Hi Tom,
Dennis Cox here, from Friday Night Pizza in Philipsburg, Montana (pop. 932). We are open Fridays only from 3:30 till 9pm. I serve a hand tossed, NY style pizza dough with artisan toppings. I opened my doors on February 9th and have been getting slammed lately. This has caused me to think about getting a Dough Pro (that I actually have on order).

I am conflicted. I love the hand toss method because it is traditional and authentic, I feel that I am the chef, it is uniquely my product, and, I love the way the dough forms when tossed as well as the crisp finished product. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, is talking about the crust!

My dilemma is that I am having difficulty with dough storage. I make it the night before and ball it by hand, then place it in the fridge over night. I take a tray out andit is too cold to work with, I let it sit out too long and it becomes too springy and is difficult work with. As with the Three Bears, there is a time window in which it is the perfect temperature for excellent tossing.

I read your article comparing sheeter and press methods with traditional hand toss methods and I have come to the decision that Ido not want to give up my method. I am hoping you can give me some tips on articles or other research tools that I can use to help me understand how I can store my dough for a more consistent product to be tossed. Is this what a Proofer is used for?

I love making pizza, but have never done it as a business before. What I know about the business has come from what I read here at PMQ and in Pizza Today, and a couple of great conversations with Dave Ostrander and Pizza Paul.

Thank you for being there, and for any assistance you can lend.


tho I’m not Tom, I’ve used all 3 methods of forming a crust…

Sheeters degas your dough too much for me…

Dough presses are fine, but you don’t really increase the speed in forming your crust…bakes up nicely…

Hand tossing is my personal preference…and I can bang 'em out for an old fart…trick to remember is to have a rack or so of skins already formed and ready for sauce…I keep 'em in a closed metal cabinet…they last for well over an hour in that cabinet…

Learn to bring out your dough trays is 30 minute intervals or so…

If your dough is too tight, I sometimes just open the dough up a little bit, dock both sides and cover w/flour/cornmeal for 5 minutes or so…you can “layer” them on your table

This is certainly something I can help you with. Your dough should have about a 3 to 4 hour window of use time from the time you begin using it about an hour after you take it from the cooler. Some of the things to look for are excessive yeast level. The yeast should be about 1 to 1.5% of the flour weight, Finished dough temperature should be in the 80 to 85F range arter mixing. Do not allow the dough to set after mixing, take it DIRECTLY to the bench for scaling and balling and get it into the cooler as quickly as possible. Be sure to cross stack the dough boxes for at least 90 minutes, then down stack and nest the boxes. On the following day, remove the dough that you plan to use, and allow it to temper at room temperature for an hour to an hour and a half before tossing it. The dough should be good to use foe an additional 3 to 4 hours after you begin using it. If you have any further questions, or want to discuss in detail, please let me know.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

If you want to give me a call to discuss, please call me at 800-633-5137 (ext. 165), we’re in the central time zone.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor