Hand mixing. Am I crazy?

I own a small town diner that has a small unused room on the end of the building. I’m turning it into a take out pizza kitchen. I’ll only be open Fri., Sat. & Sun. 4P.M. until 9P.M. (To start with). I’ll be running it by myself (Maybe one staff?). I’m guessing that I’ll be selling between 35 - 50 pies @ night. I’ll only have 2 sizes.
I can’t afford a mixer right now, so I plan on mixing my dough by hand in a 40 qt. bowl. Years ago I worked @ a place that did this. Am I crazy?!! Does anyone have any suggestions? Comments?

Yup…crazy…if you are that tight on money, I believe you might not be ready for that expansion…get a 20 qt. Hobart mixer, used when you have $1,500 to invest…or consider buying/using a frozen dough ball…there are many good ones on the market…

Uh huh… nuts. And I second the comment that if you are that tight on money you need to think of other things. Rich’s frozen doughballs are excellent.

Well, lets put it this way, From a standard pizzeria point of view it might be considered crazy, but in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania there is a pizzeria where the owner mixes all of his doughs by hand, been there, seen it. He has a very lucrative business as people go there just to watch him mix the dough, I guess you might say that’s his “thing”. If you want to go this route, great, but if you are doing it just because you don’t have the money right now to buy a mixer, you might want to regroup the troops and think things over, a used mixer is not all that expensive and if you are that tight on cash I would have other concerns too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

As another poster mentioned, Rich’s has frozen balls, I have never knowingly tried one so I cannot comment of flavor texture.
Or maybe look to another local business (bakery) to make your dough for you, they may appreciate the extra business and you could cross promote with them.

I use to work in a bakery that hand kneaded the bread dough. It was a small artisan set up and it was one of its selling points. I was in my mid 20’s and loved doing it. I still hand knead dough in small batches (10lbs or less) because it is meditative and I feel a connection to the centuries of people that hand kneaded dough for survival. but today, nearing 60, it would tear my body up in no time with arthritis to knead enough dough to make it selling pizzas. The Hobart 20 quart mixer is a good alternative. We have thunderbird clone of a 20 quart mixer that sits next to a 30 year old Hobart 20 quart. The thunderbird is 5 years old and has performed flawlessly mixing approx. 6 batches- 10 to 20 pound doughes of pizza, bagels, dog biscuits (tough on a mixer as bagel dough) 5 days a week. It will cost you 1/2 of a hobart. Walter

After I closed my pizza shop, I wanted to keep making dough for myself. I got with Mr. Lehman who gave me the “in’s and out’s” of mixing by hand. I have been making by hand for the last 4 years and my biggest problem sometimes is getting some dried dough pieces that formed when mixing. Otherwise, I cannot tell the difference between doing by hand or doing it by machine. The other big thing is staging. It will take a hours instead of minutes due to the process. It is definitely feasible to do by hand. Why waste the money on equipment if it does not work out?

Thanks for the comments! I love the feel of the dough as I mix using my hands!! All of my ingredients will be “Top of the line” so, I want the people to know that my pizza will be hand made and the best around since they will be paying for the best!!

i would buy frozen dough before trying to mix by hand, thats insane

mixing dough for home consumption might be an option for some…for those wanting the ability to do 100 pies/hour…not a viable option…

to be successful, IMHBCO, hand mixing is not an option for profitability…

We just went threw 1000lbs of flour in 3 days this weekend If we did it by hand we would still be making dough and would have closed up shop

I believe hand mixing can be done if the pie is good enough to warrant top prices and overhead is low. I wouldn’t want to do it but if I was still in my 20’s I could pull off a 50 pound bag of flour a day hand kneading on my own and with a 2 person shop including me it could be a cool selling point for the artisan angle because it is. My 18" cheese pies cost under $4 and have Parm Regiano imported Italian cheese, grande whole milk mozz, Sicilian oregano on the stalk, EVVO, EVVO infused with garlic, whole milk grande ricotta, homemade sausage. A plain cheese pie sells for $20. Walter