Tom Lehmann and others? Dough roller vs rolling pin vs Hand toosed

We offer a hand tossed pizza. Over the years we changed from hand tossing to using a metal rolling pin. It helped with training, consistency and speed. Not to mention employees getting tired when busy. Was thinking of getting a dough roller with the docking feature. Two pass system that also docks the dough. Will that change the taste or the amount the dough rises in the oven? I have heard many different opinions on this topic. Was hopping to speed up production and eliminate the fatigue factor of beating out or hand rolling dough all day and night. But don’t want to change taste or look. Also noticed a few franchises that use a dough roller and slapping together EX Marcos Pizza. And it seems to rise and look just like a slapped dough, taste and all. Any feedback or personal experience on this subject would be appreciated.

I Believe a saw a great explanation of the differences in one of Toms posts a week or so back.
If I can find it, I’ll link it.

I had the very same concerns you do and asked the tank last year , many of the high production guys have tried the presses, rollers etc and have gone back to hand tossing . Search the threads here for more info. don’t go out and spend a lot of money on something you will abandon, solution : metal speed racks for 30 -50 skins on screens prior to rush, we use more water in dough to make the stretch faster on crush nights. also leave dough out for an hour before rush for easier faster stretching and less bubbles, try just turning ball upside down and outward stretch with both hands on table while turning in circle for 4 seconds and then slap palm to palm for 4 seconds then stack in a pile ( dusted ) the slapped out dough ( 8 seconds invested ) will be very fast and easy to get to final size , my cooks love to waste a lot of time and energy pounding on the dough ball, maybe its a macho thing , but it is unnecessary and slow,there are some good you tube videos of fast dough tossers , i think it was Shawn Brauser (excuse spelling) stretched ten small pizza doughs in one minute , less energy more brains ! some people successfully use a sheeter or a press but there are problems, dough temp and snapback with presses , sheeters biting hands , inferior product ,rolling or pressing squeezes the air bubbles out of the dough changing the consistency to more dense and tough, hope this helps ! if you find a great solution let me know, we are in the same boat.

Some time back I wrote an article on the different methods of forming the dough into pizza skins. You will need to go back into the archives of my articles (In Lehmann’s Terms) to locate the article.
Each of the different forming methods (hand toss, pressing, and sheeting/rolling produces a different finished crust characteristic that is difficult or impossible to replicate using one of the other forming methods. Using a sheeter will give you a flatter, more poker chip like finished crust unless you’re willing to let the dough rise for a period of time after forming before dressing and baking. A rolling pin must be correctly used or the finished crust will be even flatter than one made on the sheeter/roller, how is this you ask? By allowing the rolling pin to drop off of the edge of the dough during the rolling process resulting in what we call a knife edge to the crust (a very thin edge). On the other hand, thin cracker crusts are best made using a dough sheeter/roller. Hand tossed dough should be sufficiently soft and extensible to allow the dough to be easily and quickly opened into a pizza skin however, the biggest problem with forming the skin totally by hand is getting the center of the opened skin uniform in thickness. A number of years ago we developed a method that I have been teaching for many years now that addresses this problem. By partially opening the dough up using a sheeter/roller or rolling pin to only 2/3 or 3/4 of the finished diameter and then finish opening the dough up by hand to the full diameter just about totally eliminates the inconsistencies of total hand forming (especially by the inexperienced) and it also reduces the learning curve of learning how to open a dough ball into a pizza skin from days, weeks, or months to a matter of just a couple of hours. I’ve had novices who had never opened a dough ball by hand before opening the dough like a pro in less than an hour using this method. I’ve also noticed that when we train local college students in this procedure they quickly go beyond just opening the dough, they begin to toss the dough putting on a show for the customers.
As for docking, I still like to hand dock as I can leave the edge un-docked for a better rise if I so desire. Just be sure to show your employees how you want the dough to be docked. If they get carried away with the docker it can/will inhibit crust rise, and while on the topic of dockers, in my opinion, the only real dough docker is one with very flat, blunt tips. I like to use a plastic docker with multiple docking wheels looking something like a spur having a flat tip. A single pass with the docker is generally all that is needed unless you are going for a special effect.
I hope this has given you some insight into opening dough balls into pizza skins.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ve used a single sheeter and stenciled/hand docked the skins prior to service for a deck oven and I’ve also used an Acme double sheeter and place sheeted dough over a perforated pan then hand dock and use a serving spoon to cut the dough around the rim of pan for conveyor ovens. Both work great in their own regards. I prefer the double pass/conveyor option as it’s easier to train employees for the two combined and enables me to grow my business faster.

