A pizza dough mixer is a home or commercial electrical mixing appliance. Most mixers used to make pizza dough are also used for general mixing purposes, with special attachments suitable for mixing pizza dough. These mixers can be large, heavy-duty commercial appliances or they can be smaller stand-up or hand-held home kitchen tools. Many home bread machines can also be used to mix pizza dough.
A commercial-grade pizza dough mixer comes in two types. One is a large horizontal mixer. These mixers are shaped like large boxes, and the ingredients are front-loaded into a drum. The mixing arm turns horizontally in the drum, with different shapes available for different types of dough. The pizza dough attachment resembles the hook attachments on smaller mixers. The other type of commercial pizza dough mixer is a larger version of a home stand-up mixer, with a bowl mounted on a stand and an arm that enters the bowl from the top.
Making pizza dough requires first blending the wet ingredients. Wet ingredients are always water and oil, and might also include variations such as eggs or beer. Yeast can be added as these ingredients are mixed, but not all pizza dough contains yeast. Once the wet ingredients are blended, flour is slowly added and the dough becomes stiff. As the dough is mixed, the gluten in the flour becomes moist and form strings which make the dough elastic and workable.
Pizza dough can be made by hand, but people who often make pizza might use an electric mixer to save work. Making dough with a pizza dough mixer requires two attachments: A whisk or beater attachment to mix the wet ingredients, and a hook attachment to mix the dough as the flour is added. This attachment can be a single hook- or spiral-shaped arm, or it can be two spiral pieces that turn in opposite directions. The mixer's motor and attachments need to be strong enough to work stiff dough for several minutes.
Pizza dough is not as stiff as bread dough. While bread dough usually has to be kneaded for up to 15 minutes, pizza dough only needs to be kneaded just enough to make it workable, usually for a few minutes. Often, a small hand-held mixer with a hook or spiral attachment is strong enough to handle making pizza dough in the home kitchen. It is also possible to use a home bread machine for mixing pizza dough. These machines often have a “pizza dough” setting, and most have a timer that shuts the machine off and prevents over-mixing.