I currently own a small pizzeria that does hand tossed pizza in a deck oven but am thinking about changing to a pizza press and conveyer oven due to the constraints of employment in Hawaii. It is VERY difficult to find workers here, and when you do find them they are quick to leave. I am looking for consistency as well as an affordable pizza similar to pieology where we will only sell one size of pizza (12") with unlimited toppings.
I am also looking into selling par baked pizza so the press would have a dual purpose.
It has a dough ball requirement of 6 - 7oz but that seems a bit small to me. I currently use a 11-12oz dough ball to make my 12 inch pizzas so is the pizza press a cracker like crust? Any information will be appreciated.
Use a dough sheeter instead of a dough press if you’re going the conveyor route. You can get a good used Acme double pass for $1500-2000 and it’ll last forever. Mine has worked every day without one single issue since 1992! Knock on wood
I wrote an entire article (The Dough Doctor) in Pizza Today Magazine some time ago on the various dough forming methods and how the finished crusts differ from each method. You might see if you can locate this in their archives.
The press will give you a flatter crust profile than what you typically get from a hand tossed method. Are you having a problem training people how to open the dough by hand? If that is the issue be advised that we have developed a very simple method for opening the dough by hand but with the aide of a sheeter to partially open the dough. This method was developed so we could train those who were “toss challenged” in the “art” of hand tossing or hand forming, table stretching the dough with great uniformity in well under an hour. You might want to check the archives here at PMQ (In Lehmann’s Terms) as we have discussed this method a number of time in my articles. If you want more information as well as a short video showing the method in use please send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll be glad to provide it. If you are just looking for a simple way to open the dough quickly the press that you are looking at will perform the task but be advised that you may need to include a reducing agent in the dough formula to improve the pressing properties and control snap-back .
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
George Mills we were thinking about going with Middleby Marshalls WOW oven since our repair man said all of the big companies use it. What is the advantage with EDGE ovens? We are open to any recommendations. What press does your high volume accounts use?
Joe, how fast does a dough sheeter worker and is it as straight forward as a press or is there some skill involved?
Tom Lehmann, we don’t have an issue training employees to open dough by hand per say. The speed at which they can toss a pizza is a real issue. When training I try to stress the importance of speed and consistency but no matter how long I work with them their speed does not increase or we train them and they end up leaving a few months down the road. They are good workers but its hard to find excellent workers here. We can have an ad in the paper, craigslist, and fliers for months and still no applicants. So because of those reasons we are trying to take a more simplistic approach to reduce our training cost.
Dough pressing is a “no-brainer” when it comes to opening the dough, but like I said, you may need to tweak your dough formula a bit, and you will not get the same finished crust characteristics as you do with hand tossing. If you really want to go with the simplistic approach get the automated version of the hot press: lightly oil the platen, place dough ball on platen, swing platen to the closed position (directly under the head) press two buttons (one on either side of the press) and the press does the rest. You can program in the top and bottom heat as well as the dwell time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Aloha Tom, thank you for your expertise. I read your article on the different dough characteristics on Pizza Today Magazine and it was very interesting. We are a take out pizza place that goes through relatively low volume of pizza. In your opinion the automated dough press would be a better option than a hand pressed machine?
Regarding your question on the press, if you opt for the manual press as you have provided the link for or the automated press, it all depends upon how much of a no brainer you want to go with, otherwise they’re both about the same…except for cost of course.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Tom, I know you mentioned that we might need a dough relaxant to form dough into the pizza press. Is there a Bakers formula we could follow. We haven’t used a relaxant before so we do not know what to expect.
Edge Ovens are generally less costly to buy., Cost less to run and expel less heat into the kitchen.So say the users that have commented here as do those we have supplied with Edge Ovens
Our higher volume shops use dough sheeters, Most use summerset
The dough sheeter is nearly as simple as it gets. Dough presses always seem to have a lot of issues. Get a double pass sheeter. You take your dough ball, flour each side, put it thru the first pass to open up the dough ball and then put it thru the 2nd pass to get it thinner and I put it thru the 2nd pass again to make it even more thin. You can adjust the passes so you can get them thinner or thicker. I then put the skin on the pizza pan and trim the edge with a large metal spoon and commence making pies.
Go with George’s suggestion for the Edge ovens over MM. With sheeters, he’s correct that most use Somerset single pass. If you do this, it’s common to have a long prep table with the sheeter on one end, dust the table, run the dough thru the single pass, dock the dough and use stencils to form dough skins. This works great with deck ovens as well as conveyors. If you want a good double pass, which makes the process even easier, go with Acme.
Tom, I read your article, it seem like you leaned towards the heated press for a hand tossed like crust. reading this now im confused. I am after the closest to handtossed hand pressed as possible. I was going to get the DP2000 after reading your post but now it looks like the double pass sheeter is the better option. can any one clarify. I currently us arrizzo dough balls and press to fit pan. I want to start making my own dough. Whats the prefered machine thanks.
I’ve never used a dough press. Always heard mixed reviews, but with that being said, I would like to try a manual and an automatic with my dough and see if they work. The automatic ones are extremely expensive so if I could find a way to test one out first, I would.
Always had a double pass sheeter and they’re nearly effortless, which is also why I prefer a conveyor over a deck. When I train new kitchen employees, I show them the sheeter first because it’s so simple and it’s important for them to learn something new on the first day and master it to gain confidence in themselves and get comfortable in their new environment or at least in my opinion.
Not sure how long a dough press takes to completely turn a dough ball into a skin, but with the double pass sheeter, it takes me 15 seconds including panning, trimming, and docking. Newer staff takes them 10 seconds longer. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions amigo.