Learning the basics of using a hot dough press

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann explains how to choose—and use—the right type of hot press for your pizza crusts.



 

Q What’s the best hot press for my operation?

 

A Last month, we considered how using a dough press might require changes to your dough formula. Now let’s talk about the hot press itself. The hot press utilizes heat to improve the pressing of the dough and to form a skin over the surface of the dough. You can choose a press with a heated head only or one with both a heated head and platen. A press with a heated head only will form a dough skin on one side of the pressed dough piece, while the other side remains raw dough. Place the heated side down, and your dough will continue to rise, which is great for a thick crust or pan-style crust or if you need a thin-crust dough with greater potential to rise, especially around the edges during baking. Some hot presses have a recess in the heated head, which allows for the formation of a raised edge during pressing. In this case, the skin serves to lock in the raised edge, giving the finished crust a raised-edge appearance. 

Presses that have both a heated head and bottom/platen can form a skin on both sides of the dough for a somewhat cracker-like crust characteristic. These presses also control oven spring for a more uniform baked height, while the skin formation on both sides of the dough piece allow multiple press pieces to be stacked without sticking together.

For a press with a heated head and platen, set the temperature to around 190°F to 210°F, and the hold or dwell time should be adjusted to give the desired level of skin formation. A shorter dwell time (one or two seconds) yields very little skin formation, so you’ll get more oven spring during baking. A longer dwell time imparts a heavier skin, making the dough less sticky but more reluctant to rise during baking except at high temperatures. 

As you can see, dough presses can save time as you convert dough balls into pizza skins and, ultimately, crusts. But you’ll need to know how to formulate your dough (as described last month) to get the best results, and you’ll need to make sure you know how to use your press to achieve your desired crust characteristics. 

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Chef’s Corner: Pizzaiolo and rock musician Mick Mahan hits us with his best pizza shot.

In this exclusive Q&A, Pat Benatar’s bassist, owner of Parma Pizzeria Napoletana, talks about his love for all pizza styles and serving pies to rockers from REO Speedwagon, Toto and more.

Astoria: Pizza and espresso are a match made in Italy

Nothing compliments an Italian dessert like a well-made espresso or specialty coffee drink made with Astoria espresso machines.

Season’s eatings: How to harvest a bumper crop of profits throughout the year

Stuck in a rut? Start using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to rejuvenate your pizzeria’s menu while keeping your food dollars in the community.

5 effortless ways to improve your digital menu board and sell more pizza

With digital signage, your customers can see your menu in larger-than-life living color. Here’s how to use them to increase your sales and improve customer service.

The 2018 Pizza Power Report: A State-of-the-Industry Analysis

To stay competitive in the pizza business in 2018, independents will have to meet customers’ growing demand for speed, customization, delivery and convenience.

10 or 12? Advice on portion sizes for wing offerings

Will a six-count snack deal fly, and what’s the next step up from there?

Italian certified ingredients dominate the conversation at World Pizza Forum

PMQ's Missy Green takes a deeper look at the "Made in Italy" phenomenon.

What's Your Story? A pair of successful restaurateurs find a higher purpose with Little Box Pizza

This new concept with a conscience uses the power of pizza and small business ownership to turn lives around.

Get the gluten out with DeIorio's Fresh Prosciutto Gluten-Free Pizza

Serve your customers this prime pie made with fresh prosciutto, garlic and DeIorio's gluten-free pizza shells.

Will putting eggs in your dough leave you with egg on your face?

When it comes to improving your crust, eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags