By Rabbi Moishe D. Lebovits. Very often, when walking into a pizza store one is faced with many questions regarding the proper beracha to make on the foods offered for sale. For example, is one slice of pizza a meal (which would require a hamotzei) or a snack (which would require a mezonos)? Is one always required to wash on two slices? What about square slices, calzones, garlic knots or cheese pretzels? In this issue all these questions will be addressed along with many other issues of kevias seuda.
Pashtida is dough which is made with water (not juice, etc) and contains a topping on or in the dough. The Shulchan Aruch says “pashtida” requires a hamotzei if it is baked in an oven and contains meat, fish or cheese, even if one is not koveah seuda on it since it is considered a “meal food” and not a “snack food.” The Rama says this is only true where the “pashtida” is baked. If the pashtida was baked with liquid then it should only be eaten during a bread meal since its beracha status is unclear.
There is a dispute in the poskim if the meat, fish and cheese filling mentioned by the Shulchan Aruch only refers to meat, fish or cheese. The Magen Avraham holds that the Shulchan Aruch is referring to any other ingredient that is added to give satiation, not only meat, fish and cheese. According to this the beracha on such foods would be hamotzei. However, according to the Taz, the beracha for dough made with anything besides meat or fish is mezonos since he learns the Shulchan Aruch is referring only to these ingredients. Most poskim follow the opinion of the Magen Avraham, although other poskim hold like the Taz.
Pizza – a Meal Food or a Snack Food?
Since most pizza is made from dough which is mostly water, we must determine if pizza is a meal food and subject to the rules of pashtida or a snack food and subject to the rules of pas haba b’kisnin (see discussion later on in this issue). This is a difficult task since many people consider pizza as a meal while others consider it as a snack. In fact, after many pizza shop owners were interviewed some said pizza is a snack food and others held it is a meal food. Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l said in Eretz Yisroel pizza is eaten as a meal, while in America it may be eaten as a meal or a snack making its status dependant on the person’s intention while eating it. The custom is to treat pizza as a snack food subject to the rules of pas haba b’kisnin.
According to the opinion followed by a minority of people, pizza is treated as a meal food, since it is regarded as a form of pashtida which is made with cheese instead of meat or fish. Therefore, according to the Magen Avraham the beracha on pizza is always hamotzei, even if one only eats a small piece. However, according to the Taz the beracha on pizza would still be a mezonos unless one ate the shiur of kevias seuda. The custom of many Sefardim is in accordance with those poskim who maintain that pizza is a meal food which requires a hamotzei despite its cheese filling. Those who follow this custom recite a hamotzei even on a small piece of pizza. The minhag among Ashkenazim is to recite a mezonos due to its cheese filling unless one eats the shiur of kevias seuda. Some poskim maintain that a G-d fearing person should only eat pizza during a bread meal.
Pizza Made with Fruit Juice
The Shulchan Aruch says (based on the opinion of the Rambam) if dough is kneaded with honey, milk or fruit juice, and the fruit juice is still recognizable in the bread, the beracha on the bread is mezonos (unless one eats the shiur kevias seuda). The Rama disagrees and says such dough is still called “bread” and the beracha is hamotzei unless there is a lot of fruit juice or spices, in which case the beracha would be mezonos. The Mishnah Berurah, as well as many other poskim, maintain that the fruit juice, etc has to be most of the mixture, and one has to actually taste it in the bread in order for the beracha to be a mezonos. Others say that although it does not have to be most of the mixture, it needs to be a lot. Some say since the sauce in the pizza goes into the dough it is considered to be kneaded with other juices and therefore the pizza would be mezonos unless one eats the shiur kevias seuda. However, l’maseh this cannot be relied upon since the metziahs is that the sauce is not absorbed into the dough.
Most pizza stores make their pizza dough using mostly water, although, some make it with apple juice, etc. Nonetheless, since most times one can not taste the apple juice the presence of the apple juice would not make the pizza mezonos.
Accordingly, most pizza is subject to the discussion above concerning its meal status and, possibly, the dispute of the Magen Avraham and Taz. However, pizza which one can tell is made from a sweet dough would require a mezonos unless one eats the shiur of kevias seuda.
There are two methods which are commonly used to manufacture frozen pizza. One method is to bake the dough without any cheese or toppings etc on it, and after the dough has become bread-like and hard all the cheese and sauce are put on it. The beracha on such pizza is hamotzei because the crust is real bread before the ingredients were added to it. Such pizza has nothing to do with the above discussion regarding dough and other ingredients which were baked together. However, most frozen pizza is prepared using the second method in which regular pizza is simply frozen and packaged. Such frozen pizza would have the same din as regular pizza.
L’maseh, before eating frozen pizza one has to know whether it was frozen after being baked with all its ingredients (like regular pizza) or the dough was baked first. One can tell the difference by looking at the frozen pizza. If the cheese looks like it is in pieces then the dough was baked first and the cheese was added after. However, if the cheese looks like it is melted into the dough then it is regular pizza that was frozen.
Square (Sicilian) Pizza
Since square pizza is made by first baking the dough and then adding the cheese, etc. its beracha is always hamotzei, although many people are not aware of this and recite a mezonos. This only applies if the pizza dough is mostly made with water. However, if the dough is made with apple juice or milk, see the discussion above.
Garlic knots are made from regular pizza dough, oil and spices which are then baked together. Since l’maseh the added amount of oil and spices make the dough sweet, the beracha is mezonos. Furthermore, garlic knots are a snack food not a meal food. One who made a mezonos should be careful to eat less than the amount of a seuda.
A calzone is an Italian turnover made of pizza dough stuffed with different foods (usually cheese and vegetables) which are all baked together. The beracha on a calzone is hamotzei since it is a meal food and one has the shiur seuda even by eating one calzone. Although many people are not aware of this and assume the beracha is mezonos, this is not the case.
A cheese pretzel is made with pizza dough and cheese baked together. The beracha is hamotzei because it is a meal food.
A Chicago pizza is made with regular pizza dough which is filled with cheese etc and has a second layer of dough placed on top. This type of pizza has the same din as a regular slice of pizza, and is subject to the discussion above.
A pizza roll is made with pizza dough and pizza ingredients and then deep fried. The beracha is mezonos because the deep frying makes the product lose its status as a bread product.
Introduction to Kevias Seuda
Pas haba b’kisnin is food made from flour and baked in an oven in a very similar manner to bread. Although for bread one is always obligated to wash and bentch, on pas haba b’kisnin a hamotzei is only recited if one eats a shiur kevias seuda. One who eats a shiur kevias seuda of pas haba b’kisnin is required to wash and bentch since by eating such a large amount of the mezonos it is transformed from a snack food to a meal food.
Only mezonos classified as pas haba b’kisnin is subject to the rules of shiur kevias seuda. Lukshin, noodles, and kugel are not considered pas haba b’kisnin and one may eat an amount larger than a shiur kevias seuda without washing or bentching.
Different Definitions for Pas Haba B’kisnin
Pie: One definition of pas haba b’kisnin is dough that is formed into a pocket and filled with nuts or fruit. This is commonly known as pie. Since such items are eaten as a snack, their beracha is mezonos. In order for the pie to be mezonos, the filling has to significantly alter the taste of the crust. Cake: Another definition of pas haba b’kisnin is dough that is sweetened (the flour is kneaded with a sweet liquid, i.e. apple juice or honey). This is known as cake. Since it is very sweet it is eaten as a snack and the beracha is mezonos. (Pizza made with fruit juice which can be tasted in the crust may fall into this category). Crackers: The third category of pas haba b’kisnin is dough baked to a degree that it becomes very hard and thin. This food is commonly known as a cracker. Although it is made with the ingredients of bread because of its texture it is considered a snack food and not a meal food.
One who eats a large amount of pas haba b’kisnin is required to wash and bentch since he has transformed it from a snack food to a meal food. The amount of food that has to be eaten to achieve this change in status (from mezonos to hamotzei) is called the shiur kevias seuda. The shiur kevias seuda does not depend on an individual’s intention. Rather the shiur is determined to be the amount of food that will satisfy an average person. One who eats this amount of food is required to wash and bentch even if he himself has no intention of being koveah seuda. Conversely, one who eats less than this amount would not wash and bentch even if he did have intention to be koveah seuda.
For example, one who eats four slices of pizza as a “snack” would have to wash and bentch since this amount is definitely considered to be more than the average person would eat at a regular meal. One who eats a half a slice of pizza for lunch does not have to wash and bentch even though the half a slice is serving as his entire meal.
One who began eating with the intention of having less than the shiur kevias seuda and then he changed his mind and decided to eat more than the shiur must stop and wash netiylas yudayim and make hamotzei before continuing to eat. After he has finished eating, he is also required to bentch.
There are many different shitos regarding the amount of food which is the shiur of kevias seuda. One opinion is to measure the amount of bread one would eat at a regular meal, and then substitute pas haba b’kisnin for the bread. This shiur would be different for women, children and older people who tend to eat less. Other poskim say the shiur of kevias seuda is an amount of pas haba b’kisnin equal to the volume of three or four eggs. Others require an amount equal to six eggs, or twenty-one eggs. Although many poskim say one can rely on the lenient shiur (3-4 eggs), one should try not to eat more than the volume of three or four eggs of pas haba b’kisnin so as not to place himself in a questionable situation where he may be obligated to wash and bentch.
Pas Haba B’kisnin eaten with Other Foods
The Magen Avraham says one who eats pas haba b’kisnin together with other foods would have to eat less of the pas haba b’kisnin to be required to wash and bentch. This is only where one is eating the pas haba b’kisnin as a meal and not for dessert. For example, one who eats a full meal (without washing or bentching) would not have to wash for a piece of cake served as dessert.
Some poskim argue with the Magen Avraham and hold that other food is not counted towards the shiur of kevias seuda and one would only be required to wash and bentch if the required shiur of pas haba b’kisnin was eaten alone. Others say the Magen Avraham only counts foods which are the derech to be eaten with mezonos (such as meat) as part of the shiur kevias seuda, but not other dishes. 
Some say in order for the other food to be included in the shiur kevias seuda it has to be eaten together with the pas haba b’kisnin the cake etc. and then the other food, while others argue with this. Some poskim say the shiur kevias seuda above (3-4 eggs) refers to the amount of flour that must be eaten, and not to the volume of the cake itself.  According to this opinion the other ingredients, such as sugar, eggs, cocoa, etc, would not count towards the shiur of kevias seuda, while others argue with this.
Some say the dinim of shiur kevias seuda only applies where one eats crackers with other foods and not cake because it is not the derech to eat a meal of just cake, while others argue with this.
Big holes in the cake etc are not counted towards the shiur of kevias seuda, while small holes are included.
Some poskim suggest reciting an al hamichyah on the pas haba b’kisnin foods before eating other foods and in this way the other foods will not be counted towards the shiur of kevias seuda.
Many times at a kiddush or smorgasbord, one is served many types of cookies, cakes and crackers which will be eaten with the fish, kugel, cholent, etc. Such cake is considered a snack, but one who eats a shiur kevias seuda in this situation would be required to wash and bentch. Some say one who eats the cake first and then the other food may eat the cake without counting the other food towards the shiur seuda. Furthermore, many poskim say since it is not the derech to eat cake instead of bread, it is not counted toward the shiur kevias seuda. The Aruch Ha’shulchan says the fact that people will be eating while standing etc. unlike the way one eats at a regular meal is proof that this is not called being koveah seuda. This reasoning is no longer pertinent today as most people sit at a kiddush. Nonetheless, many gedolim disapproved of these arguments and a G-d fearing person should avoid eating more than a minimum amount of cake in this manner. In a case where one is going to eat an enormous amount of food at a kiddush it is praiseworthy for the ba’al hakiddush to give rolls to the guests so they can wash on bread before eating the food at a kiddush, etc.
One who eats cake and milk for breakfast and unintentionally reaches the shiur kevias seuda is not obligated to bentch, since the cake is not eaten as a meal but in order to undo his hunger. One who intentionally sits down to eat a large meal of cake, etc. at breakfast would be obligated to wash and bentch if he eats the shiur kevias seuda.
Pizza: How Many Slices is a Seuda?
When eating pizza one is faced with the question of how many slices would constitute a shiur kevias seuda to require washing and bentching?
Many poskim say that even one slice of pizza is a meal for which one is required to wash and bentch. Others say the shiur is two slices, while others say that two slices would only constitute a meal if they are eaten with something else, such as a knish. As mentioned above, there is a dispute if pizza is a meal food or a snack food. Therefore, one should decide why he is eating the pizza: if it is for a snack, then he should wash and bentch if he plans on eating more than two slices, and if he is eating it as a meal then he should wash even on one slice.
Borekas are made with dough and a filling of potato. This item is mezonos even though it may be included in the dispute mentioned above regarding “pashtida” since there is a lot of margarine in the dough it is considered a sweet food whose beracha is mezonos unless one eats a shiur kevias seuda of them. Some say in Eretz Yisroel small borekas which are not eaten as a meal are mezonos, and big ones which are eaten as a meal are hamotzei. In most places the minhag is like the first opinion quoted, and one should recite a mezonos unless he eats the shiur kevias seuda.
 The word is probably pastida since it comes from the word pasta, but people call it pashtida. (Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita).
 O.C. 168:17, Levush 17, Aruch Ha’shulchan 50.
 Mishnah Berurah 94, Aruch Ha’shulchan ibid.
 Ibid. See Shulchan Aruch Harav 10, Chai Adom 54:5, Kaf Ha’chaim 137.
 O.C. 168:44.
 20. Refer to Be’er Heitiv 36. The Sheiros Yosef pages 296-297:footnote 1 says if the cheese etc is on top of the dough (like pizza) then even the Taz would hold like the Magen Avraham that the beracha is hamotzei. This difference is not quoted by any other poskim.
 A frank in blanket would be hamotzei since it is like a “pashtida.” However, since it is not eaten as a meal the beracha is mezonos (Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita).
 Refer to Elya Rabbah 33, Mishnah Berurah 94, Kaf Ha’chaim 137, Opinion of Horav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Vezos Ha’beracha page 216.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch Harav 17, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 48:2, Biur Halacha “pashtida.” The Ben Ish Chai Pinchus 1:20 says a mezonos is recited because of a sofek who the halacha follows.
 Rivevos Ephraim 4:51:page 123, 7:68, Pnei Ha’shulchan pages 62-63, Kovetz Bais Aaron V’Yisroel 42:page 119, Modanei Osher 2:pages 60-62, Opinion of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l, Horav Sheinberg Shlita, and Horav Shternbuch Shlita quoted in Vezos Ha’beracha page 23, Opinion of Horav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Vezos Ha’beracha pages 216-217.
 Opinion of Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, Vezos Ha’beracha page 23, see ibid:page 217.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita in Mesora Journal 1:pages 40-41.
 V’sein Beracha page 500:footnote 47.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Biur Halacha “pashtida.”
 Ohr L’tzyion 2:12:5:footnote 5.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Mesora ibid.
 Shevet Ha’kehusi 4:57.
 168:7, see Bais Yosef, Bach, Elya Rabbah 14.
 Hilchos Berochos 3:9.
 168:7, see Darchei Moshe 20, Levush 6.
 168:33, 34, see Mishnah Berurah 168:29-31, Taz 7, Be’er Heitiv 11, Aruch Ha’shulchan 23.
 Shulchan Aruch Harav 11,Yalkut Yosef 168:12, Chai Moshe page 77.
 Aruch Ha’shulchan 22, Orchos Rabbeinu 1:59:page 79, see Piskei Teshuvos 168:10 in depth.
 Vezos Ha’beracha page 345:10 in the name of Horav Elyashiv Shlita and Horav Shternbuch Shlita.
 Sharei Ha’beracha page 655. Refer to Chazzon Ovadia (Tu B’shevat) page 60:4:footnote 2 in depth.
 Pnei Ha’shulchan pages 60-62, Shevet Ha’kehusi 4:57.
 Mesora ibid.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita. In regard to some kashrus issues with frozen pizza refer to the OU website.
 The same is true for pizza which is made by placing tomato sauce etc on pita bread which is commonly served in Yeshivos.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see The Laws of Brachos (Forst) page 361.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch 168:7.
 Mishnah Berurah 23. Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 6:pages 219-220.
 Vezos Ha’beracha page 28.
 Shulchan Aruch 168:7.
 Refer to Mishnah Berurah 168:28, 33, Shar Ha’tzyion 28.
 Shulchan Aruch 168:7.
 Shulchan Aruch ibid.
 Shulchan Aruch 168:6.
 Shulchan Aruch ibid, see Mishnah Berurah 23-25.
 Refer to Piskei Teshuvos 168:footnote 29 who says today it is very hard to know what the shiur seuda is because we have snacks etc and we eat according to our mood.
 Mishnah Berurah 24, Shar Ha’tyzion 19, Aruch Ha’shulchan 16. Refer to Sharei Ha’beracha 16:59:footnote 131.
 Biur Halacha “af al pi,” V’sein Beracha page 488:footnote 24.1:quoting the opinion of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l, The Laws of Brachos page 251.
 Elya Rabbah 17, Machtzis Ha’shekel 168:13, Rav Akiva Eiger 168, Kaf Ha’chaim 45, Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 9:pages 222-226.
 Shulchan Aruch Harav 168:8.
 Shulchan Aruch Harav 8, Aruch Ha’shulchan 16.
 Refer to Zichron Yehuda 1:82.
