Making larger batches of dough

Hello to all,

My wife and I are in the planning stages of a mobile WFO pizza business and from what we have been able to discern after many hours of research is how critical dough management is for creating a consistent product. We have been impressed with Jeff Varasano’s NY/Neopolitan recipe however will his dough management apply to larger batches? Will we be able to produces 100 - 300 nine ounce balls with the consistency needed to be successful? We also like the idea of using sourdough for its flavor and we have noticed that most people use imported starters from Italy…what about King Arthur’s classic starter?


100 9oz dough balls is possible in a 60/80 qt mixer. Sour dough is fantastic, so good luck with that.

We make 88lbs. of dough at a time. The bigger batches mix better than smaller one’s in my opinion.

Sure, go ahead and use the K.A. sour. It should work just fine for you. BUT, do be sure to thoroughly read up on how to start, maintain, and feed/replenish a sour. This will add a whole new dimension to dough management since the sour is what sets your flavor, any variations in the sour, and your flavor changes too. I’ve written some articles addressing sours, and there are plenty of good booke available out there too, so just be sure to do your homework.
As for a mixer, if you plan on mixing doughs based on 50-pounds of flour, now is the time to be thinking about your mixer, not after you discover that the mixer you have, is not up to the task. Some options to consider are:
Hobart P-660
Hobart V-1401 (with 80 or 140-quart bowl)
Hobart M-802
Also, check out the 80-quart Thunderbird mixers (Think the NAPICS Show or Pizza Expo, both coming up very soon)
You couild also go with one of the spiral mixers too. Look for one that is rated to mix doughs based on at least 100-pounds of flour. This will be a dedicated dough mixer, so you will still need a planetary mixer for other mixing chores, sauce, cheese, etc.
What will your store concept be? The answer to this question wil give you some direction in choosing an oven type.
Good luck!
Please keep us posted and don’t be shy about asking questions from us here at the Think Tank. With all of the great diversity here there are plenty of operators who can provide some valuable insight in turning your concept into a reality.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Just a thought on dough batch size… Hoisting and moving an 80lb batch of dough can be a real challenge. It also requires a sizable table to cut and roll. I have worked kitchens that used that size batch (based on 50lbs of flour) and also smaller batches. I much prefer to use a 25lb flour recipe that weighs about 40 lbs. Mixing a second batch is not much of a hardship and it is much easier to handle in the kitchen.

You bring up a very good point. As part of a good dough management plan, we’ve got to get the dough processed from the mixer to the cooler in a consistently timely manner. We have found that the “magic” number is 20-minutes. This means that for most of us, we should strive to get the entire dough cut/scaled, balled, oiled, placed into containers, and in the cooler within a 20-minute window of time beginning immediately when the dough comes off of the mixer. In the work that Jeff and I have done, with one of us cutting/scaling, and the other rounding the dough, we can process an 82.5-pound dough (based on 50-pounds of flour weight) in just 17-minutes. You can speed this up significantly using one of the A-M Manufacturing dough rounders.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Please remember my friend…you are planning a mobile operation…

Have you indeed, developed a business plan?

Have you truly investigated the cost to build the prep kitchen, considering you are not setting up a retail operation?

I’m not looking to rain on your parade either…

The dough regime you are seeking is quite intensive for a mobile vendor only…

If you do batches based on 25# of flour as Bogedahwy suggests, you can have the second batch mixing while you cut and roll the first batch. No real lost time that way since the second batch will finish about the time you are done rolling the first and it is easier to get it all into the cooler within 15 to 20 minutes after the mixer stops.


We also find that we rarely have two people working on dough. It is mostly a solo prep job in our store which means that getting a batch rolled and into the cooler in under 20 minutes works pretty well with one person and a 40lb batch.

As pointed out above, the next batch is ready to roll. What we do is portion out the number of batches we are doing so they can run back to back to back.

Hello to all,

Wow!.. We do appreciate all of your replies… Mr. Lehmann is the best doc that I have ever encounter! :smiley: He has spent more time on my rookie questions than the last doctor I visited concerning my health!.. Let me make one thing a bit more clear as to our business plan for going WFO mobile… what we are planning to do is to develop a relationship with a bakery, maybe a pizzeria or any other establishment that would allow us to use their prep area and cooler during their slow time. It would be great if they also allow us to use their place as our commissary. So now that I have received all of your excellent advice…the next step is to work on my dough management.

Thank you very much.

I cna’t say anything for the pizzerias, but many retail bakeries have surplus “kitchen” time available, and are generally pretty receptive to making dough, as a commissary, for a pizza operation. Most will not allow your people to do the work, as they have their own crew, but they also have the cooler space, and if the turn around is pretty quick, like making the dough this afternoon, and sending it out tomorrow morning, it fits into their way of doing things pretty well. You will need to be sure to work with them at getting the mixing time right for the dough, as most bakers will want to fully develop the gluten, rather than under mixing it to get the desired open, coarse internal crumb structure. Also, be sure to watch the bakers as they cut and round the dough. Many bakeries will also have suitable dough dividers and rounders that will make childs play out of dividing/scaling and rounding an 85-pound dough.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor