A pizza peel is basically a large spatula-shaped tool that is used by pizza makers to place the pizza inside the oven and get it out when it is done cooking. A pizza peel is a must-have for every pizza maker and enthusiast. A pizza peel can serve many purposes during the rigorous exercise of making a top-notch pizza.
- A pizza peel is used to slide the pizza into the oven and get it out without spilling the ingredients of the pizza.
- A pizza peel is used to carefully place the pizza directly on the hot surface without burning your hands.
- It can also be used to turn the pizza inside the oven during baking.
Types of Pizza Peels
Pizza peels come in various shapes and sizes and are made with different types of materials to suit the taste of the user’s preference and workspace. There have been lots of debates amongst pizza enthusiasts as to which is the best. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of pizza peels.
The debate on the best pizza peel is mainly based on the material used to make the peel. There are two main materials used to make pizza peels:
Wooden pizza peels are carved from hardwoods, and they are the traditional peel used by pizza makers. It’s the most popular form of pizza peels used worldwide. Though this is the most popular material, it also comes with its own downsides.
- Can be burned by fire
- Is difficult to clean up, absorbs moisture, and retains odor with constant use
- Doesn’t last for a long time
The metal pizza peel can be made from two materials - steel or aluminum. Metal materials are easier to clean, are thinner, and last longer because they don’t get damaged much when they are hit on surfaces. Metal also doesn’t absorb moisture or burn. A metal pizza peel also comes with its downsides, as it sticks to the pizza during baking and can be heavy.
Pizza peels can come in either a rectangular shape or a round shape.
Pizza peels can also be differentiated by their handles. Some have short handles and some have long handles.
How to Use a Pizza Peel: A Step-by-Step Guide
Knowing how to use a pizza peel is very important so as to be able to efficiently make baking the pizza easier for the baker. Though this is a very important part of the baking process, it requires practice to be able to perform perfectly.
Pizza makers have different ways to carry out this exercise, but there are basic steps to using this tool. Let’s take a look at some steps on how to use a pizza peel.
- Prepare, stretch, and shape your dough based on the shape of your pizza peel.
- Dust the surface of the peel with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the peel.
- Place the dough on the peel and stretch it further to fit the shape of the peel.
- Add cheese, sauce, toppings, and every other ingredient on the dough carefully without spilling any on the pizza peel.
- Occasionally jerk the peel as you add the sauce and cheese to the dough to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the peel.
- Open the oven and place the dough on the grill or oven stone by swiftly making a back and forth movement using your wrist until the dough moves off the peel.
- Close the oven and allow the pizza to bake.
- Occasional turns and shifts can be done with the peel.
- When the pizza is done, carefully slide the peel under the pizza and retrieve it from the oven.
While using this tool, there are a couple of things to avoid to make sure your pizza comes out perfectly.
- Make sure to carefully and swiftly drop the pizza on the oven stone without shaking or pulling the pizza, as it might lose its shape and make your pizza look imperfect.
- Always jerk the dough when adding sauce to prevent the dough from sticking to the peel.
How To Prevent the Dough From Sticking
Pizza sticking to a peel is one of the biggest challenges faced when baking a pizza. This is experienced when you try to deliver the pizza into the oven and swiftly move the peel to slide the pizza in, but the pizza refuses to budge. It is very frustrating to experience, as it ruins the entire effort of the baker.
This sticking can be caused by dropping the sauce on the peel or improper preparation of the dough, and it can also be influenced by the material that the peel is made of. This can be tackled by taking the following steps:
- Do not stretch your dough on the pizza peel - prepare it on a separate surface before you transfer it to the pizza peel.
- Dust the pizza peel with flour. This reduces the contact between the dough and the pizza peel and prevents sticking.
- Once the dough is placed on the peel, every other exercise should be done quickly before the flour absorbs water from the dough and starts sticking.
- Avoid adding excess toppings to the dough to avoid overloading the dough.
- Always make sure that the dough is at room temperature to reduce moisture absorption.
- Most importantly, always jerk the peel periodically to quickly prevent sticking before loading the pizza into the oven.
Always make sure to pick a pizza peel that perfectly fits your preference. Long-handled pizza peels are better used for commercial producers who use a much larger oven, and short-handled pizza peels can be used for indoor pizza-baking.
Long-handled metal peels might not always be perfect for commercial producers, as they are heavier than their short-handled counterparts, which makes them difficult to handle swiftly. Make sure to always clean the peel after each use to always keep it in good condition. Efficiently using the peel is a very detailed task, but it can be perfected through consistent practice.