Pepperoni shortage strikes small pizza places across the US: report

Pepperoni lovers may have to learn to be OK with plain pizza for a bit. Various shortages have struck during the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from toilet paper (which was caused by panic buying during the early days), coins, and even aluminum cans. Now, pepperoni has apparently fallen victim to the pandemic. Pizza shops across the United States say they’re paying higher prices for the popular topping and have noticed that the supply has become tighter, Bloomberg reports. Restaurants from New York to South Dakota have reportedly seen a significant increase in price, with the cost nearly doubling in some areas. According to the news outlet, other meat products saw temporary price increases during the pandemic. While ground beef became more expensive earlier in the year, the price has reportedly started to drop. Pepperoni, on the other hand, continues to be expensive. R-Pizza in Vermillion, South Dakota, told Bloomberg that supply issues forced the restaurant to change suppliers for the first time in nine years. There are apparently two factors causing the shortage. The first is that pork processors have had to deal with a reduced number of workers during the pandemic. Pepperoni is reportedly a complicated meat product to make, so some suppliers have reduced the amount being produced. The other possible reason is that the demand for pizza has risen during the lockdowns and pandemic. With more people staying home for dinner, many families are apparently ordering the popular delivery food (with a significant number requesting pepperoni as a topping). So far, larger chains have not been impacted by the pepperoni shortage, as they buy ingredients through long term contracts, Bloomberg reports. Matthew Hyland, the owner of New York City’s Emily, explained to Bloomberg why the restaurant hasn’t raised the cost of its pizza. He said, “It’s an American right to have pepperoni on pizza. Pepperoni is such a huge part of pizza it’s important to us that we keep it accessible.”

How to make perfect homemade pizza dough

Making your own pizza dough is relatively easy but takes a little time to perfect. (You might not toss and twirl your dough around like chefs on TV during your first pizza-making attempt.) Basic pizza dough recipes call for yeast, warm water, flour, salt and olive oil. Some recipes call for the addition of sugar or honey, while others say it is not a necessary ingredient. According to, you can speed up the rising process by placing the dough in a warm place, but you are already taking the time to make the dough from scratch, so let it rise naturally. This should take between one and two hours, so keep an eye on it to determine when it has expanded to the proper size. You can preheat your oven as the dough rises. To shape the dough ball, place on a lightly floured wooden board and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Press into a flat, pancake-like shape. Lay it on top of one fist and then gently stretch the dough by placing your other fist underneath, pulling and rotating. You can also use a rolling pin. Decide how thick or thin you want the crust to be, and you are on your way to a delicious pizza pie. Pizza dough will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, leaving it room to rise in the fridge. You can also freeze the dough and keep it in the freezer for several months. According to, the use of high-gluten flour, sometime called bread flour, is key to achieving the proper elasticity in your pizza dough. Eating Well has an easy recipe for whole wheat pizza dough that uses a mix of whole-wheat flour, bread flour and cornmeal.

To see the recipe, click on the text above.  Cheers!    🙂

Italy Running Out of Pizza Makers

There is nothing more characteristically Italian than pizza, and yet Italy is suffering from a dramatic drop in pizza makers, with young Italians less and less interested in the trade. Now it is estimated that more than 2 out of every 5 pizza makers are foreigners, and there are some 6,000 vacant posts for pizza makers in the country’s restaurants. According to data from Italy’s Accademia Pizzaioli—or Academy of Pizza Makers—there are some 100,000 permanent workers in the pizza field, plus another 50,000 weekend workers. Of these, 65,000 are Italian, with the remaining 35,000 made up principally of Egyptians (20,000) and Moroccans (over 10,000). In response, Italy has chosen Neapolitan pizza as its sole candidate for protection under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list for the 2015-2016 cycle. The Italian National Commission for UNESCO decided to recognize “the art of Neapolitan pizza makers” in tribute to their culinary skills and their place in the world’s gastronomic traditions. The list “is composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and states parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive,” according to the UNESCO website. Naples is determined to maintain its reputation as the spiritual home of one of the world’s favorite foods. Neapolitan pizza is distinguished by its thicker dough cooked in wood-burning ovens, by the crunchy but tender consistency of its crust, and by its lightly acidic tomato taste, along with the addition of oregano, garlic, basil and fresh mozzarella. The dearth of Italian pizza makers is symptomatic of a broader cultural trend, with Italians losing interest in traditional trades, especially manual jobs, which are being filled more and more by foreigners. Along with pizza makers, Italy is also suffering from a lack of carpenters, nurses, electricians and even tailors. Economists say that part of the problem is that Italian schools are not preparing students for this kind of work, but a deeper cause is cultural: these jobs have lost their prestige.

How sad is that?