What is a Pizza Peel?
A pizza peel also known as pizza shovel or pizza slider is a culinary utensil used by professional pizza bakers to transfer the pizza from the countertop into the pre-heated pizza oven. Pizza peel has two parts; a long handle usually made of rubber or wood and a large flat carrying surface made of wood or metal. Pizza to be transferred is placed on the carrying surface and the handle is used to grip and hold the pizza peel and transfer the assembled pizza to the baking tray of the pizza oven.
You will find two types of carrying surface each used for different purposes:
A solid carrying surface is a flat surface without any holes. This can be made of either wood or metal.
A perforated carrying surface is also a flat surface with small holes in it. These holes allow the steam to pass through them keeping the pizza from sticking to the surface of the peel. It also allows the excess flour to shed off during the transfer of pizza in the oven.
Types of Pizza Peel
There are various types of pizza peel you have seen in professional pizza restaurants and grills. These pizza peels have different roles in the pizza-making process.
The most common type of peel that is frequently used in most pizza places is the launching peel. As the name suggests; they are used to launch pizza in the pizza oven. These pizza peels have a large flat solid carrying surface with a long handle. Launching pizza peels are made from either wood to metal. This can be used in homes as well as in professional kitchens. Any pizza requires even heating to cook properly which requires rotating the pizza a few times while cooking in the pizza oven. Launching peels have a drawback that because of their large surface it requires rotating the pizza by hand. The hot temperature of the oven makes it difficult for pizza makers to manually rotate the pizza for even cooking.
Turning peel overcomes the difficulty of rotating pizza inside the pizza oven. Turning peels have smaller and circular perforated carrying surfaces with long handles and slots. These peels are made of metal with wood or rubber handle. A smaller surface of turning peel eliminates the manual rotation of pizza and wood or rubber handle reduces the heat transfer. Slots will help in minimizing the chances of stickiness as they allow the steam to escape.
Pizza peels are used to transfer the pizza from the workstation into the pizza oven and transfer it back to the workstation when it is cooked. The use of pizza peel can be in two ways.
Launching The Pizza
Launching the pizza into the oven is a tricky job and requires experience to master the right technique. Start by dusting off the peel with some flour to keep the surface of the pizza peel smooth. Stretch the pizza dough to meet your desired shape and size and place it on the peel. Assemble the pizza with the sauce and toppings. Make sure that no excess sauce or topping is left on the peel surface. Here comes the tricky part! Now open the door of the oven, pull the baking tray out and use a gentle back and forth motion of hand to transfer the pizza onto the baking tray. Reshape the edges of dough if required and close the door of the oven. Let it cook for a specified time.
Retrieving The Pizza
This step is simple and does not require any technique to do it right. Open the door of the oven, slide the metal peel under the pizza keeping the peel flat and pull out the pizza and transfer it onto the counter or platter. Here comes the freshly made pizza with the best aroma.
Pizza Peel Material
Wood Pizza Peels
Wood peels are considered traditional peels that are being used for centuries in the pizza-making process. Wood peels made from raw wood offers fewer issues with the stickiness of dough onto the surface of the peel. The rough, uneven, and textured surface of wood allows the air to pass and keep the dough from sticking and can be easily deployed onto the baking tray. Traditionally wood peels were made from dense wood that makes the peel weigh more. But nowadays wood peels are made from various kinds of less dense woods such as bamboo, basswood, acacia, etc.
Metal Pizza Peels
Metal pizza peels are relatively thin and flat made up of either aluminum or stainless steel. They are also known as blades. The use of metal makes these peels thin yet strong to endure the weight of pizza efficiently. The carrying surface of metal peels can either be solid or perforated. But there are chances that dough can stick to the surface of the peel if not done right. These are light in weight and can easily slide under the pizza during the pizza retrieving process from the pizza oven.
What’s the Difference Between Wood and Metal Pizza Peels?
The material of carrying surface of either wood or metal surface makes the biggest difference. Wood peels have more weight and are less exposed to getting burned in the oven. While metal peels are made from high-quality metal which makes the metal peels exceptionally lightweight.
Wood peels are difficult to clean and maintain. The rough surface makes it difficult to clean the surface properly and may cause bacterial growth after some use. It is preferred to wash the wood peel with vinegar solution to effectively clean the peel surface. On the other hand, metal peels can be washed easily with soap and water.
Wood peels are relatively thick and difficult to slide under the dough to take out from the oven. On the other hand, metal peels are thin so they can easily slide under the pizza without damaging the edges of the pizza.
Wood peels are non-sticky and great for launching pizza in the oven without even using a pizza screen or flour dust. While metal peels can stick to the dough therefore it is recommended to use a pizza screen or dust the peel with some flour before using.
Wood peels are relatively less expensive than metal peels. However, the quality of material used in making wood or metal peels matters and decides their worth.
Which Pizza peel is the Best Choice? Wood or Metal
The best choice of Pizza peel depends on the frequency of using the pizza peel whether it is wood or metal. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but choosing the best option is your personal preference. But I would suggest having both the peels; wood and metal to get the most benefit out of these and make your cooking easier. I will be explaining to you How!
