Brent T. Frei 2015-10-06 00:33:50
Food Focus Kitchen Wisdom says... Try This! Although pizza can trace its roots to the earliest inhabitants of the Mediterranean—where it was a simple flatbread topped with herbs and other straight-from-nature ingredients—the story of pizza in America is barely 110 years old. The much-loved “pie” first landed on U.S. shores around the turn of the 20th century, as thousands of other Italian immigrants passed through customs. The first pizzas were offered by street peddlers, who sold them whole for a nickel. Although classic pizza would never be served sliced back home in Italy, the pizza sold by new American vendors catered to those of lesser means, selling them wedges for a couple of pennies. The taste caught on, and soon, small pizzerias opened in Italian neighborhoods in the largest metro areas of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and St. Louis. With a call for healthier and more novel flavor combinations, school meal operations can take a cue from trends in other foodservice segments to increase participation of this much-loved lunchtime staple. The claim to the first U.S. pizzeria belongs to Genarro Lombardi, who opened his restaurant in New York City in 1905. Although the pizzeria is still in business, the original closed in 1984 and reopened under new ownership a decade later, so Lombardi’s isn’t the nation’s longest continuously operating pizzeria. That distinction goes to Papa’s Tomato Pies, opened by Giuseppe Papa in Trenton, N.J., in 1912. It’s still owned and operated by current generations of the Papa family, using Giuseppe’s original recipes. Yes, the history of pizza in America might be limited, but its impact certainly is not! Here we are, more than a century later, and pizza ranks as one of the most-enjoyed meals both in and outside of schools. As the craft of pizza-making expands, so do many of the trends that affect all foodservice segments. DIY Pie The latest and “greatest” trend affecting pizza that is prepared and purchased away from home isn’t exactly unfamiliar to choosy consumers: build-your-own. Note: In commercial foodservice, experts draw a subtle distinction between “build-your-own” and “made-to-order.” In the context of this article, “made-to-order” means that an item on the menu is finished after the customer has ordered it, rather than being prepped and packaged/plated in advance (as with most conventional fast food items). The customer can request minor modifications. Build-your-own is a sub-category of “made-to-order,” meaning that the restaurant is emphasizing greater options for individualization. “Whether they offer the customization of a build-your-own format or just their own made-to-order signature dishes, fast-casual chains [have] clearly hit the sweet spot with consumers,” reports Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based trend-tracker Technomic. “The winning formula of high-quality menu items in upscale settings, with high-touch service at prices between fast food and casual dining, can be applied to any kind of food—and it’s powering growth in segments from burgers and barbecue to sushi and pizza.” In 2014, restaurants boasting a build-your-own format increased sales 22%. Four of the five fastest-growing restaurant brands of the past year came from the fast-casual arena, including Pieology—the first build-your-own pizza chain to crack Technomic’s annual ranking of the 500 largest restaurant chains. Not only does Pieology, based in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., offer unlimited toppings on its pizzas for one set price, but pizzas are given an artisanal touch. Plus, the chain’s special open-flame ovens deliver customers’ smoking-hot creations in less than five minutes. So successful is Pieology’s approach that t he company increased its annual sales 230% to $44.6 million in 2014, and its unit count nearly tripled to 42 locations. “Consumers certainly like the freshness, food quality and prices at made-to-order fast-casual brands, but there is something about the build-your-own format that they prefer significantly,” notes Tristano. “More customers, especially Millennials, see the personalization and engagement that come in a build-your-own menu offering as the greatest differentiator in dining out.” Meanwhile, at Dallas-based Pie Five, guests can choose from more than one million combinations of farm-fresh ingredients, artisan sauces and handcrafted crust varieties. Pie Five’s unique concept is catching on—the pizza phenom plans to open 500 company-owned and franchised locations across the country in the next five years. “We don’t create pizza for the masses,” says Randy Gier, CEO. “Our goal is to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want on their pie and at an affordable price.” Sounds an awful lot like what your students want, too, doesn’t it? The fact of the matter is your students are being exposed to these build-your-own trends, as well as unexpected flavor combinations in restaurants. To increase participation, it might just be worth taking a page from these fast-casual establishments. Extra Cheese Isn’t Extra Special Of course, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and cheese still dominate when it comes to favorite pizza toppings. But more and more consumers of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are clamoring for the ever-more-novel, anything-but-traditional pizza on menus nationwide. Take Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, Inc., as an example. In addition to its well-established Ultimate Cheese Lover’s® and Pepperoni Lover’s® pizzas, the chain also offers a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger variety, featuring barbecue sauce, meatballs, hardwood-smoked bacon, red onions and diced Roma tomatoes, with toasted cheddar on the crust edge. And this is on its regular menu! That’s not Italian. Nor is Sweet Sriracha Dynamite, sporting honey Sriracha sauce, grilled chicken, sliced jalapeño peppers, pineapple chunks and Peruvian cherry peppers. But the biggest buzz from Pizza Hut last summer was a limited-time offering of the Hot Dog Bites Pizza. The large one-topping pizza was surrounded by 28 mini hot dogs wrapped in either traditional or pretzel dough crust. Hot dogs might be quintessentially American, but this pizza mash-up actually got its start in Asia, where customers in Thailand, Japan and South Korea first sampled the meatiness of a hot-dog-stuffed outer pizza edge. (Fun fact: This year marks the 30th anniversary of Pizza Hut’s invention and introduction of the stuffed-crust pizza.) From there, Hot Dog Bites Pizza traveled to Great Britain with its by-then-inseparable companion, the mustard drizzle. In the States, customers also could order a side of French’s Classic Yellow® Mustard for dipping the dough-wrapped dogs. Meanwhile, Little Caesars appealed to bacon lovers in February with its large, eight-corner DEEP!DEEP!™ Dish pizza in a pepperoni variety that featured a crumbled-bacon topping, as well as a crispy crust wrapped in 3ó feet of bacon. The limited-time offering, which was priced at $12, was Little Caesars’ most expensive pizza. And to assuage those anticipating a staggering amount of fat and calories per serving, the company compared a single slice containing 23 grams of fat and 450 calories to a slice of its regular deep-dish pepperoni pizza with 18 grams of fat and 390 calories. Of course, nary a nutritionist would consider either pizza variety a healthy or better-for-you option. (Besides, the bigger question begged: Who eats only one slice of pizza?) Fortunately, these less-nutritious trends will never make it into school settings, despite their popularity with consumers, given stringent federal standards. Most schools continue to focus on more conventional offerings (cheese and pepperoni) and limit their availability to elementary students. When it comes to prepared pizzas, there are some new flavors, like buffalo-chicken pizza, making it onto school menus, and breakfast pizza is seeing modest gains, as well. But it’s when school districts make their own signature dishes that we’re seeing a greater nod to the consumer demands for novelty. School Nutrition has discovered school menus boasting a wide variety of pizza options, from feta-and-sweet potato to veggie supreme to fresh pesto to a pizza with a drizzle of hot sauce—even a fruit pizza with wedges of watermelon as the base and topped with strawberries, kiwi and blueberries! Controversy in the Round Even with the introduction of new items and product reformulations, plus scratch and speed-scratch cooking so prevalent in many school kitchens, a vociferous segment of child health advocates are questioning whether pizza should continue to be so widely served to students. Let’s tackle this topic by first looking at some compelling numbers. Franchise Help, a company that offers guidance, tools and advice to potential business franchisees, cites statistics from its Pizza Industry Analysis 2015, revealing that the $40 billion pizza-restaurant industry (measured by sales per year) makes up approximately 17% of all restaurants in the nation. From the menus of these restaurants, Americans eat, on average, 100 acres of pizza daily, or 350 slices per second. These figures don’t include pizza prepared or heated and served at noncommercial foodservice outlets (such as schools) or retail sales of frozen pizza