“Naturally, in this pizza dough, there is flour,” explains François Buche as he fills the bowl with his kneader. But the pizza dough that this teacher-researcher at the UniLaSalle agricultural engineering school is talking about isn’t just any pizza dough… It’s that of the Domino’s brand. “Traditionally, large pizza makers will add improvers to increase the life of the dough,” he continues. Domino’s refused to welcome us to its factory, but we obtained the “Master product” guide distributed to franchisees: it says that the dough pieces can be used up to 5 days after receipt in the store.
“As a comparison, a piece of dough made at home only lasts 24 or 48 hours,” explains our specialist in cereal products. In the school bakery lab, he is challenged to demonstrate the process. He adds, in the form of powders, gluten “to give elasticity to the dough” and a “premix”. “Many improvers are present in such small quantities that you need precision scales to weigh them,” he explains. We can be satisfied with using this type of mixtures already prepared by the suppliers. »
Find all the episodes of our series “Food Checking”
The one that the scientist obtained for our report contains in particular ascorbic acid (also called vitamin C or E300) “to improve the quality of the gluten network”, amylase, “an enzyme which softens the dough” , sugar, salt and starch “which gives crispness”. That’s 7 ingredients. Already one too many compared to the only six ingredients that Domino’s, elsewhere in the guide given to franchisees, prides itself on using. François Buche adds oil, water and yeast to his kneading machine.
He obtains a nice homogeneous pizza dough a few minutes later. Once cut into dough pieces, rested then fermented, it is spread out, garnished and put in the oven. The pizza is immediately placed next to a Queen from Domino’s. “Mine is a little whiter,” admits the man in the blouse about his copy. He tastes the crust of the first. Then the second. “Blind, I think we could be wrong. “We tested ourselves and we confirm it.
Remember that, industrial secret obliges, Domino’s did not give us the composition of its pizza dough. The exercise we have undertaken is therefore hypothetical… but not inconsistent. The confidential documents that we have obtained lead us to think so.
In an expert report on the composition of dough pieces from Domino’s Pizza France, we discover that the preparation does indeed contain gluten and a “premix”. Further down in the PDF document, we learn that this premix is made up of 8 ingredients whose names have, alas, been covered in black.
In an email sent by Domino’s flour supplier and relating to its premix, the name of an ingredient is again censored. But this time, all you have to do is select it, copy it and paste it into a word processor to find that the words appear: “ascorbic acid (E300)”. One clarification, however: these ingredients are not, in themselves, bad for your health. But their accumulation puts Domino’s pizza dough well in the category of ultra-processed foods whose effects are much debated.
But let’s say that, like most consumers, we don’t have information on the composition of the dough? A dietician was asked to compare three brands: Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Napoli Gang by Big Mamma. “We can look at three criteria”, announces Pauline Beriot. First, the acrylamides which are formed during high temperature cooking and which would be carcinogenic. “You just have to look to see if the dough has burned.”
As such, Big Mamma’s regina is worrying: the rind shows many black marks while the other two have a homogeneous golden color.
Criterion number 2: the proportion of crust. After a passage on the scale, we discover that the Domino’s pizza has 21% crust when the Pizza Hut has 29%. “It’s a little more unbalanced because there are more carbohydrates with the crust,” explains the expert. Last criterion: the cells. The denser and tighter it is, the less digestible the crust will be. At stake: risk of bloating.
This time, Big Mamma stands out with a crumb that displays large irregular holes. In the end, after counting the points, Domino’s and Big Mamma, each in its own way, are tied for best. The Pizza Hut would be the least good for health.
The blind pizza test
And in terms of taste? We asked an Italian chef to taste the crusts of these three pizzas. “It’s quite brioche and maybe a little sweet too,” comments Lorenzo Sciabica, head of the Parisian restaurant Pastore, after tasting the crust from the Pizza Hut. As far as I know, pizza isn’t supposed to be sweet. And Big Mamma’s? “It has the smell of wood fire”, he says before tasting. And then: “It makes me want to keep eating it. »
Then comes the turn of Domino’s: “It’s not going at all. » Does it taste like sugar? “Yes, on the finish. But it is much less pronounced than in the first. In the standings, Big Mamma is first.
Contacted by email, the brand told us that it only uses four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast and water. In second place is Pizza Hut. And finally, Domino’s. So should we eat the pizza crust or not? “If it’s a good crust, yes”, simply concludes Lorenzo Sciabica. And if not, before tasting, now you have the keys: look at the cooking, the proportion of dough, the honeycomb… And you can always ask for the list of ingredients. Who knows, maybe you will be answered?