Pizza Peel Care & Use

use-of-pizza-peelWood Pizza Peel Care, Use & Benefits

Why is Wood a Good Choice?

Wood is the best material to prevent sticking of raw pizza dough to the peel’s surface. This is important if you don’t want your carefully assembled pizza toppings to end up all over the oven, grill or kitchen floor.

Wooden pizza peels and handles are most recommended, as they are less likely to conduct heat than paddles made out of metal.

Plus, a wood peel is more rustic and decorative as a kitchen accent or serving board.

They may be nice to use as cutting board for your cooked pizza or other foods but note our suggestion below.

Use care when using your pizza peel as a cutting board as this may damage the surface. Your knife or pizza wheel will surely leave cutting marks on your wooden pizza peel which will result in an uneven surface. This may cause raw dough to stick to your pizza peel and prevent it from sliding easily. (What we do is use the front/logo side for prepping the dough & sliding the pizza and the back side for cutting & serving)

pizza-paddle-image-oilingCare of a Wooden Pizza Peel

Before using a wooden pizza peel, most professionals recommend oiling it lightly to keep the wood from drying out and cracking. Food grade mineral oil is most commonly used since it doesn’t leave a sticky residue like vegetable or olive oil.

We like to apply a light coating of mineral oil with a clean cloth or pastry brush and then wiping dry with a clean kitchen towel. We might do this once a month or two, depending on how often we’ve used it. Seasoning the wood also helps seal it to prevent absorption of stains and odors. (Over oiling is not recommended)

However, some people prefer to leave their wood paddle in a natural state, believing that it helps the pizza dough to slide more easily, but we recommend occasional oiling.

Cleaning Your Wood Peel

The best way to clean a wood surface is with a damp cloth or sponge. A bit of soapy water is ok but do NOT place in dishwater or the dishwasher! We use a nylon scrub pad or brush to remove stuck on cheese and sauce before wiping. White vinegar also works well to remove stains and is a great disinfectant.

Make sure to air-dry peels completely after washing and before storing in your cabinet. We leave ours in the dish drainer overnight to make sure they’re completely dry. This is important so it does not absorb moisture and  become warped.

homemade-pizza-crustUse of Your Pizza Peel

The surface of wooden pizza peels should be floured or coated with cornmeal to prevent raw pizza dough (or bread dough) from sticking to it. Cornmeal adds a crunchy texture to the crust. Our family likes to dust with flour, then cornmeal. This combination works well and less coarse than just cornmeal. We’ve also used semolina (pasta flour) with good results.

When making your first homemade pizza from scratch, start off small. A small pizza (less than 12 inches) will glide on to the baking stone more easily. So, hold off on the extra large pies until you have mastered your technique.

Don’t overdo the toppings or make the crust too thick to start. I know it’s tempting but less really is more with pizza. You will also find that sliding a heavily laden crust can be challenging, especially if you’re a newbie.

Be careful not to let your dough sit too long on the wood peel. Make your pizza just before you bake it.  Prolonged contact with the pizza peel may cause the raw dough to warm and stick. If this happens, one trick is to lift the edge of your dough and blow a bit of air under it (use a squeeze bottle to blow air for hygienic reasons). But be careful since this may make your pizza dough very slippery.

pizza-stone-bakingPizza Stones for a Perfect Crust

Using a pizza stone can make a big difference to your home-baked pizza crust results.

Stone-baked pizza is light, crisp and has a really authentic pizzeria appearance that will impress your friends and family.

When choosing a baking stone, go for a good quality, terracotta clay variety. It’s best to buy the largest size that will fit in your oven. We bought a 16 inch round one at a local department store that cost less than $20. Pizza stones also come in large squares or rectangles.

Oven stones are supposed to conduct a lot of heat and distribute it evenly, ensuring a nice crust on your bread or pizza. A pizza peel can be used to safely remove the cooked pizza or bread from the stone so you don’t have to handle the stone’s hot surface.

We leave our pizza stone in the oven all the time, and is the best place to store it. It’s also the best way to ensure that it enjoys a long life.

Cracking is a common problem when you move stones suddenly from hot to cold and vice versa. Moving a scorching hot pizza stone out of the oven into the cool temperature of your kitchen or dining room can cause it to crack. The same is true of moving a cold baking stone to a hot oven.

Let the pizza stone heat up and cool down in the oven and leave it there. You can place baking trays and pans on the stone if you need to so it won’t be in your way.