products. Combined all together, however, that’s a lot of pizza. In fact, The Huffington Post reported earlier this year that “kids in the United States eat so much pizza that some researchers now argue that the food should join the ranks of sugary drinks and fast foods—increasingly decried in recent years for the toll they take on health.” HuffPost cited a study published in the journal Pediatrics in January 2015, which found that pizza is among the greatest sources of calories for children and on days when children eat pizza, they consume more saturated fat, more salt and more calories overall. When you consider both the volume of pizza consumed and some of the less-than-nutritious pizza trends kids are eating away from school, which have already been cited in this article, you may understand why many critics fail to draw a distinction between pizza served at restaurants and the pizza served at school. Nonetheless, there is quite a difference! School pizza must meet standards for proper portion sizes, whole grains in the crust and low-fat and reduced-sodium toppings. But many outside this business are unfamiliar with these standards and the way that schools and vendors are stepping up to the challenge. Plus, a school pizza must be served with a fruit or veggie as required components in a reimbursable meal. (Talk about a delicious compromise!) Still, K-12 operators and vendors serving this market will continue to face the challenge of following the pizza trends that today’s kid consumers have come to expect, while doing so within strict nutrition standards—and trying to educate a public swayed by those television ads touting pizza laden with bacon, hot dogs, chili, corn chips and extra cheese that pizza can be a healthy cafeteria choice. It isn’t easy satisfying cafeteria customers who demand their piece of the pie! A Trend That Isn’t Falling Flat You can’t talk about pizza without visiting its thinner cousin, flatbreads, which are hotter than ever in all foodservice segments right now. In restaurants, scratch-cooked flatbreads and pizzas answer the call for artisanship. The addition of fresh herbs, premium oils, local vegetables, cured meats, farmstead cheeses and other unique ingredients atop any flatbread crust transforms it into a signature offering. Boston-based UNO Pizzeria & Grill, for example, recently unveiled a line of handcrafted artisan-crust flatbreads, called such to distinguish them from the chain’s signature deep-dish pizzas. (History lesson: Ike Sewell developed the world’s first deep-dish pizza in 1943 when he opened what was then called Pizzeria Uno, which still operates at its original location on the corner of Ohio and Wabash in Chicago.) One flatbread variety is topped with premium ingredients: prosciutto, roasted red peppers, arugula, aged cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan, with a balsamic glaze. The appeal of flatbreads is in their inherent portability and, according to Technomic, Inc., 28% of consumers would like to see more handheld pizza snacks that they can eat solo or on the go—at all times of the day. “When you think of the lifestyle trends of the last several years, today we are basically nomads,” says Heidi Hedeker, CMB, MA/MSW, assistant professor and pastry-chef instructor at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago. “More of the foods we eat are to go, and what is more nomadic than a flatbread? That fits with our lifestyle today, because everything we do is portable.” Gas up and Grab a Slice Need additional proof that pizza in consumers’ daily lives is even more American than apple pie? Lots of pizza dough is going in through the doors of convenience stores and lots of pizza servings are going out those same doors, according to the NPD Group, a global information company based in Port Washington, N.Y. Cases of pizza crust and dough shipped to convenience stores from broadline foodservice distributors increased by 27%, and servings of pizza ordered by convenience-store customers increased by more than 20% in the year ending February 2015 compared to the year prior. BONUS WEB CONTENT Pizza isn’t necessarily difficult to make from scratch, but it’s definitely reliant on labor, time and special ovens—which can be rare commodities in K-12 school settings. