How to Use a Pizza Peel: An Expert’s Guide
I am a pizza enthusiast. Pizza ranks as one of the most favorite foods among Americans. Nearly 13 percent of the entire American population consumes pizza each day. What’s more, pizza sales amount to approximately $13 billion. Hence it is a significant contributor to the American national economy per annum. It has even been speculated that the amount of money Americans spend on pizza is equivalent to almost a third of global expenditure on pizza.
But do Americans know how to use the best pizza peel to prepare their favorite flavor of pizza? Though they like eating pizza, a negligible number of Americans actually prepare their pizza. Therefore, Americans seem only to enjoy the eating bit, rather than the preparation of pizza.
So, a pizza peel is a tool that is used to place pizzas in the oven as well as taking them out upon getting cooked. Read more on how to use, clean, and avoid sticking while using peels.
The Main Types of Pizza Peels
Pizza peels are usually categorized into various classes based on size, material, and shape. All these have been designed to suit various sorts of pizzas, working areas, and pizza-lengths. In terms of construction material, pizza peels might consist of wood, aluminum, or metal. Various materials contribute to the diverse characteristics and cooking performances.
One more key trait that can distinguish peels is shape and size, i.e., small or big, and round or rectangular. The selection of the peel usually depends on the requirements of the cook.
Shape: Rectangular or Round
Rounded peels have a prolonged grip that has gentle and regular milling over the curve. This permits the cook to lift the pizza sideways, aside from the front. What’s more, the beveled corners make the pizza be nearer to the inner sections of the stove. This enhances effective handling and baking efficiency.
Rectangular peels are more useful for rotating the pizza while it is cooking. Since it has more broad corners, it is easier to slide under the edge of the pizza and turn it. The rounded peel will have an issue doing this; however, the rounded on is quite better at launching the pizza into the oven.
Size: Standard or Maxi
The pizza size to be prepared determines the peel size you select. Ordinary pizzas measure between 33 and 36 centimeters in diameter. Conversely, the maxi varieties measure around 45-50 centimeters.
Oven depth also influences the selection of handle sizes. Longer handles will prevent accidental burns. But in case you are using peels with handles less than 30 cm, it is advisable to opt for smaller ovens typically found in bars or tunnel ovens.
60cm+ handles are appropriate for professional electrical stoves. However, handles ranging from 120 to 200 cm are ideal for the huge, artisanal assortment of ovens.
Construction Material: Wooden, Steel or Aluminum
Wooden peels are the traditional variety. They do not last long and are significantly cumbersome to clean. Steel peels are constructed using stainless steel. As such, they are sturdier, smoother, and durable. Though, they are among the heaviest pizza peels.
Aluminum peels, in contrast, are light and greatly lower abrasion between the dough and the peel head. Hence it is extremely easy to shove and pick up pizzas from the stove in a more natural and fluid manner.
As well, their structure makes them sturdy and durable. Some even have a much lower weight due to the perforations on the peel heads. Nonetheless, they are relatively delicate compared to the other two kinds of peels.
How to Use a Pizza Peel: a Walkthrough on All the Peel Types
A major confusion people face while trying to prepare their pizza is whether to use wooden peels in their ovens or use a flat surface in addition to a metallic peel during placement into the stove. Regardless of the cooking style you choose, there are steps to observe.
First, make certain that the placing peel has the appropriate size to hold the pizza. Undercooked pizzas usually sag beyond the edge of the peel, creating a messy effect. It is even better to use a placing peel that is rectangular since the flat front edge easily slides under the prepared pizza.
Avoid putting excessive toppings. Too much weight is likely to make the pizza stick on the peel. Moreover, do not add ketchup, or any form of moisture onto the peel. Such might also lead to sticking.
Whether it is a thick – or thin-crust pizza, you must initially prepare the pan for the dough. Even the perforated pans meant for grills or brick ovens are very easy to prepare.
Use flour on the peel if you do not like the texture and taste of cornmeal. Flour is the traditional Italian standard and relatively simple to use. Rice flour is a good alternative for preventing the sticking of pizza onto the peel.
