Dough Roller or Heated Press?

We are a new place and interested in some feedback. I want to use a roller or heated press for consistency in shells as well as less training time for new employees. We will not par bake and will be using a conveyor oven, thin crust pizza. Any thoughts or suggestions?


I do mainly Thin Crust as well and chose to go with a Sheeter because we do 3 different size pies and it seems to be more of a PITA to use a press as you have to change the plates each time you change pie sizes. At least that’s what I gathered 4 years ago.

It also depends on your dough… as I’ve been working (with Toms help) on a new recipe, my dough has been very “stretchy” so I’ve been able to make a thin by hand fairly easy. With my new shop I’m hoping to not use a sheeter (or press) and just do it by hand like the majority of places. Plus it saves me $3k for not buying a new machine.

a sheeter will degass the dough and you might like the super thin crust it will provide…

a press will better evenly distribute the gas, and based on dough size & length of time in the press, will produce good results to…Calif Kitchen uses a press I believe…

I 1st began w/a sheeter…then tried a press…didn’t like the press, mostly do to lack of knowledge…I used the sheeter for several years before switching to a hand tossed product, @ a new operation…

I gained some experience later w/a press, & if you have tempered dough & leave it in the press, to avoid the dreaded snap-back, I would choose a press over a sheeter, for ease of use & the ability to clean it & a more consistent product…

we currently hand toss & I prefer that, until those 100 pie hours…

Thank you for the informative replies - they are very helpful and appreciated.

Hi ajsla:

We have many clients using dough rollers none using the press system:

Just what our clients prefer others may differ:

George Mills

The short version of Dough Sheeter vs heated press is: If you want a crust that is basically bread, use a press. If you want something stronger, and tougher, use a sheeter.

We serve a deep dish butter crust style pizza along with a hand “tossed”/formed pie. I hired in two young pizza makers from my local competition that used a press to form their doughs and taught them in under 20 minutes how to open dough by hand and make a pie that NO one in our area is offering. That being said, I do believe we’ll drag the Sommerset out of my garage and start to use it to help prep our deep dish b/c right now we roll a ball out by hand very much like a regular (apple) pie crust. It’s time consuming and not very labor smart.

Not sure what press you’re talking about, but I use my press (doughpro dp1100) for all 5 sizes of pizzas that we sell, without changing any plates.

This topic has been discussed quite a few times on this board and I’m not going to say which one is better, because it all depends on the operation (just like with deck vs. conveyor ovens).

I chose to go with a press because it was easy to use and virtually anyone can learn to press consistent skins in a matter of minutes. My 8 year old son can even press out a crust. If I was using a sheeter, there’s no way I’d let him go near it. I also like the fact that it has a small footprint, for those that have limited space. But the biggest benefit for me is that I do not have to pre-sheet my dough. We just pull the dough out of the fridge and press it out. My best results come when we let the skins sit at room temp for at least 15 minutes, but that’s not to say that we can’t use it right away. For us, the press works great.

We’ve used a press for the last 5 years but recently decided to get a dough sheeter because we couldn’t get our pizza guys to stop pressing the dough too long. They would press it too long and it wouldn’t rise. It just looked like cracker crust. But when we used the dough sheeter last night they crust didn’t rise. Does anyone know how to fix this? Do we need to use a different dough recipe? Or does a dough sheeter automatically mean thin cracker like crust?

Remember that presses (heated or cold), sheeters and hand forming all produce finished crusts with significantly different characteristics. It’s not just a case of which method do I want to use, instead it’s a case of what characteristics do I want in my finished crust. Skins that are fully formed using a sheeter/dough roller tend to be dense, and more flat (poker chip) in appearance and due to their thin cross section don’t get as well baked in the center section which results in a potentially tougher, more chewy finished crust characteristic. However, when the dough absorption is at 50% or less the sheeter is the only way to open the dough for what is referred to as a thin crispy or a thin cracker type crust which has more of a dry, crisp eating characteristic. Cold presses press the dough in a pan and require a release agent to be used in the pan as the dough is then baked in the same pan after pressing, for this reason the crust will have more of a fried characteristic which is generally perceived as being more crispy while the crumb structure will be characteristic of a pressed crust having a fine, uniform crumb structure, sometimes referred to as cake like. Tho pressed crusts also require oil but only on the dough ball so the crust tends to have a slightly richer crust color due to the oil. The formed skins also demonstrate very good resistance to moisture penetration from the sauce and toppings (due to the oil put onto the dough ball in preparation for press forming) and the skin formed by the heated press can effectively allow the skins to be stacked without sticking together, both of these characteristics make the hot press forming method popular with the newer fast casual pizza concept. Hand forming methods do not degas the dough at all and will typically provide a finished crust with the greatest oven spring and crumb porosity but because they are made by hand there will always be a certain amount of inconsistency in the finished crusts, especially in the center section where there is a strong tendency to get the center section too thin which can lead to anything from a gum line to a tough, chewy crust. Lastly, there is a method that I developed a number of years ago where the dough ball is only partially opened (to about 2-inches less than the desired finished diameter) and then finished by one of the hand forming methods to being the skin out to full diameter. This is a very easy method to learn (we developed it to help teach those who might be challenged in opening the dough entirely by hand how to still achieve a very good hand tossed crust). This method all but eliminates the annoying thin center common to many skins opened by hand with the finished crust having all of the hand tossed/opened characteristics.
I wrote an article on this topic some years ago so it should be someplace back in the archives here.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor