Why is Pizza Round

Why is pizza round? The box is a square; the slices are triangles. Why don’t they call it cheesy shapes? If you’re anything like me, then you read that “joke” in a Jerry Seinfeld voice. (Any other Seinfeld fans in the house?)

Hey, there, pizza lovers. My name is Michelle, and I’ve got an interesting quandary I’d like to share with you today. Why on earth is pizza round? For any other perfectionist out there, seeing the circular shape trapped in a square shape is nightmare-inducing. What gives?

There is actually a pretty solid reason why pizza is round. In fact, there’s a couple. Round pizzas are easier and quicker to cut than other shapes, such as squares. The round shape also comes from the way pizza dough is created, stretched, and shaped. It just works better.

If you’re here to learn, I’m here to teach. Roll call!

Why is Pizza Round?

To be honest, most of us open our pizza boxes and don’t give it a second thought. We take a bite and enter into a cheesy coma and never think about the shapes. But for the skeptics out there, it’s a different story. You’re thinking – why is the pizza round, anyways?

Well, there are three simple reasons why pizza is round: it’s easier, faster, and iconic. Let’s take a closer look.

It Starts With Dough Preparation

It all starts with creating the dough (by the way, here’s a great pizza dough recipe). The ingredients are kneaded altogether and then separated into smaller pieces shaped into dough balls to rise. 

Why? Because the balls need to be neat, so they’re ready for their next step: stretching. Not only that, but dough balls are way easier to create than other shapes. Could you imagine every section of dough needing to be shaped into a hexagon? Star? Even a square? No, thanks.

When it comes to stretching the dough, it’s easier to go with a circular shape, too. Since you start at the center of the dough ball, the dough naturally stretches into a circle. From there, cooks (like myself) use their fingertips or toss the dough to stretch it out into a perfect circle.

Next, Comes Cooking and Cutting

Pizza formed into a round shape is going to be the optimal shape for baking. How is that? The shape will allow for heat to evenly disperse across the diameter of the pizza, allowing for a more even (and delicious) finish. Other shapes could lend themselves to burns or undercooked spots.

When it’s done baking, it’s time to cut. 

If you have ever seen a professional cut a pizza, you will notice that they zip around with their pizza cutter in a matter of seconds. It’s really an amazing sight! The circular shape makes it a cinch to slice the pizza into equal sizes: quicker cutting = more sales. 

Trying to divide a square pizza into multiple slices would be a huge undertaking. Even if you “got the groove down,” it would still be a lot more challenging than just zipping through the whole pizza in a matter of seconds.

Don’t let this be confused with square-cut pizza, though. Square-cut pizza is quite popular, especially in certain parts of the country (Chicago, namely). However, although cut into squares, the whole pizza is still circular.

Lastly, Consumption

All that’s left to do is box it up or deliver it to the table. Yum! Just thinking about ooey-gooey pizza is making me hungry (be right back). What does this have to do with the round shape? I’ll tell you with one word: iconic.

The round pizza shape is simply iconic. When it’s brought out to your table, you know exactly what it is. You use the pizza server to pass around slices to all of your loved ones. The same goes for delivery. You open the box, and there is your round pizza – just the way you like it.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Bert Lance. Truer words haven’t been spoken. Pizza has been around for years and years and is one of the most popular foods in the world. Why change it now? That would be bad for business.

FAQs

Now you can tell all of your friends about why pizza is round at your next get-together. Cool, huh? If you want to be even more educated on this topic, check out the frequently asked questions below.

When did pizza become circular?

Pizza has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t always circular (or at least it wasn’t deemed as the “right” thing to do). Pizza “became” circular in 1984 when the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana” declared that pizza should, in fact, be round.

Why is pizza round packed in a square box and eaten in triangles?

We know why pizza is round. Boxes are square because they are easier and cheaper to make and are stored better than other shapes. Pizza is eaten in triangles because that’s how they’re cut, and it provides a crust, or pizza holder (as I call it), to easily eat slices without messy fingers.

Why pizza box is not round?

Pizza boxes are not round because it is far more challenging and costly to produce round boxes than squares. Not only that, but they do not break down and store as easily as square boxes do.

Is pizza round in Italy?

Not all pizzas are round in Italy, although plenty of them are. Pizza Alla Pala and Pizza al Taglio are two examples of Italian pizzas not cut in a circular shape.

Final Words

Pizza, pizza! It’s circular because it’s the easiest thing to do, from prep to cutting. It’s also simply the iconic look for pizza which makes it a standout anywhere you go. Although the actual slices can be cut differently, it’s more common to find round pizzas than any other shape.

Did you know why pizza was round? Do you like the circular shape, or would you prefer another shape? Share your thoughts with us below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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