What does hand-tossed mean?

On a recent family excursion we decided to try Woodstock’s Pizza. It’s always good to see what others are doing. The top of the menu board sign states in large print that they serve hand-tossed pizza. So I watch the process. The employee sends the dough ball through a Somerset 2 pass sheeter, grabs the skin, tosses it in the air 1 time and plops it onto a pan for dressing. Of coarse I’m freaking out thinking yeah, technically, it was tossed in the air, but this claim seems misleading as I would expect an entirely hand-stretched dough. The menu board never stated that it was hand stretched, only hand-tossed and indeed, the employee did toss the skin in the air, so legally they are doing as stated but the language seems glib.

I see this all the time when I am on the road. I also tend to roll my eyes a bit at the technicality, but the average customer is usually none the wiser.

All of my pizza is hand tossed. By this I mean entirely stretched by hand. At the very least I would say that it is misleading but as stated earlier the average customer is “none the wiser”

Do people really care if it is hand tossed or sheeted? Do they know any difference in the two?
Does it make it any better than sheeted?
If the concept works then all good but my experience is that people just want to buy a good pizza.

I would make one comment that a couple of years on the TT has taught me. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or saying or whatever. Make the best pizza that you can and sell it accordingly. If you offer a great product and do it consistantly then the customers will come back and hopefully spread some good word of mouth advertising. It seems the people on here that always worry too much about the other guy do nothing more than drive themselves crazy. It also seems that nobody likes ads that call out the competition for lying about their products or processes. Yes you might get a laugh over some of what you find but I think just concentrating on your product will achieve better results in the long run…and that is the goal…I think! :shock:

You’ve never seen the P.H. “hand tossed”. When they came out with it I just had to go see how they did it. You were fortunate, as the pizza that you saw sounds like it actually had some air time, the one that I saw received what I recognized more as a “fluffing” that a “toss”. My own personal feeling is that if the dough skin is opened the majority of the way by means of tossin and spinning it in the air, I’m willing to call it “hand tossed” because it still provides the unique characteristics of a dough skin that has been fully opened by hand. When I see stuff like that, I just snicker to myself and say “I know better”, eat the pizza and enjoy it for what it is.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Perhaps you need to make a Youtube video showing how “hand tossed” your pizza is…

I believe Jeff is putting together some new video for our web site that includes hand tossed pizza. It should be up very soon.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I agree with Royster’s suggestion: Show your process vs. using a roller and explain why that makes your product superior. Talk about how much more skill and practice it takes to throw dough. A video is a great way to do that. It likely won’t gain you any converts, but it will reinforce your brand among those who are already your fans.

To play devil’s advocate to the opening post, I think of “hand tossed” as the opposite of a “pan” pizza. No matter how the dough was formed, it’s just not cooked in a pan. Maybe that’s a Chicago thing?

To me, the term “Hand tossed” should include both “hand” and “toss” of some sort. Words ususally do have meaning. I am mostly like Dr. Lehmann in that I smile or grimace and eat what I now know was served. I ALWAYS look into the kitchen to see the dough and the oven. Also general cleanliness.

There is a very perceivable different between fully sheeted, and partially sheeted and mostly opened by hand. Texture is different. not everyone can feel the difference, but I made a point of learning it after a discussion here on the 'Tank some 4 or 5 years ago. I find I prefer the texture of hand opened skins when available.