Nonetheless, whatever you want to use, do not overuse it. Excessive cornmeal or flour can scotch hence becoming bitter on the underside of the pizza.
Preparation of the Pan
During the preparation stage, you require the following ingredients: a pizza pan, a basting brush or paper towel, cooking oil, non-stick cooking spray, and cornmeal (or flour). The succeeding steps depend on the type of peel you pick. You want to be sure not to use too much of the cornmeal or flour – just enough to coat the peel.
Working with the Wooden Pizza Peel
Many individuals usually use wooden peels that are short-handled. What they do is simply slide it onto a metal, placing a peel for positioning into the stove. Such a technique is cumbersome and consumes much time, especially for an expert cook.
Nevertheless, it greatly diminishes the probability of ruining the pizza by getting stuck onto the counter. There is nothing worse than prepping a supreme pizza with all the toppings on your granite countertop and then realizing you have no easy way to transfer it into the oven. Therefore, you are better off having some extra wooden peels in your house, particularly for house parties. Your guests can use them to prepare their pizzas.
Dealing with the Stainless Steel Peel
Stainless steel peel has been designed to last. It is entirely composed of stainless steel, and this implies that it cannot dry out like the typical wooden peels. What’s more, the perforated variety allows you to get rid of extra flour, thus keeping your oven cleaner, while enhancing flavor.
Steel peels devoid of holes have smoother sliding heads in addition to anodized handles for added insulation. Most steel peels come with a special coating over the sheet to achieve optimal sliding effects. This performs the same function as the rice-grain lubricating surface that minimizes surface contact between the dough and the peel. As such, friction is greatly decreased, thus saving the use of large amounts of dusting flour.
The steel peel is arguably the easiest to use as it does not require much preparation. It is already conducive to placing your dough and toppings. What’s more, it leaves your oven clean and limits the frequency of cleaning your oven. You also avoid the sticking of flour patches on the bottom burns, which are notorious for their bitter taste.
Using the Aluminum Peel
Any Italian pizza maker will make it very clear that nobody should ever mess around with pizza. They take this delicacy very seriously. So to make sure that you maintain this code, we need to look at how you can cook excellent pizza at home using your aluminum peel.
High-quality pizza should be properly charred and effectively crisped. For you to realize such a quality, you must set your oven to a high temperature, put in the pizza stone, and finally set the pizza over the stone. After that, quickly shut the oven door.
Using aluminum peels can be a rather dangerous affair due to the metal’s high specific heat capacity. It takes time to heat up, but once it heats, it becomes extremely hot.
Aluminum peels can be found in a variety of shapes. Your peel can either be squared or round-headed. Every shape has its merits and demerits. Rounded heads enable one to maneuver pizzas across every corner of the oven via a tiny doorway. It is better to waft your pies through a square-headed peel for a unique experience, especially seen in professionals.
However, while cooking at home using a small oven or a grill, you can take things a bit slower. For this reason, square-headed peels ease the process of setting in and removing the pizza.
If you are using a perforated aluminum pizza peel, you need first to place your perforated pan on a paper towel. Next, spray its surface with a non-stick cooking spray to evenly coat the surface. Paper towels are effective in keeping the spray off the table or your countertop. Finally, sprinkle your cornmeal upon the pan, if you wish.
How to Clean a Pizza Peel: All the Tips and Tricks
To minimize the chances of pizza sticking onto your pan and dough patches getting scorched and sticking onto your pizza, it is imperative to always keep the peel clean before its next use. Stuck food particles will stick to your pizza and give it a bitter taste. The following are some steps to take while cleansing different types of pizza peels:
How to Clean a Wooden Pizza Peel Efficiently?
I usually prefer to use wood peels for prepping my pizza. The reason is that the wooden construction enables the easier release of the dough compared to metal peels. I’m very sure you would not desire to slide in a well-dressed skin into your oven then withdraw an empty pizza skin since it got stuck to the peel, and all the toppings slid into the oven.
One thing to keep in mind is that in some places, the use of wooden peels is discouraged due to their inability to be properly sanitized. Wooden peels are commonly used in the preparation of pizzas, and it is necessary to wash them each day since they tend to warp.
