Dough Rounder decision

I am new to the pizza business and already started having pain from hand rolling dough and need to find dough rounder solution. Labor cost is high in my area and I’m prepared to invest in a dough rounder machine. We are low volume mom and pop for now.

We make brick oven thin crust and use low hydration dough for 3.6oz and 16oz sizes, and use Somerset sheeter.

I would like to find out which type of machine produces the tightest quality ball, bowl type(Dutches) or spiral cylinder (AM Manufacturing or Somerset)?

Dutchess DUT/PM-502 Rounder/Kneader

AM Manufacturing R-900RT

Somerset SDR400 (if comparable to R900RT would prefer due to lower price and smaller footprint)

Thank You

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I have had my AM rounder for approx 15yrs and have not had a problem with the exception of having to replace the plastic disc on the bottom about once a year. I use a Somerset sheeter also and like their rounder also but until mine goes to rounder heaven than I will put off that purchase. If I was buying now I would go with the Somerset.

Thanks for the input and quick reply. Would you say the dough ball produced equivalent to hand rolling tightness/quality? Have you had direct experience with Somerset Rounder and would you say result same as AM? It seems AM is the gold standard.

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A machine do round dough balls for a low volume store is an unusual investment. My guess is that it will never pay for itself. I can appreciate the issue you face as someone that has experienced carpal tunnel myself but I have to wonder what other choices you have? Are there no other employees? Dough rolling is not rocket science and any employee that will follow instructions can do it. Since most dough has a ideal proofing cycle of at least 24 hours it is not critical what time of day the dough is made. Can’t you find someone else to take on that prep task?

At normal business levels we make dough on shift each day for the next. When busier, we schedule a dough maker and pay per batch rather than per hour.

We use the r900c and love it. We do like to double round the dough balls so we have ordered a second one. We are going to feed the first one right into the second one. I can see one of these being useful to a small operation. Here is a video of one in use. The guy is cutting faster than can accurately be done but it gives you a good idea of how fast these work.

Our clients prefer the AM unit.
George Mills

i would say it is about the same if not better since a lazy employee would produce worse results…if the rounder is anything like the sheeter than I would not worry about it…I would say if you are doing at least 3 batches of dough per day it is definitely worth the investment…good luck!

Anyone here scaling that quick? That’s impressive…

I wonder what their tolerance for accuracy is? Also, that scale must be very fast because I see some of those cuts on there for only a few milliseconds… Sheesh

We bought a rounder after pizza expo last year. It works fine but mostly the employees prefer to roll by hand. It only takes a 16 oz dough ball every 3 seconds - if you put them too close together they combine. Works great for 6 oz dough balls. It looks just like this one I might sell mine soon.

If I was buying now I would go with the Somerset.

So if you love your AM rounder and have used it for 15 years why would you decide to go with the Somerset now?

I can cut pretty fast but not as fast as that dude. If I had an error margin of 1 ounce Im pretty sure I could keep up with that dude, actually I wouldn’t even need to weigh it. I haven’t been off by more than an ounce in years. As it is all of my weights are exact so my time is lost in adding or subtracting a half ounce. I bury my rollers in doughballs, it’s fun but I wish I had a dough roller. Do about 10 25# batches a day. I’ll buy one eventually.

We have an old Scale-o-Matic. It’s real old but the rounder still works. Never used the divider because it needs parts.

I have some issues with it…

First problem is it almost always cuts off once ounce little balls which is a pain in the butt and super messy.

Second is that it likes to combine balls, even if you don’t add them quickly… fairly rare, but also annoying

Third is it doesn’t seem to want to roll my 22oz balls… I have to do them by hand. The “barrel” starts bouncing up and down. Not sure if there is a dough weight limit on it but i’d assume 22oz isn’t over the limit…

It was already pretty damn used when we got it 15 or os years ago, so I’m sure everything is worn…

There is a plastic disc on the bottom which i’m assuming is the cheapest part. It seems fine. I’ve looked at the diagram and it seems like thats the first piece that goes on first, which is what we do, then the “barrel” part sits on top of that?, then the “spindle” part goes inside of the barrel, then the stainless chute goes inside the spindle… does that sound correct?