Wood peels are the best option in launching the pizza into the oven as it is non-sticky and will deploy the pizza safe without damaging the dough. Metal peels are the best choice for retrieving the pizza from the oven as it slides under the pizza easily due to their thin metal surface.
Wood peels tend to preserve the authentic flavor of pizza since it is made from raw wood. Whereas metal peels do not have any effect on the taste and flavor of pizza.
In the commercial sector, pizza ovens are relatively bigger than domestic ovens. Therefore, any pizza peel with a long handle is required to fit the pizza in the very last space of the oven. For home cooking, it is recommended to use pizza peels with perforated carrying surfaces. This will allow steam to pass through and reduce the stickiness.
What to Look for in a Good Pizza Peel?
Material Wood vs Metal Pizza Peels
Pizza peels are made from different materials such as wood, aluminum, and stainless steel. Every material has its own specifications. Wood peels are a great choice when you do not want your dough to stick to the peel surface as raw pizza dough has a high adhering time to stick to the wooden surface. Wood peels look attractive while sitting on the kitchen counter and can be used as decoration articles in your kitchen. Whereas metal peels may increase the chances of stickiness. But they are easy to maintain and clean.
The shape of the Pizza Peel
On a professional level, a pizza peel with a round carrying surface is preferred to easily handle the large pizzas and to fit the pizza in the very last space. Pizza peels also come in a square shape which is beginner-friendly and recommended for domestic use as home cooks are working with small pizza ovens.
Size of carrying Surface
The size of the carrying surface depends on the size of the baking tray of your pizza oven. It also depends on the size of pizza you often made. Usually, a medium-size pizza is 12 inch, and the maximum size is up to 14-16 inches. The size of the carrying surface should be large enough to hold any size of pizza.
Handle Length of Pizza Peel
The length of the pizza peel matters when you are working on a large scale. In the commercial sector, pizza ovens are relatively bigger than domestic ovens. Therefore, any pizza peel with a long handle is required to fit the pizza in the very last space of the oven yet keep you 4-5 inches away from the oven.
Best Wood and Metal Pizza Peels that You can Have!
Here are some of the best metal and wood peels that I came across in my cooking journey so far. I tried my best to recall all of them so that I don’t skip anything worth mentioning. You can also share the best one that you think in the comments section at the end.
Best Wood Pizza Peels
Ooni Bamboo Pizza Peel
With the durable and moisture-resistant Ooni bamboo pizza peel, you can launch the pizza with such an ease as the smooth and non-stick bamboo surface ensures that pizza dough doesn’t get stick to it. Not only does it serve the purpose of a launching peel, but is equally good to slice and serve pizzas on it. Please select the size of the peel according to your need.
New Star Foodservice Restaurant Grade Wooden Pizza Peel
Made with the lightweight basswood, this pizza peel is sturdy and lightweight. The peel is made up of extremely fine material and I found it very handy when launching pizzas. As the brand advertises, no secretions were witnessed by me too from the peel in my entire cooking experience.
The best part about this product is that you can choose the length and size of the peel as per your need.
Best Metal Pizza Peels
Here are a couple of fine quality pizza peels that you can have.
Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel
Ooni pizza peels are one of the most widely and frequently used pizza peels professionally and by home cooks. It has a perforated carrying surface made of metal and square in shape. It comes in two sizes 12 and 14 inches of carrying surface with medium size handle.
Small holes in the surface will allow the steam to pass and prevent stickiness. The edges of the carrying surface are slightly tapered to help in smooth launching and retrieving of pizza from the oven.
Make sure to choose the right size according to your oven.
Gozney Perforated Pizza Peel
If you are looking for a more professional pizza peel, look no further than this top notch quality pizza peel by Gozney with a large handle. Made of extremely high quality material, this peel gives a sturdy feel and is surely meant for commercial purposes. Long handle gives you the access to launch the pizza anywhere with such an ease.
Best Pizza Turning Peels
To ensure the even cook, you will have to turn the pizza some seconds. For this, you’ll be needing the turning peel. Here are my top picks for the pizza turning peels!
Ooni Pizza Turning Peel
This definitely is a must buy if you want a perfectly cooked pizza. This adds more to your pizza making skills and lets you cook the pizza evenly from all sides without burning. The material of the peel is high quality and doesn’t stick with pizza. The perforations allow excess flour fall away so that you can enjoy the perfectly cooked pizza base!
Gozney Pizza Turning Peel
Gozney offers separate turning peels for its both outdoor ovens; The Gozney Roccbox and The Gozney Dome. The Roccbox turning peel is designed specifically to be used with Roccbox pizza oven. It is also smaller in size than the dome turning peel.
Moreover, Dome turning peel can be used with various pizza ovens and is equally fit for commercial purposes. Therefore, I prefer buying dome turning peel, though I have used both of them.
This turning peel by Gozney helps in repositioning the food and is equally fit for domestic as well as commercial purposes.
Made up of slimline and circular stainless steel surface, this pizza peel ensures that it slides smoothly beneath the pizza and assists perfectly in rotation.
The Gozney turning peel has 880 mm or 34.6 inches long handle and a head diameter of 170 mm or 6.69 inches.
I hope you would have liked this post. Please let us know about your favorite pizza peels in the comments section below.