Hand Tossed Dough

Any suggestions for proper hand tossing?

Believe it or not, that is a tough question. My knee jerk reaction is to say; Learn how to open a dough piece into a dough skin, then practice, practice, practice, get more dough and practice some more. In our need to train individuals, who are what I like to call “toss challanged” I’ve found that if I use a sheeter (dough roller) to open the dough up to about 2/3 of the desired size, I can then finish opening it by hand much more easily, and quickly too, I might add, to the full diameter. The finished dough skin, with very little practice, will have a uniform thickness across the entire bottom, and a light, raised edge on the baked crust. The internal cell structure of the baked crust, will be for all practical purposes, the same as it would have been if the dough was opened entirely by hand. I’ve trained a lot of people in this technique, and for the most part, it only takes about 15-minutes of practice before they begin exhibiting a level of proficiency. As a side benefit, many have reported back to me that after a short time using this process, they began opening the dough entirely by hand. This procedure seems to give a person time to develop their dough handling skills, and then one day the question pops into their mind: “Gee I wonder if I can open the entire dough piece by hand?” Using their well honed skills, and a little practice, the answer is generally “yes”. Any of the students that have attended our Practical Pizza Production class over the past few years have been exposed to this forming technique during the hands-on lab sessions. You might give it a try to see if it will work for you too. You don’t need a sheeter/dough roller to get started, a good, old fashion rolling pin will work to get you started.
Tom Lehmann/ The Dough Doctor

Have to agree that its hard to explain via text. I found that Tom’s three part video on “pizza tv” was a good way to learn. I already knew how to toss before seeing it, but I found the video helpful and actually altered my technique a bit after seeing it and standardized the practice at the shop. There are different variations in the technique, but I think its important to have everyone on the “same” page.

One of the things i’ve seen other store managers in our company do when teaching people how to toss dough and pass it back and forth from hand to hand is to dampen a utility towel down and practice with that, rather than wasting perfectly good dough in the beginning. Once they get decent using the towel, then we put the dough in front of them.

Many of our clients found that just about when, after much time and effort, they got a worker trained they quit and the arduous procedure was being repeated again and again.

A large percentage of our clients do what Tom suggests above.

George Mills