Why does my pizza make me thirsty?
I’m sure it happened to you several times. You wolf out your delicious pizza, homemade or restaurant-bought, you really enjoy it and when you finish eating you’re happy and satisfied!
After a while, the problems start: you have to drink. And drink. And then drink again. You even woke up at night because your mouth feels as dry as the Death Valley 💀
What the heck is going on? Why are you drinking as much as a camel after a long journey in the desert?
Well, there can be different causes. Let me list some of them, in order of increasing importance.
The first reason is a bit controversial
It’s the length of the rising process. Call it fermentation, maturation, leavening, it doesn't matter in this instance and I won’t dive into the lingo - because I already did in my book and in my videocourse.
During the rising process, many things happen inside your dough. The focus here is on the activity of enzymes that break down starches and proteins into less complex structures - simple sugars and amino acids respectively. Basically, those enzymes do some of the work that your stomach would otherwise do.
However, our digestive system is perfectly capable of breaking down starches and proteins. And this is why many people say that short rising time has nothing to do with after-pizza thirst. They highligt the fact that our stomach contains enzymes as well, so it doesn't need any help in doing its job.
Even if you let your dough rise for ten days, if you don’t cook it properly, then you have to be ready to keep a bottle of water next to your bedside table.
Now, I know you want me to take a stance and cast my vote! If you have been following me at least for a little while, you know that I always aim for a long rising time, as I explained in my Pizza Dough Tutorial video on YouTube. The reason being that long rising will enhance the taste of your final product, be it pizza or bread.
But I also say that, even when you let your dough rise for ten days, if you don’t cook it properly, then you have to be ready to keep a bottle of water next to your bedside table.
You’ve got to bake your pizza right.
In fact, here’s the second reason why you might get thirsty after you eat pizza. It’s more important than the previous one, in my opinion.
You know, when I make pancakes, I cook them straight away after I whip the batter. I don’t let them rest for an undetermined amount of time. But I cook them thoroughly. I wait for some bubbles to appear on the surface, then I flip the pancake and wait for it to be done.
I swear I never get thirsty after I eat pancakes….UNLESS, for some reason or another I don’t cook them right and the inner part is still kind of runny. Usually it’s some kind of accident!
Same for your pizza: if it’s undercooked, it means that you didn't drive all the moisture out. The dough will be heavy, a bit sticky and not stomach friendly at all. Pass me my bottle, please 🍶
You might want to watch my YouTube video about his topic 📺
The ultimate reason
Finally, what I think is the thing that most likely will make you want to drink a whole Olympic swimming pool: the toppings! I’m referring both to their amount and their nature.
Think about one of the most loved toppings, that is pepperoni. It’s so tasty, isn’t it? And it’s full of salt, typically around 4%! Ham contains around 2% while prosciutto goes easily up to 6%! And what about cheeses? The range is quite wide: Pecorino’s salt content is around 4.5% and Feta’s 3.6%. Luckily, there are good ones: 100 grams of mozzarella, pizza cheese par excellence, contain only 0.5 grams of salt.
Now, what happens when you make or order your beloved Meat Feast pizza?
Bad news, you swallow way more than your recommended daily salt intake, that is 2.3 grams per day. And that’s considering JUST THE TOPPINGS 😱
Besides, we pizza makers use a lot of salt when we prepare our pizza dough. For some reason we’re taught to use those hefty amounts. Until just a few weeks ago, my dough recipe called for about 3% salt, which means around 4 grams in a single dough ball. Recently, after reading some articles about salt and its effects on our health, I became kind of obsessed with it. I then tweaked my recipe and turned the amount of salt down to around 2.2%.
In conclusion, don't be too heavy handed when it's time to top up your pizza, make sure it's baked right and you won't have any problem! Do your experiments with short/long rising times and let me know what you think about it.
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