The way these two forming methods affect the dough and finished crust characteristics is quite significant. The sheeter tends to both put a lot of work/energy into the dough, sometimes even causing the dough to become tough and elastic like during the forming or shaping process. It also tends to de-gas the dough to some extent. Generally, this results in a finished crust that has a slightly tougher, and more bread like internal cell/grain structure.
The press, on the other hand, does very little degassing of the dough. Instead, it redistributes the gas throughout the dough in round shaped cells. Depending upon the amount of gas present in the dough at the time of pressing, these cells can be quite small and evenly round, possibly resembling that of pound cake. If there isn’t much gas to be redistributed, the cells can be quite large and open. Because there is so little work put into the dough as a result of pressing, very little toughening of the dough occurs. The result is a finished crust with the potential to be lighter and more tender than a sheeted crust.
In the production of thick crust pizza, where it will be necessary to allow the dough to rise for a period of time prior to baking, a hot press forming method might have a decided advantage over other forming methods. The heat transferred to the dough can effectively jump-start the yeast into action providing for a shorter proofing time.
Neither of these forming methods is better than the other. They’re just different, and they produce different characteristics in the finished crust.
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