Hand tossed versus Sheeters

Any differences? Which do you prefer?

Hand tossed. It’s faster and you can create a better crust.

Very big difference,sheeters take most of the air out of the dough,making it a ‘chewy’ crust.And it does take much longer.Why these things even exist I’ll never know.Toss your own dough its much better and more fun.And you can advertise as a hand tossed crust.

I started w/a sheeter…got quite fast…trick is 2 just use it to “open-up” your dough, then finish it my hand…yes, it degasses the dough quite a bit…

bought a dough press…could never get my dough to perform properly…sold it

learned how to hand toss & that is the preferred method…quite fast/showy/tender etc…

learned how 2 better use a dough press and that is an acceptable method for buffets, as it is the fastest for a “team” situation like CiCi’s

Thanks for the thoughts, appreciate them.

I’m trying to understand how a sheeter is slower than hand tossing. I use a 2 pass sheeter, takes maybe 4 seconds total to pass through the sheeter, and another 5 seconds maybe to finish stretching/placing in pan.

I hand tossing faster than that?

its a perceived “quality/style” difference between sheeting, tossing or pressing…if your customers like your sheeted product, then don’t change…my personal preference, these days, is hand tossed…

Registered Guest writes:

I’m trying to understand how a sheeter is slower than hand tossing. I use a 2 pass sheeter, takes maybe 4 seconds total to pass through the sheeter, and another 5 seconds maybe to finish stretching/placing in pan.

I hand tossing faster than that?

I’ll race ya. :wink:


When the heat is on, and the ruch is in full swing, I can have TWO guys each slapping out dough that fast. One sheeter would slow down the works if I ranout of pre-sheeted skins.

The other thing as far as speed is considered - where is the speed gained?

I’m pre-sheeting into pans, so my skins are sitting there ready to go at the makeline. Surely it isn’t faster to hand-toss at the line vs. grabbing a pan pre-sheeted.

I’m not advocating one being better than the other - I just don’t see how one of the advantages of hand tossing can be that it is faster.

I don’t use a sheeter but have been around pizza joints that have. The major advantage of a sheeter is that you can train someone to make a pizza faster with a sheeter if they have zero past experience with dough stretching. If you add a conveyor belt to your operations, you have a larger pool of workers that can be pizza makers.

you can train anyone to use any piece of equipment, given some time & attention…

put a sheeted pizza, a hand tossed pizza or a pressed pizza will have some different characteristics…

I’ll race ya to 100. Sure, hand-slapping can be faster in low volume situations. The downside is that your slapper won’t get to be as fast as he can be if you’re in a low volume store. The dough has a LOT to do with it. A Chicago-style crust ain’t getting slapped out quickly – it’s just too blamed thick.

Here’s my experience.

  1. Little Caesar’s using a dough sheeter. We built up a “reserve” as the sheeted dough was supposed to be in the pan for 30 mins before being used. We could run two big conveyors full of pizza (with pizzas waiting to get into the oven) and never run out. That’s one person on dough.

  2. Papa Johns hand-slapped. I could slap dough for maybe an hour before every joint in my body hurt (especially lower back). We had a former Domino’s guy who was faster than me.

Between the two, sheeting was faster over a longer period of time. A dough sheeter will “hide” imperfections better. If your dough balls run together, a sheeter will have a slightly flat side. Hand-slapping will give a much worse “out of oven” look. You also won’t have thin spots in a sheeted dough and you can get those with slapping (especially if the dough is under or over proofed).

A sheeter leaves less room for human error. Sheeters can be tempermental though. If the dough is too this or not enough that, you can have a nice little glob of pieces come out rather than a single dough skin.

If you lose your dough sheeter, you close the doors. If your slapper gets tired, you rotate another guy in and stay open. I’d submit to you that you want to determine how you want to make your skins and build your dough around that method. If you’re building your restaurant around a “style” of pizza, then Chicago-style requires a sheeter and NY-style requires hand slapping.

We do a NY Style with a sheeter in conveyors. I’ve had the sheeter for 5 years and have never(knock on wood) lost a day due to breakdown. I keep a rolling pin for backup.

That’s really the thing. Open kitchens ‘feature’ the dough guys slapping out dough . . . sheeter just isn’t as ‘sexy’. Sheeters, presses and hand stretched all have different characteristics of finished crust. Pick your profile and desired results, and build the dough the best works for you . . . and the ovens you use.

I will race anybody sheeter to slapping dough.
Having done both I like my pizza by hand but for quality and speed I used a sheeter.
I also had a commissary and pre sheeted all of the dough.
As for the sheeter breaking down I had 2 of them.
I let the sheeted dough rise on the foil before saucing them and making the pizza.

By doing this I could use less skilled labor to make my pizzas and I had a more uniform product also.

My money would be on Brian Elder, personally. He holds title of Fastest Pizza Maker in the US with 20.37 seconds and World Pizza Champion with 37 seconds. So, if ‘anybody’ include the US Pizza Team, then we might could arrange the contest :smiley:

Smart alecky aside, if by quality you mean something like “Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements” or “the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs” (wikipedia) then I personally will tkae the ahnd stretched skins.

I am all about the sheeter for perfect circles or huge volume or situations where you don’t want to have to find skilled labor. The texture and bake characteristics I look for in my pizzas very difficult to get with a sheeter. I am certain one can make very good pizze rolling the dough through those steel rollers . . . I just find that the degassing and dough structure after the sheeter doesn’t go where I need it to go. You mileage will most probably vary, though.

Such is the fun of our industry that we can all produce high quality pizza with such varied techniques and equipment. It truly does astonish me . . . and sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night wondering at it.

I was trained to use a sheeter, although 20 years ago, to prep the dough in the morning for they days use. Two passes and it was done. However you are correct about the gases, the dough would not rise up after sheeting since it was put into a “skin cooler” and even in the oven rise was very minimal.

Personally I know I need to get “retrained” on how it is done today before we open shop. I am looking into working at a local shop a couple night a week for the experience. I can just see the interview now. “So you have a full time job that pays you well, why do you want to work in our pizza shop?” “To be honest Mr. Pizzza owner, I need some retraining for when we open our new shop and nock your socks off!”

I am sure that will go over like a ton of bricks.

Nick Sasso said it well:
this is a wonderfull business that we can all do it differently and make a great product that pizza customers like.

Maybe not what you think on the job interview.
Being honest and up front with me, I would hire you even knowing you would leave to do your own thing.
That may not go over with most people if you planned to open next door, but a different area would not make a differnce with me.
Good idea for you to work in a place to see from the inside out.
You are welcome to interview with me, I will be open in Quartzsite, AZ from October til March.
seems like you are starting well, good luck,
Otis PS I hand toss

Thanks Otis

Wish I was closer to your area, we are in Poulsbo, WA. and the location for our shop will be at least 2 miles from the closet pizza. Come to think of it the rest of the shops are all about within about a mile radius of each other.

Trouble is our city center (one main road in and out, small town) is under construction and with traffic it can take 15-20 minutes to go that mile.

We are looking to be on the west side of town near the Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Officer Max etc.

Now back to hand tossed or sheeting: I have tried both at home, using a rolling pin and I have to admit I seem to get better results with the hand method with a lighter, crispy crust.