dough press...

I’m considering getting a dough press. My emps suck at pushing out consistently even 18" pies . I know that’s because I suck at training them, but I have to pick my battles at this point in my biz… Anyhow, I checked out the Doughpro line at Pizza Expo but couldn’t really get a feel for it there on the expo floor. Restocking fees are high or else I’d just get one and send it back if i hated it…

It seems tricky to get the dough off of the bottom platen. Like it might be sticky. Am I wrong here? It also seems hard to transfer the skin from the platen to a screen/peel. Also the reps say that the heated setup will cut my bake times down by minutes, which seems like an exaggerated claim. Does the dough have any rise in the oven at all after being pneumatically squeezed to death? We do 12" and 18" pies. Without using a mold I have to tweak my dough ball weights to get the desired thickness from both sizes right? Anyone have any experience with the “DoughXpress” line? Our dough recipe is already pretty well inline with what dough doctor suggests for using one of these things sans the PZ44.

I tried asking the Doughpro folks alot of these questions at Expo and on the phone, but they didn’t have much to offer. It was pretty obvious that none of the people I talked to have any experience working a line in a busy pizzeria, or didn’t think I was serious or something.

Anyhow, any input is welcome! Thanks y’all!!

Have you read my article on the different dough forming techniques? If not you really should as it will give you a look at how the different forming techniques produce finished crusts with different physical characteristics.
To begin, you will want to have a soft and extensible dough, this means maybe a little more absorption, a reducing agent such as PZ-44 or “dead yeast”. The temperature of the press head will be about 250F, with a 7-second dwell time. Hot pressing the dough WILL NOT reduce the baking time of the pizza. The dough ball should be lightly oiled when you place it onto the platten. When you have your dough tuned in it will press out into a near perfect circle, yes, as you remove it from the platten it will become slightly mis-shapen but it is easy to adjust back to a circle when placing it on a screen or disk. The easiest way to address any problems with shape is through adjustment of the dough absorption. As for degassing the dough, press forming just redistributes the gas forming many more smaller gas bubbles, while sheeting a thin crust to full diameter will come pretty close to degassing the dough to give you a finished crust that looks more like a giant poker chip than a pizza crust. One other thing, you don’t need to use a really high gluten/protein content flour when press forming, instead use a flour with 11 to not more that 12% protein content. The higher the protein content of the flour the more problems you will experience with dough memory/snap-back at the press.
I hope this sheds a little light on the subject.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’d go with a dough sheeter over a press any day

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Mr. Lehmann has discussed at length about using a sheeter to get a dough ball started, and finished with a hand stretch.
IMHO, a sheeter has many more uses than a press will have,
we have a sheeter that was in the property that we had purchased, we use it occasionally when that one person out of about 300 requests a “Super-Thin” and when I have a noob that I am trying to teach how to open a ball (Thanks to Mr Lehmann for that helpful nugget)

Our clients prefer the sheeter over the Press by a vast margin.
George Mills

The dough press does only one thing, it presses a dough that has been specially formulated and managed for pressing to a very uniform shape and thickness (exactly what is desired in some applications), such as the “new” fast casual pizza concept, and some thick crust/deep-dish pan style pizza applications. What it does not do very well is handle doughs that are dry or tough (like cracker crust doughs) or make extremely thin dough skins, or doughs that will be hand tossed or have a pronounced raised edge. Everything has it’s place, nothing is right for every application.
Some common myths about the hot press:

  1. The hot press par-bakes the dough.
  2. The press de-gasses the dough.
  3. Hot pressed skins bake faster.
  4. Any dough can be hot pressed.
  5. You can make any type of pizza using a hot press.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ve used both a DoughPro & a Somerset…I prefer the Somerset…no special dough formulation is required, but your dough must be tempered for optimum results…you’ll still need to tweak an 18" skin but with practice, its easy…

Thanks for the replies y’all! I actually own a sheeter but it’s noisy and my kitchen is practically in the dining room. I’m still on the fence about it. Long shot here, but does anyone have one an old press that could borrow? Haha. I’ll pay for everything and extra for your time! I have been working with my staff a bit more on evenness and it’s going somewhere. Its going slowly, but at least it’s going somewhere…

I have to say that my product sounds like a great candidate for a press based on your last post Tom. And it’s coincidentally formulated to work with it already it seems like. We do use %50 high gluten flour, but I might be willing to scale that back to make a press work, our dough balls are already lightly oiled to keep them from sticking to the round stacking dough containers that we use, and we are at %65 hydration.

Thanks again y’all.