 Refer to Ben Ish Chai Pinchus 1:19, Mishnah Berurah 24, Igros Moshe O.C. 3:32, Shevet Ha’Levi 7:25:1, Bais Avi 5:9, Vezos Ha’beracha page 31, birur halacha 8:pages 221-222. Horav Elyashiv Shlita holds one who eats less than the volume of four eggs may make an al hamichyah (V’sein Beracha page 488:footnote 24, see page 490:footnote 28).
 168:13, see Elya Rabbah ibid, Mishnah Berurah 24, Shulchan Hatohar 168:3.
 Birchei Yosef 168:6, Kaf Ha’chaim 47, Yabea Omer O.C. 8:22:21, Pnei Ha’shulchan page 23.
 Chai Moshe 2:page 273, Shraga Hameir 1:33, see Pnei Ha’shulchan pages 21-22. Refer to Lehoros Nosson 7:8-9, V’sein Beracha page 491:footnote 28.1. Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 7:pages 220-221.
 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchoso 54:footnote 132, Chazzon Ish O.C. 34:4, Rivevos Ephraim 8:398, Ohr L’tyzion 2:12:2, Emes L’Yaakov 168:footnote 196, Sharei Ha’beracha 16:footnote 138, Vezos Ha’beracha page 32.
 Igros Moshe ibid, 4:41, Rivevos Ephraim 8:398, Bais Avi 2:9.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch Harav 8, Aruch Ha’shulchan 17, Kaf Ha’chaim 42, Chazzon Ish O.C. 26:8, Igros Moshe O.C. 1:71, Shevet Ha’kehusi 2:93:1, Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 80:61 in the name of the Chazzon Ish.
 Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha page 32:footnote 24, page 37.
 Pnei Ha’shulchan page 23, see V’sein Beracha page 261:footnote 6.1, page 491:footnote 29.1.
 Igros Moshe ibid, Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 57:pages 340:1-340:5.
 Refer to Mishnah Berurah 210:1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 202:9, 210:1, Birchos Habayis 16:10, Vezos Ha’beracha page 36. See Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 89:95.
 The Laws of Brachos page 248, Vezos Ha’beracha pages 36, 207-208, 349:36.
 Piskei Teshuvos 168:6, Sharei Ha’beracha 16:footnote 138, Vezos Ha’beracha page 33 quoting the opinion of Horav Elyashiv Shlita. Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha page 34. Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 37:pages 229-302 on different ways to avoid eating a shiur seuda.
 Avnei Yushfei 3:16:6.
 Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha pages 218-219:5 on the topic if one may eat a shiur seuda of Yerushalmi Kugel.
 Refer to Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchoso 54:footnote 65.
 Vezos Ha’beracha pages 35, 220-221.
 Refer to Pnei Ha’shulchan page 26.
 Refer to Pnei Ha’shulchan 23.
 168:18. Refer to Toras Chaim 168:15, Hesoreros Teshuva 1:80.
 Refer to Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:182 who says since one is not full from the pas haba b’kisnin he does not have to bentch. (See Rivevos Ephraim 5:158 who says the same point).
 Aruch Ha’shulchan ibid. The same halacha applies to a smorgasbord at a wedding (Pischei Halacha 8:footnote 55).
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha pages 29, 222-226 in depth.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Vezos Ha’beracha pages 216-217 quoting the opinion of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l and Horav Elyashiv Shlita, see Pischei Halacha 8:25. The Sefer K’zayis Hasholom page 71 says one slice of pizza has 8-9 k’zaysim so one would have to wash and bentch according to everyone. On buying a slice of pizza and not a whole pie in regard to being a shaleim see Avnei Yushfei 3:21:8.
 Opinion of Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, Vezos Ha’beracha page 24, Chai Moshe page 283, see Bais Avi 5:7-12.
 Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita. Refer to Kashrus Kurrents from the Star-K.
 Mesora ibid.
 V’sein Beracha page 494, Binyan Sholom page 222, Pnei Ha’shulchan page 64.
 Vezos Ha’beracha page 340:3, Avnei Yushfei 5:30:4.
 Vezos Ha’beracha birur halacha 40:pages 308-310, Sharei Ha’beracha 16:47:footnote 70, also see page 523.
Rabbi Moishe D. Lebovits, a musmach of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. Currently he serves as a Rabbinical Administrator for KOF-K Kosher Supervision. Halachically Speaking is a monthly publication seen by tens of thousands around the world. For Halachically Speaking seforim see www.israelbookshoppublications.com For other articles and to subscribe for free see thehalacha.com To contact Rabbi Lebovits, please email [email protected]