I’d love any suggestions on what is causing any of these three issues because I’m assuming the two main parts, the spindle and the barrel are extremely pricey so I don’t want to just start buying parts just in hopes of them fixing the problem…

I’m trying to find out if which type of rounder produces the tightest dough ball closest to hand rolling for low abortion dough comparing the models per my initial post thanks. Quality of dough ball more important than speed of machine for me. Anyone have experience between these different type of rounders?

I find my R-900 to be better than hand rolled as long as the doughballs are trayed right away. I personally haven’t used the Somerset rounder but I sold a store to another of our franchisees who had one. The store I sold him had an R-900 and he tells me they put out a close to identical finished product.

I know it’s kind of a crap response, but if speed doesn’t matter, why not hand roll? If i had a few guys rolling I could keep up with my machine. But that would cost more in labor of course.

Our absorption is pretty low, but not crazy low, and I do agree that the quality of the balls are not as good as hand rolling initially for us, but after a day or three that gluten relaxes and things really smooth out like a hand rolled ball. Of course your situation and dough could be different.

Interesting thought exercise:

Most of the time for us the labor in rolling is “free” in that I have to staff the kitchen all day anyway and we get the prep done during the slower times. Let’s say that this is when we do four batches per day or less. This would be about 250 days per year. During this time having a roller would save me no money at all.

When we are busy and we schedule someone to make dough we pay piece rate for making it. Since you would have to mix the dough, cut&weigh, tray & brush with oil and clean up (now including the dough roller) in any case, rolling is not the whole cost. Our piece rate is $6.00 per batch. A batch is 35 doughballs (14" size @ 180z). My best guess is that rolling costs maybe 5 cents each?

It would take quite a while for a machine to pay for itself in my business.

They are only a couple hours from me and I have had my sheeter serviced in the past…they are a solid company so if I was going to buy new again I would give them the business this time around

We use a somerset rounder. Works great but if your dough is dry or skinned over it will not be happy. I am happy with the investment and we do not go through much pizza but still worth it imo.

There is no comparison to the AM rounder for the independent who hand cuts and weighs… I have purchased 6 new units and 3 used in my career and will tell you that the unit with the revolving round top is the way to go for turning dough into a one person show… The other units require a second body to watch the dough balls coming from the machine… Do not add oil to the screw but a light spray to the revolving table top will allow you to cut about 15 lbs of dough balls without stopping… if you don’t like to oil top, then limit your cutting to 2 dough trays at a time, or the resulting dough balls will get weak spots that you can notice when stretching the dough in production. I can cut a 76 lb batch of dough 15 oz in under 5 mins without help if I set up my empty dough trays and an empty dough cart directly adjacent to my machine and prep table… We actually had specially built tables to go on each side of the machine to be perfect height just under rotating top of machine and next to our mixer… We transfer the dough quickly from bowl to table for cutting.

Our veggie prep sink is directly opposite the employees back for water access for dough production…I have a duplicate table on the left side. Two small prep tables instead of one large, allows for efficient use of my set up for lefties too! Anyone needing assistance on other configurations I have developed in my other locations for this machine can feel free to contact me directly… My friends hear in Georgia at have my table specs saved if anyone would like to use them… I also developed pretty bad a$$ modular stainless front counter with these guys, that allow me to move my counters anytime I need to and we perfected our own design for a pizza cut table too…

Ok so after talking to AM about my problems, they say the screw and the drum are both worn. 3,570 to replace before tax and shipping… ouch.

The machine is old, over 20 years, but I figured I’d share this info to anyone who might be looking at a used machine or something.

Are you still running the same motor on that unit?