Mar 26, 2015 • By

Saving pizza one crust at a time

Have you heard of the Doughminators?

They’re kind of a big deal! In fact, you’ve probably enjoyed a pizza with a crust they’ve quite literally had a hand in.

This dedicated team of pizza crust experts with more than 100 years of collective experience works closely with pizzerias across the U.S. to help them get control of their dough and prevent crust catastrophes.

general mills foodservice

The Doughminators – Tom Santos, Bill Weekley and Tim Huff from General Mills Foodservice.

The Doughminators are Tom Santos, Bill Weekley and Tim Huff from General Mills Foodservice. They advise pizzerias on everything from what type of flour to use to the technical aspects of making dough – depending on what style of pizza is desired.

They share their knowledge with pizzerias at various industry events, and online at

“Whether it is New York style, deep dish or Neapolitan pizza, the crust is the foundation to any signature pizza,” says Tim. “It takes figuring out the perfect balance of ingredients along with technical background to achieve true pizza crust perfection.”

This week, the Doughminators have descended on the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas to save pizzas, one crust at a time.

They hosted their legendary Pizza Crust Boot Camp, a free seminar they have offered for more than 20 years to share the basics of dough formation as well as various dough-processing methods and troubleshooting.

international pizza expo

Tim Huff and Bill Weekley, at the 2015 International Pizza Expo, earlier this week in Las Vegas.

We caught up with Tim from the Pizza Expo floor to learn more about a day in the life of a Doughminator and what’s making news in the pizza world.

What qualifies you to be a Doughminator?

I have been working with pizzerias for 22 years. My expertise is with dough temperature control as well as a technical background in how ingredients function. However, I really aim to simplify the process for our pizzeria operators and help them to get consist results every time.

What’s new with pizza?  What are you seeing at Pizza Expo?

The trend toward artisan pizza and quality ingredients continues today. Today’s consumers have a sophisticated palate, are open to adventurous flavors and they appreciate seasonal and local ingredients. Pizzerias and even bakeries are responding and there is currently a resurgence of Naples-style pizza, which consists of a simple, delicious dough topped with fresh ingredients and a hot, fast bake.

What common crust catastrophes are you hearing from those attending your Pizza Crust Boot Camp this week?

Most of the problems that pizzerias encounter revolve around basic dough formation issues such as the dough won’t rise, it’s too tacky, blisters in the oven or has a soggy area in the center. We work with each individual pizzeria to get to the heart of their issue by discussing what pizza style they are striving for, the type of flour they are using, the amount of water necessary and the temperature of the dough at the time it’s prepared and baked.

international pizza expo

Bill Weekley works with dough, at the 2015 International Pizza Expo, earlier this week in Las Vegas.

What are some secrets to perfecting a pizza crust that even at-home pizza makers can use?

Everyone can make a great scratch pizza crust at home. It can take some trial and error but the key to pizza crust perfection, even for the home cook, are these three things:

*The right ratio of ingredients in the dough – flour, water, yeast, salt with the option of sugar and oil.

*A long, cool fermentation overnight in the refrigerator

*A very hot oven and a pizza stone

What is your favorite pizza?

I have tried frog leg meat on a pizza, but I will admit that my favorite pizza is definitely my own.

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