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent to learn more about how vendor partners are stepping up to help schools offer pizza that customers crave and that meet current nutrition requirements. Recipes obtained from outside sources and published in School Nutrition have not been tested by the magazine or SNA in a school foodservice setting, except for certain “Kitchen Wisdom” selections, which are evaluated by a volunteer pool of operators. When available, nutrient analyses are provided by the recipe source. Required ingredients, preparation steps and nutrient content make some recipes more appropriate for catering applications or adult meals. Readers are encouraged to test recipes and calculate their own nutrition analyses and meal patterns before adding a recipe to school menus. In addition, SN recognizes that individual schools use varying documentation methods and preparation steps to comply with HACCP principles; we encourage you to add your own HACCP steps to these recipes. Brent Frei is a freelance writer based in Schaumburg, Ill. Photography by jiunlimited.com. CRISPY FLATBREAD SAUSAGE PIZZA YIELD: 100 servings INGREDIENTS Tortillas*, whole-grain, 8-in.—100 Tomato paste, low-sodium—7 ¼ lbs. No-salt seasoning, garlic & herb—2⁄3 cup Chicken sausages, cooked, crumbled—6 ¼ lbs. Bell peppers, multicolored, diced—5 ½ lbs. Mozzarella cheese, reduced-fat, shredded—12 ½ lbs. DIRECTIONS 1) Preheat oven to 400°F. 2) In a bowl, combine the tomato paste and the garlic & herb seasoning. Set aside. 3) Place the tortillas on a flat work surface and spread each evenly with 2 Tbsps. of the seasoning and tomato paste mixture. Top each with 1 oz. sausage, ¼ cup peppers and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. 4) Bake on the oven rack set above sheet pans for 6 to 8 minutes or until the tortillas are crispy and golden. Notes: Mission. Hearty Grains™ Tortillas can be used in this recipe. The recipe source suggests serving one pizza paired with 1 cup orange wedges and 8 fl. oz. skim milk to menu a complete reimbursable meal that meets federal requirements. Recipe and photo: Mission Foodservice, www.missionfoodservice.com KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • If no tomato paste is available, you can use a low-sodium tomato sauce or even salsa. • Make this pizza a vegetarian option by replacing the sausage with mushrooms. • This recipe can be more cost-effective if prepared using USDA Foods items, including the tortillas, tomato products and cheese. Check your USDA Foods shopping list for ingredient availability. • Use pre-cooked sausage crumbles to cut down on prep time. • Put the tortillas on parchment-lined sheet pans before prepping and then bake them on the sheet pans. It would be too time-consuming to remove each tortilla from the oven racks one by one! • Try this recipe using a whole-grain pita, as we found the tortillas did not stand up to the toppings very well. BRUSCHETTA BREAKFAST PIZZA YIELD: 30 servings (5x6-in. slices) PER SERVING: 212 cal., 7 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 10 g pro., 135 mg chol., 299 mg sod., 26 g carbs., 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar INGREDIENTS Pizza dough sheets, frozen, 12x16-in. —2 sheets (3 lbs.) Eggs, liquid—1 qt. Italian cheese sauce—2 ¼ cups Tomatoes, seeded, chopped—3 cups Green onions, sliced—1 cup Garlic, fresh, chopped—1 Tbsp., 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese, grated—2 ozs. Basil, fresh, chopped—½ cup to 1 cup DIRECTIONS 1) Preheat convention oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a full sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Thaw the pizza dough sheets. 2) Place the pizza dough sheets on the sheet pan with long edges meeting in the center. (If necessary, roll or stretch the dough sheets out to a slightly larger size.) Press the center seam together and form a rim around the edges. Prick the dough with fork and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Par-bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven, set aside. 3) Spray a half-size steamtable pan with nonstick cooking spray. 4) In a large bowl, combine the eggs and the Italian cheese sauce. 5) Pour the egg mixture into the prepared steamtable pan. Heat in a steamer until eggs are beginning to set but are still soft, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring one or two times while heating. 6) Spread the egg mixture evenly over the heated crust. Spread the topping ingredients (tomatoes, onions and garlic) evenly over the eggs. 7) Return the pizza to the oven and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until toppings are heated through. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the grated Parmesan and chopped basil. Critical Control Point: Heat to 165°F for 15 seconds. *Notes: Land O’ Lakes Italian Cheese Sauce can be used for this recipe. According to the recipe source, one serving provides 1 meat/meat alternate, 1 ½ oz. eq. grain and 1⁄8 cup red/orange vegetable. Other vegetables, such as chopped peppers or sliced mushrooms, may be substituted for the green onions. Recipe and photo: Land O’ Lakes Foodservice, www.landolakesfoodservice.com KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • This would be more popular with secondary students. • My first concern is prep time, and my second concern is cost-effectiveness for breakfast. I do like it for a meatless lunch option. • It seems labor-intensive to prepare, but serving would be easy. CHARLIE’S MINI PIZZA YIELD: 100 servings INGREDIENTS Chunk light tuna, in water, low-sodium*—3 8-lb. pouches English muffins, whole grain-rich—100 (2 ozs. each) Pizza sauce—1 No. 10 can (~12 ½ cups) Mozzarella cheese, shredded, part-skim—1 ½ lbs. Veggie slices (olives, tomatoes, bell peppers)—Optional DIRECTIONS 1) Preheat the broiler on low. Split the English muffins and place on baking sheet pans. 2) Broil the muffin halves until the bread is lightly browned. Remove from the broiler. 3) Using a No. 30 scoop, top each muffin half with pizza sauce. Spread the sauce to the edges. 4) Using a No. 30 scoop, top each muffin half with tuna. 5) Using a No. 60 scoop, top the tuna with cheese. 6) Top with veggie slices (tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, etc.) as desired. 7) Place the mini pizzas back in the broiler and cook until the cheese melts and lightly browns. 8) Cover the baking sheets and place in warming cart. Critical Control Point: Hold above 135°F. 9) To serve, two English muffin halves equals one portion. *Notes: StarKist. Chunk Light Tuna in water can be used for this recipe. According to the recipe source, each serving provides 1.5 ozs. meat/meat alternate, 1⁄8 cup red/orange vegetables and 2 ozs. whole grain/bread. Recipe and photo: StarKist Food Service, www.starkist.com/about-starkist/foodservice. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • I used black olives and yellow peppers for toppings. • It seems like a very cost-effective recipe. • I think kids would like these, but it can be labor-intensive to toast the muffins first, top them and then put them back in the oven again! POURABLE PIZZA CRUST YIELD: 50 servings PER SERVING: 158 cal., 5.5 g pro., 31 g carb., 1 g fat, 89 mg sod., g fiber INGREDIENTS Active dry yeast—3 Tbsps. Flour, all-purpose, enriched—3 lbs., 8 ozs. Instant nonfat dry milk—9 ¼ ozs. Sugar—5 ¼ ozs. Salt—1 ¼ tsps. Vegetable oil—2 Tbsps. Water, warm (130°F)—2 qts. Cornmeal—2 ½ ozs. DIRECTIONS: 1) Mix together the dry yeast, flour, dry milk, sugar and salt. 2) Add the oil to the dry mixture and then blend for four minutes on low speed. 3) Add the warm water and blend for 10 minutes on medium speed. The batter will be lumpy. 4) Lightly coat two sheet pans and one half-sheet pan with pan-release spray. Sprinkle each full sheet pan with 1 oz. cornmeal and each half-sheet pan with ½ oz. cornmeal. 5) Pour or spread 3 lbs., 7 ozs., batter into each sheet pan and 1 lb., 11 ½ ozs. into each half-sheet pan. Let stand for 20 minutes. 6) Prebake until the crust is set: 475°F for 10 minutes in a conventional oven or 425°F for seven minutes in a convection oven. 7) Top each prepared crust with desired toppings. Portion each full sheet pan 4x5 for 20 slices per pan and each half-sheet pan 2x5 for 10 slices per pan. Notes: For best results, all ingredients and utensils should be at room temperature before preparation begins. According to the recipe source, one serving provides 2 servings of grains/breads. The nutrient analysis is for the crust only. Recipe source: Institute of Child Nutrition, www.theicn.org PHILLY BEEF PIZZA YIELD: 30 servings INGREDIENTS Pizza, cheese, pre-prepared, 16-in.*—3 Green peppers, diced—3 cups Onion, diced—¾ cup Oregano, fresh, chopped—2 Tbsps. Garlic, chopped—2 Tbsps. Ground beef, cooked—15 ozs. Black pepper—pinch DIRECTIONS 1) Cook the ground beef according to standard directions and hold at 155°F. (If cooked and chilled, reheat to 165°F.) 2) Combine the green peppers, onion, oregano, garlic and black pepper together in a bowl and place in the steamer until they are crisp-tender. Use a colander to drain the excess liquid. 3) Combine the vegetable-and-herb mixture with the cooked ground beef. 4) Evenly distribute the beef-veggie mixture to top each of the three cheese pizzas, still frozen, and bake according to the package directions for the pizza. 5) Cut each pizza into 10 slices to serve. *Notes: Big Daddy’s. Cheese Pizza from Schwan’s Food Service can be used in this recipe. According to the recipe source, in addition to the CN credits provided by the specific variety of Big Daddy’s. Cheese Pizza, this recipe provides an additional 1⁄8 cup vegetable credit and ½-oz. meat/meat alternate per 10-cut serving. Recipe: Big Daddy’s/Schwan’s Food Service, www.schwansfoodservice.com
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