Dough Sheeters

I am new to making pizza. I only started April 1, 2009 I am now opening the skins up by hand and making 16" pizzas at our local farmers market. I am mostly selling the pizza by the slice, but am also making some whole pizzas to sell. I am looking into purchasing a sheeter if I can find one for the right price. I have read the posts by Tom Lehmann about sheeters and dough presses. Can anyone tell me if you can tell a difference in the finished product. I know this will take out gases, but would like to know what professionals have to say about sheeters. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You,
Norma

I don’t use one in my shop but thats because I mostly sell deep dish. When I worked at pizza shops with them I loved them. They are great for creating a thin or Neopolitan style crust. I mainly used them to get the crust to a decent starting point and then hand tossed the rest of it to fit the pizza screens we used. They are awsome in a rush as it makes it faster to get the dough uniform thickness and partially to where you want. I know places that just take it straight from the sheeter and put on a screen, personally I like to add a few tosses to make it better, this may just be because I love tossing pizzas lol. Good luck on your venture!!

If you’re already forming skins by hand, why switch? I’ved used all 3 methods & stick w/hand toss

Thanks for your replies. The farmer’s market is open one day a week. During the summer and fall we get about 5,000 people though the market a day. The only reason I was considering a sheeter if I become to busy and can’t keep up opening them by hand. Last week I had a hard time keeping up making the pizzas. I have a dough pro, but am not using it because I don’t like having to spray with PAM and that getting into the taste of the crust. I am opening by hand now and putting the pizza on a screen. Someone else puts the pizza toppings on and then we take it off the screen for about 20 seconds to brown the bottom. I have a propane gas deck oven. I know since I am new, I will become faster opening the skins, but what is a reasonable time that professionals open the skins?

There are some “tricks” in using a press…the 1st is the dough must be proofed…

The 2nd is to use some olive oil blend rather than Pam spray…

Don’t crank the temp up, rather keep the press down longer…

@ CiCi’s, we cranked out the skins, but you still have to work with it after the press…

While one is pressing, finalize one on the screen…then you can repeat & build up a supply…get a screen rack & build a few skins ahead of time, but don’t let them stack up longer than 15/20 minutes…

I syill prefer a hand-toss system tho…

We use a sheeter and very simple to do. If you get a two pass you take the dough ball and smash, run through top then run through second pass (proabably have to run it twice through second pass)

If you use a single pass you do the same thing but just run it through the pass a few times and probably have to adjust the knob (thickness)

BUT…if you got the hand thing going stick with it…you are probably visable to the customer and I would see that as a huge advantage. Customers get excited about that kind of stuff.

Do you pre form skins? You could do a few extra and keep replenishing as you get busy.

Kris

Norma;
Using a sheeter to pre-open the dough skins is a fast and easy way to open your dough balls into skins. Look Ma, no thin center sections either! It can certainly speed up the time needed to open a dough ball, especially if you are a novice. By opening the dough to only about 2/3 of its finished size, then stretching to full size by hand gives you essentially all of the have formed characteristics, but a dough skinn that is sheeted to full size is pretty flat looking, and it gives a similarly shaped finished crust, pretty flat. OK, if that is what you want. Also, a fully sheeted skin that is immediately dressed and baked really doesn’t bake up all that well as compared to a hand formed or partially sheeted and hand formed dough skin. It will also be somewhat lacking in overall crispiness too, unless you employ long baking times. At a Farmer’s Market where you will be seen and watched, I’d think that at least finishing the dough skin by hand would be preferable to a fully sheeted dough. If I can get you to stop and watch for a minute or two, chances are that I might be able to sell you a pizza too.
A little marketing and showmanship.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

No pam!! terrible lol. I have to agree that it would add a not so hot taste to the pizza. Really consider using Extra Virgn Olive Oil. Its what I use on screens, it is also healthier to use, there are many benefits to using it. If you are pressed for time you might want to try experimenting with Spray EVOO, I have never personally tried it but seen it at a supermarket once. I just use the oil myself, lightly brush it on though, too much and you have soggy crust! =)

Thank all of you for contributions to my question. I do make my own dough the day before and proof it until the next day. I am using Tom Lehmann’s New York Style pizza formulation, without sugar, for my crust. I will try the dough pro, again, with olive oil (which I did before, but believe my dough was too moist then.) I also prefer opening up the skins by hand, but last week I couldn’t keep up and mostly my customers want the pizza when they pass my stand. (I know I am a novice and need to learn many things.) My pizza stand is only 8’ by 13’ so that isn’t that much room to move around. I have been in the market business many years, but because my husband became ill and I couldn’t keep up with our other stands, I had to sell them and decided to make Fresh Dough Pizza, because no one else at the market does that. My husbands parents were at the market since 1928. This stand was the only one available at the market at the time I decided to make Fresh Dough Pizza. I did fit all the equipment in the stand, plus a merchandiser. that holds the heat and humidity. That holds 3 pizzas. There isn’t a lot of room to move around. I have a screen rack that I use to hold extra pans and screens. I will try to get faster so I can get maybe a few skins formed ahead. I open the skins now on a stainless steel table right in front of the customers, with a plexiglass in front of the table. Everyone is saying the pizza is really great and I already have many repeat customers. I also make my own sauce. I will think about a sheeter seriously before I purchase one.
Thanks, again for all your help!

If you have someone else putting the toppings on. Why not get someone else to do the dough faster and you put the toppings on?

Norma;
Since you are planning to use the Dough Pro press, I would highly recommend that you look into the use of PZ-44 to help relax the dough, making it easier to press out with significantly less snap-back. If you’re not familiar with PZ-44 go to <www.foremostfarms.com>. The recommended use level is between 1 and 2% of the flour weight. If you are using a high protein flour you will probably need to go with 1.5 or 2%.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Perna,
I only have one person helping me now and they don’t know how to open the skins. Help is hard to find that are responsible and willing to work only one day a week. That is why I am opening the skins. I did get faster today and gradually I think I will become more experienced.
Thanks

Tom,
I didn’t use the dough pro today and opened all my skins by hand. I really don’t want to use it, but will see how busy I get. Thank you for the information about the dough relaxer. I will keep this information if I plan on using the dough pro. I wanted to let you know that I had many customers saying they like the taste of the pizza. Thank you for your formulation. I even had one customer that bought one slice of pizza and then came back for a whole pie. He said he lives 10 miles from New York City and said my pizza was as good as any he had in New York City. I wouldn’t have been able to make the NY Style pizza without your formulation and Peter’s help.
Norma

Norma, just an idea…but if you keep track of how many skins you need it won’t take up hardly any space. You can buy a rack (probably what you have your pans/ sreens on now.) it will hold 12 pre formed skins. I couldn’t imagine doing a rush without having some to start. Heck get rid of the dough press and put a couple of racks there. I just think the process you are using is priceless. Customers really get excited seeing this stuff.

And yes, you will get fast, very fast…

Sounds like you got a great thing going. Good for you.

Kris

Kris,
Thanks for the advice. Since I am new to pizza making, if I make the skins ahead, won’t they dry out? What could I do with that? That sounds like a great idea. I appreciate any advise. I want to continue to open the skins by hand, if that is at all possible and I can keep up. I am practicing to throw the pizza up to open the skins more quickly. Of course I am not proficient with that yet, either. Customers ask me if I can throw the pizza. They laugh when I do and say that is great. I am only in pizza making for 9 weeks now, so I have much to learn.

We keep ours on the rack for 2 - 3 hours without any problem. When we were crazy and doing $6.00 pizzas we would make up tons of them and cover with a clear trash bag…they held for longer. But we never have trouble with 2-3 hours and I guess it is because you are using and replenishing with new.

As for throwing the dough…you can buy throw dough and it comes with a video. Pretty good but kinda costly I think it was about 100 bucks. Practice makes perfect.

One piece of advice there is don’t use the tips of your fingers use your fistt or knuckles. We do toss ours minimally but find the whole tossing to be more of a show for the customers and since we are not in view of customer we don’t do it much. Plus our ceilings are too low.

Also when stretching the dough try and do it from the edges and not the center. Don’t know how to explain that one really but play around with it. When you are always doing it from the center it makes it thin in the middle.

Had to mis spell fisst it considers it a bad word LOL

If you open the dough skins ahead of time and place them on lightly oiled screens, then stack them on a wire tree rack and cover with an approved plastic bag you won’t have any problems withthe dough skins drying out, and even if they do dry out a little (not all crusty) it won’t detract from the properties of the finished pizza.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Kris and Tom,
Thank you for the information. I will purchase another rack and make some ahead. That is going to be a great help to me!
Norma

American Metalcraft has some pretty good racks (Pizza Racks) in their catalog for about $60.00 a pop.
<www.amnow.com> or 800-333-6046.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom,
Thank you for the information. I have a company near me that sells all kinds of products. They are called Clark Associates Companies. They have a webstaurant store and it’s address is www.webstaurantstore.com. I have gone to their store and purchased an American Metalcraft rack model number 109029 with 15 slot. That is what I am using now. The price on the their website for this rack is 36.99. Since I can go to their store, I will save on the shipping. If anyone wants this address for their store you can give it to them. Their prices are reasonable. I will go there this week and purchase another rack.
Thanks again,
Norma