because of that, many pizza recipes either use a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose or bread flour.

One of the most combinations is 50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat flour. This increases the health benefits of the pizza without reducing the quality of the pizza’s texture. 

A​re There Differences Between Pizza Dough And Bread Dough?

Even though pizza can be considered bread and you can use pizza dough to make bread, there is one small difference between pizza dough and a typical bread dough. 

W​hen you make pizza dough, it’s pretty easy to stretch. This makes it easy to roll the pizza dough out into the shape of your pizza.

Bread dough, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to stretch. Since bread dough doesn’t need to be manipulated as much as pizza dough, the lack of stretching ability isn’t an issue. 

T​he reason for the difference in stretching ability is simple: the length of time the dough sits, or proofs, before it is baked.

Most breads can be baked within 24 hours of being worked. Pizza dough, on the other hand, commonly proofs in a fridge for a few days or even up to a week before being tossed in the oven. 

Interestingly, you can make bread out of your pizza dough simply by letting the dough proof in the fridge for a few more days.

The elasticity of the dough will increase, allowing you to shape your perfect pan or thin crust pizza. 

I​s Pizza A Sandwich?

We actually took a deep dive into this and you can find that here.

N​ow that you know pizza can be considered bread, it’s logical to wonder if it’s also a sandwich. After all, aren’t sandwiches good for you? If pizza can be considered a sandwich, it’s practically a health food, right?

A​s it turns out, pizza actually can be considered a sandwich. While some pizza purists claim pizza is far from a sandwich, we disagree. Sandwiches are basically just bread with toppings, and pizza has plenty of toppings

Of course, pizza doesn’t usually have bread on both sides of the toppings. This doesn’t keep it from being a sandwich, it just means it’s an open-faced one. 

If you like to fold your piece of pizza over on itself, there will be bread on both sides of the toppings. This make it become even more like a sandwich.

Final Thoughts

Since bread and pizza are both made using simple ingredients like flour, water, and yeast, they are pretty much the same thing in their dough state.

You can make one batch of dough and use it for both bread and pizza; the proofing process is the main thing that determines what your dough turns into. 

I​f you’re minimizing carbs and are hoping pizza will fit into your no-bread diet, this may be disappointing.

However, for those of us who just can’t get enough of bread, knowing pizza is just another form of bread is exciting news. 

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