Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Guest Post

GUEST POST: On thriftiness and pizza

Everyone loves pizza, right? And with good reason – it’s delicious and it’s fairly cheap as far as takeaway options go. As a poor, starving Masters student, I probably love pizza more than most people my age. It’s kind of obligatory for uni students, you know? Anyway, what seems like a cheap meal can add up quickly, especially if you’re ordering pizza once a week. (I once had a more or less unemployed housemate who ate takeaway pizza five nights a week. I STILL have no idea how he paid for it…)

Making pizza from scratch may seem too much like hard work – not to mention giving the impression of being time consuming – but it’s surprisingly easy, and pizza dough freezes really well. Which means that you can make one batch, use part of it, and freeze the rest for the following weeks!

I crunched some numbers to compare the costs of making a pizza from scratch. I used Hawaiian for this example, as it’s something that’s available from pretty much every pizza place, which makes it easy to compare costs. All prices are as per my local Coles, and for extra thriftiness I used homebrand products where possible.

Hawaiian Pizza 

Makes 4 individual thin crust pizzas.

7g sachet (or 2 teaspoons) dried yeast. (51.8c)
2.5 cups plain flour. (35c)
1 teaspoon salt. (0.59c)
1 teaspoon caster sugar. (0.81c)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. (22c)
1 cup warm water. (A fraction of a cent?)

Pizza sauce ($2.12 for 200g)
Pizza cheese ($6.03 for 500g)
Tinned pineapple ($1.20 for 440g – including juice)
Ham ($3.79 for 100g)

    • Combine yeast and caster sugar with warm water (it needs to be warm, not hot, or it’ll kill the yeast). Cover and set in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
    • Place sifted flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add yeasty water stuff, and stir until it’s a shaggy looking dough. Dump it out on to a floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until smooth.
    • Coat the inside of a mixing bowl with the olive oil. Place dough in bowl, turn to coat with oil. Put in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. Divide into four and roll out on floured surface to required size.
    • Either wrap dough portions in cling film and freeze until required, or add toppings and bake at 220 degrees C for 15 minutes.

Total cost for four pizzas: $14.24 ($1.10 for dough* plus $13.14 for toppings).

Total cost per pizza: $3.56.

For comparison purposes, Crust charge $13 for a medium Hawaiian pizza, plus $2 for delivery; Pizza Hut charge $9.95 if you order online, plus $8 for delivery. You also have to add a tip for the delivery guy on top of that, unless you’re a bit of a dickhead. Sure, you can avoid the delivery cost and the tip by going to pick it up. But then you have to start the car and that uses petrol, which costs money. Plus, your car will smell like pizza for the next week. And who really wants that?!

So give it a go. It’s not as hard as you’d think, and over the course of a year, an extra $10 in your pocket every week adds up pretty quickly!

K xx

*You need some extra flour for when you knead and roll out the dough, but at 95c per kilo, it’s hardly going to break the bank!

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