Even though I never thought about the shape of the pizza and box. So, let’s see what the reasons behind the tradition that has been in place for nearly centuries are.
Pizza is a savory dish of Italian cuisine, usually, round, flattened base of leavened flour-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven.
The first pizzeria opened in 1830 in Naples. Naples is also known as the capital of world pizza. In earlier days in Naples, people put tomatoes on the bread and baked it. It is said that Chef Rafell prepared a round three-color pizza that is red, green, and white for queen Margherita. Thus this was the first pizza that was introduced to the world with the name of Pizza Margherita. The round shape pizza has been the tradition to give it that shape for many centuries.
Take a bowl, sieve flour. Mix yeast with milk, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly with flour, and add water slowly. knead to a smooth and soft dough. Grease oil covers with a wet cloth and keep separate for resting the dough. Divide the dough and allow it to rise.
To make round pizza, one has to stretch it outward from the center, and it will automatically be distributed evenly, and a round shape will be created, but now think if you were to make a square or rectangular pizza, it would have been difficult to make the even sides and distribute the dough properly.
Being a chef I also give a round shape by tossing and spinning it in the air. It is not about impressing our guests, there is a significant reason behind it. When we toss and spin it, the force comes into play and activates the gluten, and also removes the lumps. This results in a bigger and thinner crust. Round-shaped pizzas can easily be cut into equal portions. In research, it is also found that the easiest way to eat pizzas is by cutting them into triangular slices. Triangular shapes can easily fold the slices and eat them anywhere with ease. It is the best way to ensure all slices are equal in size and their portion of toppings.
But if a pizza is in a rectangular or square shape, then it won’t be convenient to cut them into triangular shapes as it can cause a lot of wastage and unequal distribution of toppings.
Why do Pizza chains serve round pizza?
According to pizza experts, it is traditionally made in a round shape as the dough is distributed evenly and equal slices can be cut. They also make pizza boxes in square shape as they can be made only from one piece of cardboard and take less space to stack. Thus, it saves a lot of money for pizza chains as well.
Why are Pizza boxes made square?
Square-shaped boxes are easy to store and require only one piece to make a box, while a round box requires multiple pieces of board. Square-shaped boxes fit neatly when stacked as they have equal edges, thus requiring less storage space while round boxes don’t. Square boxes are easier and less costly to manufacture in comparison to round boxes.
In the square box, there is a lot of space left in the four corners. This helps to lift the slices of pizza very easily without damaging the structure of the pizza. The toppings and cheese remain intact in their original place. Extras like oregano and chili flakes can also be kept in the extra space.
This isn’t applicable in the case of round pizza boxes. It can be difficult to lift the pizza in circular boxes.
I have prepared both round pizza and rectangular pizza, a round pizza is easier and faster to shape. The thing that makes square pizza slower to make is how to get the dough distributed evenly and make it a more uniform rectangle or square. More surprisingly, I was serving Pizza in a 16/31 inch rectangular shape in my restaurant, cut into square shapes and this pizza was having the highest demand by our guests.
There is no matter for Pizza lovers whether it is square, rectangular, or round-shaped. But the main reason behind the round pizzas being very prominent is mainly due to the ease of making it and marketing. Pizza boxes are easier and cheaper to make square than circular. It’s cut into triangles as that is the natural way to divide a circle.
There is also a psychological factor to the shape as the look of the pizza is only recognized by the round shape. It is really iconic and looks appealing.
So, why change the shape? Let it be the way it is.