Though this type of peel was not designed for thorough washing, it can be quickly sanitized with limited damage. Here is what you should do to avoid warping. First, begin with a new peel and wipe it several times with mineral oil to block all the pores and seal it. In this way, you will create a barrier that prevents the absorption of moisture during washing.
While washing, dip the peel into soapy water then gently scrub it to get rid of any debris. After that, rinse it and dip it into the sanitizing liquid. Next, wipe the peel with a clean, dry towel and let it dry out completely.
Finally, apply mineral oil to reseal any open pores in the wood. If done each day properly, you can reduce your problems to a minimum.
How to Clean a Steel Pizza Peel: Learn the Intricacies
Stainless steel pizza peels are the easiest to clean. The reason is that the material is non-sticky. Any material that remains on the surface can easily be scraped off either by hand or by gently scraping it using a spoon or scrubber.
To clean it, especially while hot, you can dip it into some warm water to loosen the stuck patches of dough of flour. After that, gently scrub it with a scrubber and soap. Even if the peel has scratches and dents, this method is highly effective in ensuring that you are left with a sparkling peel. As such, there are extremely minimal chances of contaminating your food during cooking as a result of accumulated dirt or debris.
How to Clean an Aluminium Pizza Peel: Understanding the Process
Aluminum is a material known for its lightweight and durability. What’s more, it does not tarnish just like stainless steel. The cleaning process for an aluminum peel is almost similar to that of stainless steel.
Aluminum ranks as the second easiest peel to sanitize. It comes second after steel. As such, you save your energy, time, and washing soap as well. So to cleanse the peel surface, dip it into the water, and for every quart of water used, add 2 tablespoons of tartar cream or half a cup of vinegar.
Let the water boil for around ten minutes. After that, remove the peel from the hot water, pour out the cleaner and allow the peel to cool to scrub it further. You can as well pour some cold water on it.
Most aluminum peels have wooden handles, so you do not have to worry about getting burnt as you get it off the water. The contact surface is the one that needs cooling in order to scrub it with a handheld scrubber.
How to Keep Pizza Dough from Sticking: Never Destroy Your Pizza Again
The issue of pizzas sticking to the pizza peel affects many amateur cooks who try to prepare their homemade pizza. Doing all the work of stretching, proofing, and topping your dough, only for it to stick and let your efforts go down the drain, is highly frustrating. What’s more, this issue is prevalent across all types of peels, whether wooden, stainless steel or aluminum.
What I Use to Prevent My Pizza from Sticking
For one, I sprinkle anti-sticking dust on my peel. In most instances, this is a 50-50 mixture of the flour I use to prepare my dough and semolina. Semolina assists the dough in sliding over the peel as well as adding some flavor and texture. However, you can still use flour alone.
Pizza dough also has a tendency to stick to metallic surfaces a lot more compared to wood. Therefore, you can consider a well-curated wooden peel. After dusting the peel with the flour and semolina mixture, stretch the dough over the work surface, then head on to the peel and add your toppings.
Avoid overloading the pizza with excess toppings as it adds weight. Also, ensure that your dough is at room temperature to reduce condensation and absorption of moisture.
In case you want to practice making some homemade pizza, you should first choose the right pizza peel. As such, you might wonder whether to go for a wooden or a metallic peel.
The wooden peels are ideal for transferring pizzas to ovens. The reason is that wooden surfaces are generally porous. Therefore, they have a greater capacity to absorb moisture from your dough, thus preventing sticking.
Both stainless steel and aluminum peels have a tendency to stick more frequently. This can potentially ruin the pizza. Hence to avoid this problem, do not overload the pizza with excess topping. Extra toppings add weight, which in turn causes stickiness.
Nevertheless, aluminum and steel peels are usually thinner. Their relatively high heat capacities also make them more suited for the retrieval of cooked pizza. Steel peel, however, is the easiest to clean as compared to aluminum and wood. This is because materials hardly stick to stainless steel.
Which material do you prefer when choosing a pizza peel? What are the quick ways you use to clean your pizza peel? What techniques do you use to avoid the dough from sticking on the peel? Share your views by leaving a comment.