Are you using a cutting pan? This is a pan with raised (40 degree) edges? If so, just run a wood rolling pin, or better yet, a wood pie pin over the top of the pan to trim the dough and the rest will just drop into the pan. If you are using a flat baking disk, you might try lifting it up with one hand and then using a hard plastic bench scraper to cut the excess dough off of the pan, it might be easier than using a spoon.
You are absolutely correct, the easier and faster it is for your employees to do, the better they will be able to do it and the easier it will be for you to grow your business.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Yes, I couldn’t be happier with the perforated CAR pans from American Metalcraft. They’re perfect for crispy crust and have a sharp edge that’s easy to form the crust. I had some used perforated pans I bought off a supplier with a rolled edge with 3/4" depth and I didn’t like my crust so I tried these with 11/16" depth and it’s perfect in so many ways. Ready to take over the pizza scene in SF!

Are you saying if I switch to a 2 pass dough roller and let the skins rise before using I would get the same finished product as hand tossed? If so how long should they sit before using. I was looking at a Somerset Docking Dough Roller CDR-2020

That is partially correct. The dough sheeter/roller tends to degas the dough, dependent to a great extent upon how thin you are trying to sheet the dough. This is why when dough is sheeted very thin using a sheeter/roller the finished crust has a flat edge and overall thinner cross section than when the same amount of dough is opened to the same size by hand. Hand forming has almost no effect upon the cell structure of the dough which explains why we get a more open crumb structure in the finished crust with hand formed crusts. If you allow the sheeted dough to proof (rise) after sheetng/rolling the cell structure will recover to some extent giving the finished crust more of the hand formed characteristics. The amount of post forming proofing that you will need to allow for the dough to recover will depend upon what thickness you are looking for in the finished crust as well as the dough formulation and shop conditions. My advice would be to sheet/roll out a number of skins, then take a skin every 10-minutes, dress and bake it. This will give you a pretty good idea of where you will need to be with regard to proofing time.
One place where I do like to use a sheeter/roller in when I make pan/deep-dish pizzas. In this case we are not reducing the dough as much in thickness so it is not being degassed as much, we then put it into an oiled pan and allow the dough to proof for 30 to 75-minutes depending upon what you are looking for in the finished crust, before dressing and baking. This results in a finished crust that is nice and flat (even) across the top (if that’s what you are looking for).
Now, to answer your question no, sheeting, no matter how much or little you proof the dough skin after forming will never give the same finished crust characteristics as a hand formed skin, but one that is made by running the dough through a sheeter/roller to only 2/3 - 3/4 of the finished diameter and then finished opening by hand to final diameter will come pretty close to having all of the fully hand tossed crust characteristics with the added benefit of being easier to form and with a more desirable center section having a more uniform thickness.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for all your advice

So is this also true for a dough press Tom?..If someone uses a dough press for thin crust pizza is it better to let it rise before rather than dressing and baking right away?..

A dough press really doesn’t degas the dough like a sheeter/roller does, instead, it breaks the larger cells into smaller gas cells and redistributes them pretty evenly across the entire dough piece. This is why in many cases you can get away with pressing the dough and then immediately dressing and baking it and still get a pretty decent finished thin crust, however if you don’t like the characteristics obtained in this manner, you can achieve a more open crumb structure by allowing the dough skin to proof/rest a short time between pressing and dressing/baking.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor