What brocho does one make on pizza?
By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a
1. Baked goods made of dough that is filled with sweet ingredients, such as sugar, cocoa, nuts etc’, are usually made for snacking or “pleasurable eating”. This deems the baked goods as “filled baked-goods” (פת כיסנין) or, literally, “pocket baked goods”. The brocho of פת כיסנין is בורא מיני מזונות
The brocho remains ‘mezonos’ even if the dough itself is unsweetened, or if there isn’t an actual separate filling. The same halacha will apply to a layer of dough that sweets were place upon it and baked together.
2. If the פת כיסנין was filled with meat, fish, or cheese or anything that makes it obvious that the baked goods were made to satisfy an appetite (עשויים להשביע) i.e. served as meal, the proper brocho isn’t clear. Some say it should be המוציא – (Hamotzi) even if you eat just a little bit of it – while others contend it remains ‘mezonos’.
Theמשנה ברורה (Misnah Berura) paskens that the brocho should be המוציא unless is it obviously a snack.
Since Pizza is usually eaten as a meal (להשביע) it brocho should then be המוציא
3. Some pizzas are kneaded with milk of fruit juice instead of water. This, as mentioned above, should have rendered it as פת כיסנין but this is far from clear.
Theמישנה ברורה and many halachic authorities pasken that the milk or juice must change the taste in a dominant way (such as the dough of a cake). We all know that in pizza this is not the case at all.
4. Furthermore, even baked goods that could be rendered פת כיסנין (they are filled or kneaded with sweets), if they were made for substantial eating – or that that is the ordinary way to eat them – such baked goods have the status of complete bread!
The reason for this is this as follows:
The whole ‘mezonos’ status is a type of “legal clause”. Originally, all grain-flour baked goods should be המוציא. But since some foods are made to just snack on, their brocho is ‘mezonos’. However, the minute they are eaten as a meal that clause doesn’t apply any more.
And so, even if we take all the lenient opinions – those that contends that cheese filling renders pizza a פת כיסנין… AND those that contend that kneading the dough in liquids other than water renders it פת כיסנין – still, if the food is eaten as meal, the brocho is המוציא!
According to this, if one obviously eats the pizza as a snack, the lenient opinions can be relied upon and the brocho can be ‘mezonos’.
5. It should be clear that even a full-fledged פת כיסנין, such as cake or a Danish, if it is eaten as meal requires washing, המוציא and ברכת המזון.
Without getting into the full definition of “what is a meal”, the rule of thumb is simple:
If one eats the baked goods instead of the regular meal, or in a quantity of a regular meal, the brocho is in the categorically המוציא.
The Law In Practice:
¨ If you eat a small amount of pizza for pleasure, the brocho can be ‘mezonos’ no matter what the pizza was kneaded with.
¨ If you eat the pizza as a meal (as in “tonight we’re eating pizza”) even in small quantity (one slice for a grown up and half a slice for a child ) the brocho is המוציא.
¨ If the pizza dough was kneaded in milk or fruit juice it is possible to be lenient when eating a small quantity. But if the dough was kneaded with water, leniency is problematic.
¨ If one eats the amount ofקביעות סעודה (proper meal amounting to two slices for a grown up and a slice for a child) is has the status of complete bread, requiring a נטילת ידים,,המוציא and בירכת המזון. (Washing of the hands before the meal, the Brocho of “Hamotzi” and Bircas Hamazon).
As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you are unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).