I intentionally put this one last, since I know most people will have peeled away from the slideshow by now. Hahaha. We had to don smocks, hairnets, and beard nets. Yes, beard nets. I had never heard of those before. Don't worry, Michiganders ... I did not get near enough the dough to contaminate it!
A gigantor bowl of dough ingredients just before the mix head came down. I couldn't help thinking of Cyberdyne Systems. I'd be tempted to say that this place probably spills more flour in a day than I use in a year, but the floor was actually fairly clean.
What Lies Beneath
Oh. I should probably zoom out quickly and give you the setting. The Domino's Supply Chain Center for the Ann Arbor/Detroit area of Michigan is pretty nondescript-looking from the outside. It looks like thousands of other corporate-park facilities nationwide. You've probably zoomed past warehouses like this as you motor down the interstate unaware of what lurks within. Speaking of which, let's go back inside....
Sweet Tooth, Anyone?
This silo holds flour and pumps it out to the production floor.
"There are only six ingredients in pizza dough," said Larry Manning, the company's supply chain program director. "Can anyone name them?"
In Domino's pizza dough, those ingredients are flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast, and oil, the last of which is stored in this prosaically labeled tank.
Heading to the Conveyor
The doughmaster pushes the finished dough into a sort of elevator that lifts the bowl and dumps it into a hopper so the balling process can begin. See the videos in the actual post for the thing in action.
The cutter portions out dough balls into various sizes for small, medium, and large pizzas. After it's cut, it goes into a "rounder" to shape it into balls.
Down the Line
Heading out of the rounder, the dough begins its short run on the conveyor belt.
Like the TSA, But for Pizza
Dough balls speed through an X-ray machine that scans them for foreign objects and kicks out any balls that fail. Think of it as a "Do Not Pie" list.
After the dough comes out of the X-ray machine, it wends its way around some twists and turns to a couple employees who pull it off the line and sort it into plastic trays with the aid of templates. (The templates have holes cut out where the dough should be placed and are then removed when the tray is full, leaving the dough.) The dough rests here and cools to 35°F before being loading onto refrigerated trucks.