VCM Question

All I have ever used is 60 qt. Hobart mixers. I was wondering about switching to a VCM machine for dough and cheese. I see they make batches much faster. Could I expect the dough to come out the same? Also in regards to the cheese is it more diced than shredded? Any info including make & model suggestions would be great.


VCM = tougher dough. Used one for several months after using the Hobart. Went back to the Hobart and the dough was much better. If you do use one, cooler water and more of it is needed.

We kept the VCM to do our sauce and cheese. Yes the cheese is diced which is better imo. Diced cheese is easily separated and is easier to spread on a pie. Great labor savings.

Additionally, look for your dough mixing time to be in the 60 to 75-second range. Be aware that there are two different cutters for the VCM. The flat, dull one is for dough, and the sharp, curved one is for cutting things like cheese. Also, regardless of the type of yeast that you use, it must be suspended in a small portion of 95F water before you add it to the mixer.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hi Jimmy D:

None of our clients use vcm’s fot mixing dough.

George Mills

Getting ready to open 2nd location and using a 40 qt VCM. We use active dry yeast with the VCM and mix for 2 minutes

ADY works well with a VCM as it must first be hydrated in a small portion of warm (100F) water. If you were using IDY, it would also need to be hydrated in this application, but instead of using 100F water, you would use 95F water. and if using compressed yeast, you could just toss it into the VCM along withthe water and jog it a couple times to suspend the yeast, then add the flour and other ingredients and mix.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Why is that? Is it a quality issue?


Could I expect to reproduce the same dough as from my Hobart 60 Qt? Also, is there any brand recommendations?


You can get a similar dough in your Hobart 60-quart mixer.
Some of the issues with using the VCM is that you can overmix a dough in just SECONDS, (if you ain’t timing the mix time of your VCM with something like a Gra-Lab timer, you’re not hitting the same dough development with each and every mix) where as with a planetary mixer, it will take minutes, and a bunch of them at that to over mix a dough. Also, due to their high mixing speed, VCMs tend to cause the dough to heat up a lot more than the planetary mixers do. And, you’ve got to hydrate any type of dry yeast that is used in the VCM. In a planteary mixer, you can add instant dry yeast (IDY) directly to the dry flour without the need to hydrate it, this saves time, and results in greater uniformity in yeast performance.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I use a VCM, and I must say I LOVE IT!! Now I realize most PMQ’ers are mixer people :slight_smile: But the speed I get from the VCM is awesome! Is it a tougher dough? I cant honestly say, VCM is all I have ever used. and there is a certain way it must be done, so it is all a matter of preference. And I have a 40 quart. The MOST that can be made in it is 30 pounds of dough, I have tried serveral times to make more, but it cant handle it. So if 30 pounds at a time is ok with you, then go for it. If you need to make 60 lbs, you have to do it in 2 batches, but it takes 30 seconds in the VCM to mix. And you have to use cold water. Hot water is used to proof yeast, but the rest is cold. If you want my recipe pm me and ill send you a copy of what I do. If you were closer I’d let you come on by and see it, so if your ever in the Canadian West Coast give me a shout, lol :slight_smile:
Not only that but VCM’s can be purchased pretty cheaply :slight_smile:
As for dicing cheese, I do have the blade, but i’ve never used it. I dont know how much to put in maybe someone who has a VCM could let me know how many blocks, or pounds they do at a time so i can test it. I dont want to do it on the fly and find out I have messed it up :frowning: especially with cheese prices here in Canada!

As usual Tom Has the answers. I an not a pizza baker all I can report is what my clients tell me.
I know of no baker that uses a VCM for dough. I think the consensus of opinion is that the slowest gentlest mixing produces the best product.

George Mills

I’ve figured it out George. The people who want VCMs get them from someone else because you don’t sell VCMs. Maybe if you bought some VCM’s and advertised them for sale you would find that your customers buy VCMs
The people who want Hobarts buy them from you because you sell them.
It’s kind of like me saying my customers don’t like stromboli because they don’t buy them from me
Though if I put them on my menu, they might possibly buy them

He’s giving you the experience “he” has in the business. If George only gave self-serving advice on these forums he would have been called out on it long ago.

Operationally, the VCM’s are a dream – huge labor and time saver. But, there “is” a difference in the finished product.

I think the VCM’s are worth the investment for the cheese alone so if you buy one and it doesn’t work out you still have use for it. That’s one way to look at it anyway . . .

I’ve worked with pizzerias as well as pizza chains in Latin Americawhere they use VCMs as a general purpose mixer for making everything from the dough to processing fresh picked tomatoes into sauce, and then dicing the cheese. I’ve also worked with a shop in Istanbul, Turkey where their only mixer was a VCM. Due to the small size of the shop they made fresh dough several times during the day. With the fast mixing time, it was really easy to run a batch of dough every three hours or so. I think it all depends upon what a person is used to using, or gets started using that determines what they will use in the future. As for price, you can’t beat the price of a VCM with a dull stick. Compared to other mixers, they’re pretty darn cheap, and because they’re direct drive (right off of the motor) there isn’t too much to go wrong with them, and don’t forget the fact that they’re portable. When was the last time anyone ever pushed a 60 or 80-quart Hobart planetary mixer aside when they were finished with it?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hi Jackaloo:

We have sold hundreds of vcm’s we have chain accounts that put one in every shop. They do not use them to make dough they use them to grind up cheese, chop up green peppers etc.

As I say I do not use equipment, I sell it and I just report what our many clients tell us and almost none of our customers use vcm’s for dough. Apparently they believe that a mixer does a better Job. Actually Most professional bakers would probably say that a spiral mixer is better than the regular planetary mixer. That’s just another opinion to ad to the mix.

George Mills

I started out with 60 qt mixers and put them in my first 3 shops. I opened a commissary in the back of shop 4 and went with a VCM. I would take the Pepsi challenge any day with either of them, and bet you couldn’t find a difference. With my mixers we did a 8 minute mix at the slowest speed, and that translated to a 90 second mix in the VCM. I always had the idea that the faster speeds on the mixer would make the engine burn out faster, and that is the only reason we used the slowest speed (could be completely unfounded there though, is that the case Tom or George?).

We used the same pre-mixing operations with both. 8 Minutes of yeast hydration (sugar, water and yeast) then added to 12 Kg of flour mixed slightly with the salt in the mixer/VCM. We added oil at the 6 minute point with the mixer, and at about the 30 second mark with the VCM. Basically at the point when the flour was wet enough not to be encapsulated with oil.

I haven’t heard of a gra-lab timer, but I have never seen a VCM without an automatic timer attached, and couldn’t recommend one at all. I could probably eyeball either of them, but wouldn’t want to. No reason to take the chance on over or under mixed dough.

@Pirate - Tough dough, as was mentioned is usually just a sign of over mixing, and in a VCM, even a few seconds is really has a large impact on your dough.