This is my first post, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading through old threads and I’m hoping someone might be kind enough to help me out.
After working in pizzas as a teenager, I decided in 2011 that I was sick of working for someone else, and I bought a small pizza place. 4 years later, turnover has increased tenfold, and I’ve recently opened a second unit.
Both sites use exactly the same ingredients and recipes, and the same pizza oven, but the dough is very different. The dough at my original site is ever so slightly chewy, with an even, golden crust, but the dough at my new site is extremely airy, the crust isn’t a uniform colour, and it’s not as structured.
I suspect this is down to the dough mixer, but before I spend a fortune on a new one, I want to be sure. The mixer at my second site mixes almost twice as quickly as my original one. Does it sound like this may be my problem?
Yes this could be it. Mixing time and speed is a big factor in dough outcome in my experience. Also, even if it’s the “same oven” model, all ovens are calibrated differently. Could try working with slightly different speeds, temps, or finger placements.
I’ve played with the ovens as much as I possibly can. We had brand new ones delivered to both stores at the same time, and they’re both set to different temperatures and speeds, so I know they’re running perfectly. I think I’ll have to shell out for a slower mixer. I just wanted someone to confirm what I suspected before I spent any cash.
That was something I’d considered, but I didn’t think it’d make a drastic difference. I’m at both stores tomorrow, so I’ll get water from the original one, and try it at the new one to see if it makes a difference.
hopefully you have already done this but if it was me I would take 50 or so dough balls from each location and bring them to the other location to see how they perform. If they still perform the same as they do at the store they were made at, I would next exchange the main person making dough at each location for a shift to see if it’s the person making the dough.
I have to agree with @paul7979 here I have a very strong feeling that the way your dough is being made/handled at your second location is probably your culprit. Have your dough maker from your first location go to your second location and make dough and see if your problem persists. Speed does effect the end product but I dont think that it would cause this effect on your dough I actually think that the faster speed would make your dough more chewy being that it is working the gluten more. Maybe it is also the way your dough is being handled while sheeting.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be put down to different people making the dough. I work both stores on different days of the week, and although I’m aware of a couple of differences caused by staff, the dough is completely different, even when I make it myself.
I’ve just ordered some litmus paper to test the ph levels in the water at each store, and I’ll be taking some water from one store to the other tomorrow to see if that makes a difference.
I genuinely appreciate everyone’s help here. It’s great that there’s a place were complete strangers can come and help each other in the pizza business!
Try this: Note the time it takes the dough in each mixer to just come together into a ball. Make that your mix-time ratio. Reduce the total mixing time on the faster mixer by that ratio. I might even pause the faster mixer in the middle of the mixing to allow the yeast to get working a bit and then finish mixing such that the total time on the fast (balling, 1st 1/2 mix, rest, 2nd 1/2 mix) equals the total time on the slow.
I’m of the mind that the faster mixer is overworking the dough, maybe by a lot if the speeds differ like 1st and 2nd gear do on my mixers.
I like Paul’s idea too for moving dough balls around with the thought that maybe the coolers are running at different temperatures and affecting how the dough cools, proofs and maybe how cold it is when it hits the oven (if you go straight from tossing to oven with no rest?).
Just thought I’d pop back and give you all an update with what I’ve tried.
We’ve had a go at pausing the mixer half way to let the dough rest, and it, unfortunately, made no difference.
I’ve tested the ph levels of the water at both sites (they’re an hour apart), and they’re virtually identical. I’ve even tried taking water from location one to location two and using that. It makes a very slight difference to the dough (staff couldn’t tell the difference, but I could), but it’s looking like it’s definitely not the problem.
My next plan is to take the dough mixer from my original location, and try making a batch at the second location with it. If that works then it looks like I’ll be buying a new mixer.
Sounds to me like it very well could be an oven issue rather than a mixer issue. Same brand and model oven, same time, same thermostat temp does not always yield the same cook. Are you using conveyor ovens or deck ovens? In my triple stack of conveyors(all same brand, model and consecutive serial numbers) I have one oven that has a slightly different hole pattern in the fingers and it cooks very differently than the other two. Before moving a mixer(not sure what size you use but moving mine would be an all day affair for a handful of people) try moving dough made from each store to the other. If dough from store 1 cooks in store 2 like dough made in store 2 it’s going to be an oven issue.
I would do what paul7979 suggests instead of moving mixers. If you really want to test it with site2 stuff, you could just bring water from the second store and mix it there. Then bring the dough back.
I’ve been working on this issue constantly for the past couple of weeks, and I appear to have found my problem. I thought I’d post it here in case anyone else has/had the a similar problem.
The dough mixer at my first location is a generic spiral mixer. I have no idea of the brand or model, I simply inherited it when I bought the business back in 2011. It’s worked day in day out, and given us an excellent, consistent product. The mixer at my second location was bought new when the store opened. It’s made by Italinox, and the bowl speed is roughly 40% faster than my original mixer. The only difference, apart from the bowl speed, is a solid leg that sits in the middle of the bowl and breaks up the dough as it rotates. Last night, I removed the leg, and the dough has come out absolutely perfect! Sadly, I bought another dough mixer a couple of days ago, but I now have a spare, but I finally got to the bottom of my problem, and the pizza I just made tastes just like the pizzas at the other branch.
Thank you to everyone who threw ideas my way and tried to help me. I have tried every single idea, and genuinely appreciate your help.