Is Pizza Good For You & How to Make Pizza at Home
John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's Pizza, stated that pizza is healthy if you do not eat too much. He advised that people only eat 1 to 2 slices, otherwise it is too much. He advises against eating 5 or 6 slices.
John Schnatter knows his pizza! He began making pizza when he was 15 … and is still making pizza today. He began his business in 1984 after graduation from college with a degree in business administration. What started off as a business located in the back of his father's bar, has grown into the "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John's" of today.
According to Forbes magazine, Papa John's pizza is the only big chain using "real Italian fresh-packed sauce". The other big chains use "re-manufactured sauce from concentrate". Forbes state "that sauce is the cornerstone to John's motto:" Better ingredients. Better pizza. "
An article in People magazine states that "Schnatter resistant his success stems from using only purified water, fresh spring wheat, fresh-packed tomatoes and the lowest-fat mozzarella available." Schnatter also began rating his pizza. He sold the ones he rated 9 or 10, and thread out the 7's and below. His idea was if he only sold perfect pizza, he would sell more.
How Healthy is Pizza?
Let's get back to the question of how healthy pizza actually is. I looked up Papa John's nutritional information.
One slice of a large cheese pizza has:
* 300 Calories (600 per 2) (1800 per 6)
* 39 grams of carbs (78 per 2) (234 per 6)
* 3.5 grams of saturated fat (7 per 2) (21 per 6)
* 750 mg of sodium
One slice of Hawaiian BBQ Chicken has:
* 340 Calories (680 per 2) (2040 per 6)
* 46 grams of carbs (92 per 2) (276 per 6)
* 3.5 grams of fat (7 per 2) (21 per 6)
* 960 mg of sodium (1920 per 2) (5760 per 6)
That is all fine and good, but what does it mean? I looked up the FDA's dietary guidelines and found these key points:
* Females between the ages of 31 to 50 should consume 1800 calories daily (600 per meal if eating 3 meals daily)
* Males between the ages of 31 to 50 should consume 2000 calories daily (667 per meal if eating 3 meals daily)
* Consume 271 grams daily (About 90 per meal)
* Total fat should not excel 65 grams (About 22 per meal) * Saturated fats should not excel 17 grams (About 6 per meal)
* Consume less than 2300mg of sodium daily (About 767 per meal)
Looks as if John Schnatter knows what he is talking about. If you limit yourself to 1 to 2 pieces of pizza you are within most of the FDA's guidelines. Sodium is a concern, especially if you are middle aged or older, have high blood pressure or are of African American descent.
Make Pizza at Home to Lower Sodium Content
The first thing to decide is are you going to make the crust from scratch or buy a premade shell. Pizza crust is easy and quick to make at home. You probably already have the ingredients in the pantry. However, if you are feeling a little lazy, your best bet is buying some wheat pitas. The pre-made pizza crusts have about 800 mg of sodium per serving. One wheat pita has about 300 mg of sodium.
The second decision is the sauce. Will you use your favorite spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, pizza sauce or just slice some tomato on it? Regular pre-made pizza, spaghetti and tomato sauces all have sodium content of about 300mg per 1/4 cup. Salt free tomato sauce usually has a sodium content of less than 20mg per 1/4 cup.
To keep the sodium content down even further it is best to stay away from processed meats, such as pepperoni and bacon. However, I realize that many people do not consider pizza pizza without the pepperoni.
How to Make a Pizza Crust
I have a recipe that I was given to me by a friend's Mom in New Jersey. It is quick, easy and I let the dough rest while I prepare the other ingredients.
* 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 package dry active yeast
* 1 cup warm water
* 2 tbsp olive oil
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt and the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and the oil. The water needs to be pretty warm, almost hot. Mix with a fork until it forms a sticky dough. Add 1 cup of the remaining flour into the bowl, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead the flour into the dough, adding more if needed to make a firm, smooth dough. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes at room temperature. If you want to make the dough ahead of time you can cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Give the dough at least 10 minutes to come up to room temperature after taking it out of the refrigerator.
Make the Pizza
Collect the ingredients to put on top of your dough. Shred the cheese and cut vegetables and meats into bite size pieces. Use what ever you like, be creative. Remember, if you use sauce, it does not just have to be logo based. The sauce can be BBQ, Alfredo or salsa, to name a few … it all depends on what you want it to taste like.
I use a 10 X 15 X 1 inch jelly roll pan to make my pizza. Make sure you have the oven preheating to 400 degrees F so it heats up while you assemble your pizza. Flour your hands well and pat the dough into the pan evenly, pushing it up the sides.
Spread your sauce on evenly. I never use a lot of sauce, usually there are areas of my dough that look more wet than red.
Cover the sauce with cheese, put on your desired toppings and sprinkle a little more cheese over the toppings.
Place the pan in the middle of the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you used a lot of toppings it may need more time. Make sure the cheese has melted in the middle.
Take your pizza out of the oven when it is done. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes, cut and enjoy.