Dough Balling vs. portion as-you-go

We’re going to be light on cooler space upon opening so I am looking for a way to save some precious 37 degree real estate. Instead of balling up the dough into crust sized balls, what about filling half of a plastic container (7 gal?) with dough and taking these larger portions out of the cooler an hour or so before use and portioning on the fly?

I know some use the big trash can method but I am looking to do the same with smaller portions to avoid the end of the day dough “wear out”. Any advice appreciated. Looking to save space, but NOT sacrifice quality.



Mike, when I had my shop, that’s what I used. I think the trash cans were in the 11-15 gallon variety (round white ones). The prep time per skin was VERY high. First, you have to ball the dough, run it through a sheeter, cut off the excess, etc. Alternatively, having it balled up in the right size, you can just run a scraper under the dough, flour it up and run it through. The weight is right, so there’s no cutting. The plus side with pre-made doughballs is that your labor is done during non-peak times. When you go with the bucket method, your labor is more intensive when you can least afford it.

Of course I didn’t make St. Louis style pizza either. If you want a raised edge, the cutting method doesn’t work – you pretty much have to use the pre-made dough balls.

I am looking to do hand tossed, none of that cracker stuff here! :slight_smile:

Was not planning to use a sheeter, just roll into a small circle and start slapping. I agree with the labor comment. Might have to figure out something else on the dough front.

You might take all day slapping out your pizzas. Without pre-formed dough balls it is going to be hard to make aq dough ball and slap it out right after forming. It was even hard to get a sheeter to roll out dough balls that had been freshly formed because of the elasticity of the dough.

One place I worked for back in college did nearly that type of system thoguh. They took the dough, let it rise in big tubs, and then ran a few pounds through a huge sheeter, getting it to the proper thickness and then just cutting out circles using a template, and stacking them using wax paper. They stacked the shells in the make line and used them right out of the cooler.

One other thing about storing 7 gal in the cooler is that you are going to have a long time before the center of the dough gets down to 37 degrees, so it will ferment considerably longer than the dough on the outside. This will create an inconsistancy in both the dough and the final flavor.

We use a method similar to what you are considering simply because of space limitations. E.g. I will make batches of dough (6-7#) and turn in to a plastic storage container with a lid. Put the bulk batch into the walk-in and let it sit over night (I know there is some scientific name for this) then take it out in the a.m. By the time you need to use the dough it will be ready. Just grab a handful, weigh it off and throw it. And believe me, your customers will appreciate the fact that you are making their pies fresh to order.
We make 2-3 of each in advance on our busy nights and the rest of the time we make the shells as we need them… we are the talk of the town right now because of our pies… hope this helps and ghood luck.