The desire to sink your teeth in a nice slice of pizza that assails you in the most unlikely moments; the ability to eat huge pizzas even if you’re not hungry anymore; the desire to eat immediately another one just finished the first one. All these phenomena are not given by the simple gluttony, they are a real necessity.
Don’t be afraid: pizza addiction has little to do with alcohol addiction and drugs. The brain reacts to a mix of sensory stimuli that make pizza a pleasure for the palate and the soul. With common sense and attending a pizza school, you can make it a positive food from all points of view.
How pizza addiction works
Americans talk about pizza experience. Eating a pizza is an experience that touches all our senses, as the courses for recognized pizza makers teach. All these different stimuli make us feel good and push us to “want more”.
To go into more detail, what do we like about pizza?
A good pizza contains fat, salt and sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates. It is a mix of substances that are useful for the body and quite rare in nature, which therefore triggers an immediate response of pleasure.
Casein is one of the most addictive substances. During digestion, it splits and releases casomorphins, which interact with dopamine receptors. In combination with cheese fat and salty taste, they send the brain to Paradise. That’s why so many “comfort foods” are made from cheese.
The combination of ingredients
A good pizza balances the fruity and sour taste of the tomato with the fat of the cheese, usually mozzarella. The other ingredients should be chosen with this balance in mind.
High or low, when we bite a slice of pizza we must feel a combination of softness (the mozzarella), moisture (the tomato) and crunchiness (the dough). If the dough is too hard or too wet, the tomato is too dry, the mozzarella is rubbery, we are not satisfied. A course to make pizza can teach you how to avoid these mistakes.
The classic pizza Margherita is a beautiful bright red, tending to purplish. This colour is stimulating and immediately attracts the eye, making you eat the pizza with your eyes before with your mouth.
The good memories
Pizza is a social food, often eaten with relatives or friends. Every time we eat it, we connect the experience to the many meals we eat in company.
What are its nutritional values?
The pizza school teaches how to combine ingredients to achieve the above effects. With a good teacher and exercise, you can become the trusted supplier of many “pizza junkies”. What are the effects on your customers’ health, though? As long as you use quality ingredients and common sense, there aren’t any.
Pizza is a calorie food, needless to say. A pizza Margherita can contain up to 700 kcal, mostly consisting of carbohydrates. The more ingredients you add to the filling, the more the count goes up, often in favour of fats and sugars. The classic red pizza, however, is also rich in lycopene, a substance that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. A drizzle of raw oil helps to assimilate it better and gives you more positive nutrients for your body.
Given the high-calorie content, it would be a good idea not to abuse the pizza and limit yourself to a weekly dose. The classic Saturday night pizza with family or friends is a complete food rich in nutrients, which does not spoil the line and makes you feel good at 360°. But what if you want to make your pizza healthier? Is it possible?
How to prepare a healthy and good pizza
The key to a good pizza is in the dough. No addiction holds: when the dough is badly made, it leaves in your mouth the bitter taste of disappointed hopes. In the worst cases, it also makes you come home with a bellyache. Yet, many pizzaiolo – or aspiring pizzaiolo – seem not to understand it.
Any course to make pizza teaches you first of all how to get an addictive base, soft inside and crispy outside. At the same time, it explains how to make it lighter and more digestible. Here are a few tricks to use at home too.
Use little yeast or, better yet, mother yeast. The courses for recognized pizza makers teach how to prepare the latter, a laborious process if you are not a professional. Compromise? Use about 6 grams of brewer’s yeast per 1 kilo of flour.
Let the dough rise for 24 hours in the fridge. The more the dough rests, the more “mature” it is. This means that the complex substances contained in the flour break down, making it easier to digest. Using very little yeast also serves to make the maturation times coincide with those of leavening.
It uses semi-wholemeal or wholemeal flours, rich in fibre and micronutrients that are useful for the body.