If you have experienced this problem, you are not alone. This is the number one question we get! Try these steps and see how easy it can be to handle a pizza. Also check out the blog post Peel/Spatula for full details about this tool of the trade.
Here are a few tricks we have learned about handling raw pizza. Whether you call it a pizza peel, pizza spatula, or a pizza paddle, these tips will help.
- Aluminum peels are amazing at sticking to raw dough. Try a wooden peel instead to put raw pizza on the stone.
- The peel does need a little bit of dry lubrication – an eighth of a teaspoon of semolina flour, or cornmeal, or even flour will work.
- The peel must be absolutely dry – don’t wash the wooden peel before cooking. Flour the peel if it is even slightly moist.
- The pizza stone must be hot >400F for the dough not to stick
- Dough should be prepped in advance and be formed into a ball that is folded tight to form surface tension.
- The dough ball should sit to dry slightly and form a light”skin”.
- Dough should not be cold.
- Don’t break the surface skin of the dough when forming a pizza
- Rolling with a rolling pin can squeeze out moisture. Hand toss, or press and stretch on a smooth floured surface.
- Make sure your peel is smooth, dry, and clean. Sprinkle it with a tiny bit of cornmeal, semolina or flour.
- You can dunk a dough ball in a pan of flour before stretching it.
- Stretch your dough out on a smooth surface and then arrange it on the wooden peel. (Don’t roll or flatten the dough while on the peel.)
- Shake the wooden peel to ensure the dough is not sticking – if it is, stop here and flour the dough.
- Decorate the dough with ingredients while it is on the peel.
- Carry the peel to the oven and place the peel so the pizza is all the way over the hot stone, Shuffle the far edge of the pizza onto the stone and then jiggle/draw the peel out from under the pizza. The action is more like jerking a tablecloth out from under a table-setting than shoveling coal.
- Arrange the pizza on the stone as you withdraw the peel. – If it gets oblong or weirdly shaped, leave it and enjoy its craft-pizza uniqueness. If the edge droops off the stone, let it cook for a few minutes before using an aluminum peel to lift the whole pizza and rescue the edge.
- Be patient- perfectly circular pizzas come from factories. Practice makes perfect and your friends won’t mind.
- Parchment paper – great for baking cookies! not really necessary if you follow the steps above.
- Aluminum grids – that is how Dominoes does it in their electric conveyor oven.
- Do not put cornmeal on the hot pizza stone. Just don’t.
- Visit a wood-fired pizza place and do what the pros do.
- Start with a light “ingredient load” on your pizza to get the hang of it.
- Multiple 8oz pizzas are a great deal easier than one jumbo 16″ monster.
Enjoy your time making and baking pizza!
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