Everyone loves a pizza and there is a vast range of choices when it comes to toppings and flavors. Most people have had a pizza in their lives but how many have tried to make one?
It is probably one of the easiest things to make, but if you want to make a traditional and authentic Italian pizza, that may take a bit more effort.
There are lots of tools and equipment to help make your pizza as perfect as possible and a pizza peel is one of the most important ones.
Yet there are many types to choose from so it may be daunting to know which one will work best for you.
This article will explain what a pizza peel is, and give you an insight into what kind of pizza peel you should look for and how this will help you make the perfect pizza.
What Is A Pizza Peel?
It is known as either a Pizza Peel or a Pizza Paddle. What it is essentially is a tool that has been designed to transfer the raw pizza from the work surface and into the hot oven.
This tool is ideally used when cooking your pizzas in a pizza oven outside or in a professional kitchen but can be used for a kitchen oven.
A Pizza Peel is also used to turn the pizza in the oven, to help it achieve an even bake.
A Pizza Peel is a simple-looking tool and is made up of two elements, which consists of a flat blade, which is also known as a carrying surface (this is what you place your pizza on), and a long handle.
The blade is quite wide in appearance because it needs to be large enough to hold your pizza, depending on what size you create.
The handle of a pizza peel is quite long, but that is to provide a stable grip and extended reach of the paddle.
As mentioned before, this tool has been designed to be used in an extremely hot oven, so the long handle helps you push the pizza inside the oven, without burning your hands.
Do I Need To Use A Pizza Peel?
You don’t have to have a pizza peel, as it is possible to make a great pizza without a pizza peel.
However, if you have a pizza oven and want to use it safely, then it is highly recommended that you invest in a pizza peel.
Also if you want to become more serious about your pizza making then buying a pizza peel is that first step into taking making pizzas seriously.
A pizza peel is the best option and easiest way to remove your pizza in and out of the oven.
If you are cooking your pizza in your kitchen oven then you don’t really need a pizza peel but if you are using a pizza oven or a wood-fired oven, you need one.
Also if you are cooking your pizza on pizza stones or pizza steels, it is highly advised that you use a pizza peel.
The pizza peel makes sure you stay safe and don’t cause yourself a serious injury. A lot of people say that once they start using a pizza peel, they can no longer do without it.
Different Types Of Pizza Peel
There are two types of Pizza Peels. You can get a metal and a wooden one. Alongside this, you can buy a peel with either a solid or perforated blade/carrying surface.
Most pizza peels have a solid carrying surface. This is a flat surface, where there are no holes, dents, or groves. Compared to a perforated blade which has lots of small holes on the carrying surface.
Perforated Peels are normally made with metal and feature holes on the surface. This helps the pizza dough stick less to the peel.
The holes on a metal peel also help remove any unwanted flour that is still stuck to the base of the pizza dough.
You want to remove this flour because if you leave the flour on and cook it, this will result in your pizza having a strange taste.
The flour will burn and create smoke in your hot oven, therefore giving your pizza and in particular your pizza crust a strange taste, that isn’t very nice to eat.
Apart from what they are made from and if they have holes or not, you can buy pizza peels in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
Different peels work better for different tasks, this mainly depends on what kind of peel you have.
Pizza Peels can be round, square or rectangular; they can have long or short handles and are either thick or thin.
A round pizza peel is useful to help you adjust the position of your pizza in the oven. It is also easy to remove your pizza from the oven with a round blade.
Yet the rectangular-shaped blade is a more traditional design. You still have a large surface area to lift the pizza into the oven.
The square-shaped blade also makes it easier to lift and take your pizza in and out of the oven.
However with a square-shaped blade, this has a smaller surface area so you need to make a smaller pizza, otherwise, this could affect your pizza when you try to take it out of the oven.
Some peels are more suited for turning your pizza in the oven, especially if they have a long handle. While other peels are better for transferring the pizza into and out of the oven.
The type of pizza peel you choose must depend on what you want to use it for. Also, the type of oven you have will greatly affect the type of peel you will choose.
Pizza Peel Thickness
The general rule is that the thinner your pizza peel is, then the easier it is to work with. This is because it is easier to get the blade under the pizza to move it around in the oven and remove it from the oven.
Metal peels are normally a lot thinner than wooden peels because it is easier to make metal thin enough. However, you don’t want your peel too thin otherwise then it will become too flimsy to use.
There is a balance that you need to find. You want your peel to be thin enough to be able to get under your pizza but you don’t want it too thin that it is difficult to use.
Ideally, you want a peel that is between 1 to 3mm in thickness.
Wooden Peels are thicker compared to metal peels because you can’t make the wood as thin as the metal.
Wooden Peels are better for transferring the pizza into the oven but are sometimes too thick to take the pizza out of the oven.
You may find that it is best to use a wooden peel to transfer your pizza into the oven, and then use a metal peel to turn and remove the pizza from the oven once it is cooked.
Wooden peels are just a bit too thick for removing the pizza from the oven and this could affect your pizza by either ruining the shape or crust.
Also it may take more effort to get the pizza onto the blade which could result in overcooking and burning your pizza.
If you want to use a wooden peel then you may want to consider having a metal peel on standby..
What Type Of Pizza Peel Handle Should I Use?
You can get pizza peel handles in a range of different sizes. What you need to be aware of is the size and type of pizza oven you have.
Generally longer handled pizza peels are used for commercial pizza ovens and wood-fired ovens. This is because these ovens are bigger than your oven at home, they also get a lot hotter.
If you are making pizza at home then a short-handled pizza peel will be more suited to you and easier to use.
One of the most important things about the handle on a pizza peel is that it needs to be comfortable.
You need to feel comfortable holding this tool so you can feel confident about moving and removing your pizza to and from the oven.
Handles are usually made from either wood or metal, but there are sometimes options for a plastic or rubber handle.
Plastic and rubber handles will improve your grip, but it depends on what feels right for you.
Overall, long handles are more suited for commercial ovens and pizza ovens, while short handles are more suited for home cooking.
Yet the type of handle depends on your preference and what you can grip the best.
How Do You Use A Pizza Peel?
Whatever pizza peel you choose, it must be bigger than the pizza you are making.
This is so your pizza crust won’t overhang on the blade, which could cause the pizza to break and alter the shape of your pizza.
However, the main purpose of a pizza peel is to move the pizza to and from the oven.
You can make your pizza on top of your chosen pizza peel and once it is completed you can take it to the oven.
Although it is recommended that you dust your peel with semolina flour, this is just to reduce the risk of the dough sticking to the peel, when you are trying to put it in the oven.
The flour helps the dough to slide off easier, but some experts have suggested shaking your pizza blade just before it goes into the oven.
This just makes sure that the pizza isn’t stuck, but also adds an authentic pizza taste and texture once cooked.
A metal peel will need more semolina than a wooden peel, just to make sure the pizza won’t stick.
Sometimes you need to move the pizza round in your oven to make sure it evenly cooks. As suggested above, if you need to move the pizza a thin metal pizza peel is advised as it makes the task easier.
However, if you are using a wood-fired oven, you need to be careful. Once you have turned your pizza, you must try to place the pizza back in the same place in the oven from where it came from.
Otherwise, the oven could burn the base and crust before the cheese has melted. If you do reach a point where your base is cooked and your toppings need some help.
Then put your pizza on the blade and lift the pizza to the top of the oven. The air is hotter at the top of the oven so the toppings and cheese will cook quicker, while the base and crust won’t burn.
When removing your pizza, you don’t need to worry about your pizza getting stuck to the blade anymore.
A metal pizza peel is recommended when removing your pizza as it is easier to get under the pizza than a wooden pizza peel.
Removing the pizza is probably the easiest part of using a pizza peel as long as you have a thin peel.
Wooden vs Metal Pizza Peel
There are pros and cons to both, depending on what it will be used for. Wooden pizza peels are more of a traditional pizza tool, which has been used for centuries.
Your pizza is less likely to stick with a wooden pizza peel. This is because wood has a rougher and uneven surface.
Wooden pizza peels are best for transferring your pizza from the countertop to the oven.
The downside with wooden pizza peels is that they are a tad too thick for removing pizza from the oven.
Also with wooden pizza peels, you need to be careful to avoid cracks and warping from high heat and moisture.
Metal pizza peels are a lot thinner than wooden ones and ideal for removing the pizza from the oven. Most metal pizza peels are made from stainless steel or aluminum.
They do require less maintenance than wooden pizza peels. The only downside is that pizza dough sticks a lot more to metal pizza peels.
There are ways to combat this, but it is known that your pizza is known to stick more to metal than wood.
Although a perforated metal pizza peel allows air to travel under the dough, which helps reduce the likelihood of the dough sticking to the peel.
It does come down to personal preference, which one you would want to buy.
Metal pizza peels are more durable and easier to remove and move the pizza around the oven, yet your pizza is more likely to stick to these peels.
Compared to a wooden pizza peel which is seen as more traditional but is preferred for taking the pizza into the oven and not out.
Pizza Peel Maintenance
Wooden pizza peels take a bit more maintenance than metal ones.
You need to be careful when you are cleaning this tool because wood is susceptible to changing its shape when wet, which you don’t really want.
Don’t put your wooden peel in the dishwasher and don’t submerge it in water, otherwise, cracks may form on your blade.
The best way to clean this type of peel is with a damp cloth and to dry it thoroughly before you put it away.
If there is any dough on your blade, then you should scrap this off with a dough scraper, preferably a plastic one.
Experts have advised not to cut your pizza or anything on a wooden blade as this will mark and scratch it. This can cause your peel to break faster.
To help extend the life of your peel and to prevent any damage, every 3 months, apply 1 to 2 tablespoons of mineral oil to the wood and massage it in.
This isn’t necessary, but if you want your peel to last a long time, then this oil could help maintain your peel.
When choosing your oil to apply, make sure that the oil is food-safe, otherwise, the oil could make you ill.
Metal pizza peels are a lot easier to manage. You can clean it like everything else in your kitchen, with hot soapy water.
Unlike the wooden peel, you don’t need to worry about scraping the remaining dough off the peel as it will just slide off.
What Is The Best Way To Cook My Pizza?
There are many ways now to cook your pizza at home. There are the options of your kitchen oven, pizza ovens, wood-fired ovens, and even pizza steels and stones.
The kitchen oven is an easy and reliable way to cook your pizza.
The only downside is that your home oven doesn’t get as hot as traditional pizza/outdoor ovens so your pizza may take a little longer to cook.
Yet this won’t affect the texture of your pizza, you just have to wait a little longer for it to cook.
Pizza ovens and wood-fired ovens cook your pizzas faster and give you a more authentic pizza look and texture. This is due to the extremely high temperatures these ovens get up to.
Traditional chefs may use these to create authentic Italian pizzas.
Although it is easier to burn your pizza in these ovens because of the high temperatures, you need to keep your eye on your pizza when cooking.
You can cook your pizza on a piece of pizza steel in your oven. Pizza Steels are made from steel and conduct heat really well. Due to the heat that these steels retain, this means your pizza will cook fast.
Pizza steels are very durable and can last for a very long time. They create a crispy base and a great flavor.
Compared to pizza stones, which are made from ceramic. However, like pizza steels, pizza stones can be put in your oven and help cook your pizza.
Pizza stones don’t collect as much heat as pizza steels so your pizza may take a little longer to cook compared to pizza steels.
However when you put your pizza on a pizza stone, the crust will begin to cook immediately, just like it would in a traditional pizza oven.
Whichever way you decide to cook your pizza, you do have options to help you mimic the traditional pizza cooking techniques. If you don’t have a pizza oven, you can use the oven in your kitchen.
You can also use pizza stones or steels to help you achieve the same crust and base you would get from a pizza oven.
Just using your kitchen oven to cook your pizza is fine but it will mean your pizza takes a little longer to cook.
Pizza Stones and steels help create that authentic texture and hurry the cooking time up.
Nothing can really beat a pizza from a pizza oven but you have options if you don’t have one to create the perfect pizza in your kitchen too.
What Makes A Great Pizza?
There are lots of recipes out there for all different types of pizzas. To make the best pizza you should use a tried and tested recipe that you know will work.
Also, you should use a recipe that you have confidence in because then your pizza will turn out better, as you know what you are doing and what you are looking for.
To create the perfect pizza you should use the best ingredients possible. The type of flour that you use can affect the outcome of your pizza.
00 Flour is recommended for the perfect pizza because it is a finely ground flour that has been used by Italians for years to create that authentic taste and perfect texture.
Pizza doesn’t have many ingredients, it’s all about making a good dough, adding a tomato or bbq sauce, cheese and toppings. If you use good quality ingredients, then your pizza is going to taste better.
Once you have mixed your dough together, you must remember to prove your dough.
You need to be careful not to over-proof your dough, otherwise, when you come to cook your pizza, the dough won’t rise. You could end up with a tough and chewy crust.
If you leave your dough on the countertop, then it should only take a couple of hours to rise.
Depending on if you make your dough in advance or not, when it’s time to roll your dough out, you need to make sure your dough is at room temperature.
If your dough is too cold then when you are trying to stretch your dough into shape, it could tear or keep pinning back to where it started.
Try to be gentle with your dough, because you don’t want any holes to form which could cause the sauce to seep through. If tiny holes appear, you can easily pinch the edges together to seal the little gaps.
For the perfect pizza, you need to consider the peel that you are going to use. Preferably you will assemble your pizza on a wooden peel, to be able to easily put it in the hot oven.
Then a metal peel will be used to move and remove the peel from the hot oven.
Whatever peel you decide to use, you must make sure everything is dusted with flour, from the peel to your work surface when you are rolling and stretching your dough.
You want to make sure that your dough sticks to surfaces as little as possible.
Even when your dough is on the peel, before you put it in the oven, lightly shake the peel just to double-check the pizza doesn’t stick. If it moves then you know your pizza will easily glide into the oven.
It could be easy to add lots of flavors to your pizza but you should try not to overfill your pizza with lots of toppings.
The toppings you put on your pizza, the heavier your pizza will become and the longer it will take to cook. It could also make your pizza wetter and won’t come out as crispy as you’d want it to.
By not overloading your pizza you will have a crisper pizza that is easier to remove from the oven, and cooked in a quicker time.
The pizza peel is an essential piece of equipment when it comes to making the perfect pizza. The peel helps keep the shape of your pizza and helps move your pizza round in the hot oven.
There are a wide variety of peels to choose from so you can perfect your pizzas.
Both metal and wooden peels are useful to have. The handle on your peel is extremely important as you need to be able to grip your peel comfortably.
Even if you cook your pizza in your kitchen oven, you can use a pizza peel, you just don’t have as long of a handle.
To make the perfect pizza you need to make sure you use the best quality ingredients possible and not to let your pizza dough overproof.
Once assembled you should move your dough using a pizza peel. The peel is a useful tool and once you use one, you may not go back to not using one ever again.
The perfect pizza is easy to achieve, but it may take some practice. However, it won’t take you too long until you are making your own pizzas perfectly.