A pizza peel is a great tool to have when getting the pizza out of a hot oven and can be invaluable to those who regularly make homemade pizza.
If you have ever seen someone use a pizza peel before, you may think that this is a relatively simple task, but in truth, learning how to use a wooden pizza peel might take a little practice to get right.
But don’t fret! We have got your covered, and in this article, we will be looking at how to use a pizza peel at home with our simple step by step guide.
What Is A Pizza Peel?
A pizza peel is a tool that is often used with a pizza oven. Rather than placing the pizza (or another type of food) into the heat of the wood-fired oven, the chef will place the pizza onto the pizza peel. These handy kitchen tools can be used to put pizza both in and out of the oven and come in several materials – most commonly wood and metal peels.
Is A Wood Or Metal Pizza Peel Better?
In the main, how well you get on with your pizza peel will have a bearing on which material you like best. However, there are pros and cons to both.
Wooden pizza peels are far better if you do not want a greasy pizza. This is because when you place the raw dough onto them, they are far more easily able to absorb the oil. In turn, this gives you a far less greasy pizza dough and a more crisp crust once the pizza has finished baking.
It is also wise to think about the design of the pizza peel, and the wooden peel is far easier to grip. The last thing you want is to lose your grip on the pizza peel before the pizza is safely in the oven and have to start from scratch.
Pizza screens must be used on other metal peels, but this is not the case with a wooden peel. The pizza will not get stuck to the peel so not only do you not need to worry about this extra job, but you can feel confident that you will get perfect pizza every time.
Finally, a wooden pizza peel is far better looking than a metal pizza peel. If you are at all concerned with how your kitchen looks then it might be a good idea to lean towards a wooden peel for baking your toppings to perfection.
It is only fair that we look at the metal pizza peel too and see how it measures it. Of course, being made from aluminum and other light metal, these pizza peels tend to be a little more lightweight and easier to move around. What’s more, since the metal pizza peel is thin, it is much easier to slide under the pizza when it has finished baking.
If you do not want a standard design, a metal pizza peel will give you options in terms of shape and size. They are far more varied, and some are extremely long.
In short, it is very much down to personal choice, but a wooden peel will stop the dough from sticking, remove excess oil and make the pizza better with a crispy crust.
Can A Wooden Pizza Peel Go In The Oven?
Most wooden pizza peels come with a short handle – although there are some with a long handle out there, they simply aren’t as common.
If you are using a normal oven then using a wood pizza peel with a short handle is a good option. However, if you want to use a pizza peel with a wood-fired oven, a long handle is going to avoid you getting burnt.
In any case, you should not leave wood pizza peels in the oven – your pizza stone is the surface on which the pizza is cooked so you should make sure that you let that do the work and take pizza peels out of the oven while the pizza is baking.
Some people will make their pizza on a wood peel and then transfer it onto a metal peel with a longer handle when it is time to transfer it to the pizza stone in the oven.
How Do You Prepare A Pizza Peel?
To stop the pizza dough from sticking to the peel, it is important to prepare it before it goes into the pizza oven. This applies to both the metal peel and wooden pizza peels. Although, you can do things a little differently for each one.
When making your pizza dough, it is important not to make it on the pizza peel – this tool is for inserting the pizza into the oven, not for preparation.
Flour is an essential component in pizza making, so make sure you use plenty of it. Place some flour on the surface you are going to stretch your dough as well as sprinkling a good helping onto the pizza peel before you place your pizza onto it. Once the homemade pizza is on the wooden peel, you must be quick because it will soak up the flour from the get-go and this can make the pizza start sticking to the peel.
You might also use a piece of parchment paper, especially if you are using a metal peel. This will stop the dough from sticking to the peel whilst it is inside the hot oven. However, if parchment paper is used, you must be sure that it does not remain in the oven or on the pizza stone as this can cause it to ignite thanks to the extreme heat that the oven gives off.
How Do You Use A Wooden Pizza Peel?
Before you get cooking, you should make sure that you know everything to need to about using a pizza peel. This will help you avoid mistakes and give you incredible pizzas every time.
As we mentioned, from the first moment that your pizza makes contact with the surface of the peel, you will need to get to work adding the toppings because if you don’t, the dough will absorb the flour and start to stick. But to avoid this, you can have the toppings you are using ready to go even before you have stretched the dough.
Once the dough is made and ready, you can go back to your toppings and pop them on quickly – this is the first, and most important way to avoid the pizza becoming stuck. Remember, that when dough is at room temperature, it is far more likely to stick than when it is fresh from the fridge – however, cooking dough while it is still cool is never the best idea.
As you are getting your pizza ready for baking, you can keep moving it, this is noe of the best ways to stop it from sticking and we would recommend that you add a little more flour if you see that your pizzas are getting stuck, even if it is just a little bit.
When it is time to get the pizza into the oven and onto the pizza stone, you may need to practice a little to get the transfer right. But there is a technique that can help.
Be sure that you have a very hot stone otherwise, your pizza won’t start cooking as quickly as it should and this will affect the overall result. When you are sure that the pizza stone is hot enough, you can get ready to make the transfer. Doing this quickly and confidently is the best way.
Grab hold of the pizza peels handle and move it quickly towards the pizza stone. If you get this right, the pizza should have its own momentum and will slide towards the pizza stone, as you begin to pull the handle back towards yourself. Imagine serving a tennis ball sideways on, perhaps.
If you did opt to use a metal peel, then you will notice that the aluminum gets hot in a short amount of time. You should be sure that the pizza will slide off the first moment you put it in the oven, otherwise, it may begin cooking before it come off the pizza peel and this is another one of the things that may cause it to stick.
When it is time to return back to your pizza oven and take your pizza out, it is important to be confident in using your wooden peel to do the job.
You can use a wooden peel to take the pizza out of the oven once it has finished baking, but this is notoriously difficult (use a turning peel to move the pizza while cooking) and will take some practise to peel pizza this way. That said, the pizza peel is a great tool and many chefs love to use them and learn how to operate them properly. This is also something that will add fun to making pizza at home.
Alternatively, you can opt for a metal peel to remove your pizza as well as turning it during the baking process. There are many small-size pizza peels that are great for turning and it is far easier to get your pizza out of the oven after baking using one of these metal peels.
If you still wish to use a wood peel, you should choose one that has a good slant at the end so that as you guide the handle, the paddle will slide directly back under the pizza.
Pizza peels are handy tools that allow you to put your pizza into the oven and take it back out again. If you are using a wood-fired pizza oven and pizza stone, you will need a pizza peel for the best and easiest transfer.
There are wood and metal peels but wood feels more authentic and can look a lot nicer. Furthermore, these pizza peels will soak up a lot of the oil within the dough and your pizza will be less likely to stick to the wood. However, they can also be more tricky to use due to their smaller handle and heavy design. But that doesn’t mean that home pizza chefs should be put off.
When you put your pizza on top of the wood peel, be sure to use lots of flour and slide it into the oven quickly. As you move the pizza peel, the pizza will naturally slide as long as it hasn’t gotten stuck. After a few minutes of baking, you can get your pizza back out using a long handle metal peel in a wood oven or a smaller wood peel if you use a conventional oven.
It will take much trial and error and a lot of practice, but once you are confident in cooking pizza with your peel, you will never look back.