Using a Pizza Peel
Using a Peel
A pizza peel is a flat, thin board that has a long handle. It is like a large, flat paddle. It is designed to allow you to move your topped pizza from your preparation area to your oven. The easiest way to use a pizza peel is to actually construct your pizza on the peel. First, dust the peel surface with some cornmeal. This prevents the pizza from sticking to the peel and allows it to move easily off the peel. The cornmeal acts like small ball-bearings, allowing the pizza to slide freely. Be sure to use enough cornmeal to help prevent sticking. If your pizza does end up sticking, you can loosen it with a large, flat knife or simply use a long piece of dental floss. Slide the dental floss between the bottom of your pizza crust dough and the peel and it should loosen it right up.
How do you get the pizza from the peel to your pizza stone in your oven? Well, it is simple. Place your peel with the pizza on top of it directly over your pizza stone. Tip the back edge of the peel downward until the pizza begins to slide off the peel. If you have it positioned correctly, the far edge of your pizza will slide onto the far edge of the pizza stone. Slowly move the peel out towards you, and the pizza will slide into place onto the stone. It only takes a little bit of practice to get it right every time.
When your pizza is done and ready to come out of the oven, slide the peel under the pizza with a quick sliding motion and simply pull the pizza out of the oven.
What If You Don’t Have a Pizza Peel
Even though I would highly recommend getting a pizza peel, I can understand if you don’t have one (after all, they are a bit tricky to store, considering their size and shape). But have no fear, you can still use your pizza stone easily. Simply assemble your pizza on a piece of flour dusted parchment paper. When you are ready to bake your pizza, simply place the whole sheet (with the pizza on top) onto the stone. After a couple of minutes, the crust has set enough for you to lift an edge of the pizza and slide the paper out of the oven. Then let the pizza continue to cook until it is done.