If you’ve taken the leap from ordering to-go pizza from your local fast food places or pizza joints – be proud of yourself! Not only is pizza baking a great way to bring fun and creativity to your cooking experiences at home, but it’s also healthier and cheaper than ordering takeout. Better for your body, easier on your wallet – it’s a win-win!
The obvious criteria for creating delicious pizzas are yummy ingredients and a quality oven and stone surface. However, there is another vital component that completes the pizza magic equation. You guessed it, ladies and gents, it’s called the pizza peel.
Many home chefs overlook this tool, as they sometimes do not know the important role it plays in the pizza-baking world. However, seasoned pizza chefs understand how not having a pizza peel could be detrimental to the process.
Much like you need a waffle iron to make waffles or a cookie sheet for your favorite chocolate chip treat, you absolutely need a pizza peel to quicken, simplify and optimize the pizza-baking experience.
In this Buyer’s Guide, we’re going to give you the full scoop on how pizza peels enhance the baking experience and why your kitchen would be better-equipped with one. We’re ready if you’re ready – so sit back, relax and read on below, friend!
Standing the test of time, pizza peels have been used by professional pizza bakers for decades upon decades to effectively handle their delicious, flame-cooked pies. These peels are shaped similarly to shovels and are used to transfer bread loaves, pastries, pizzas, and other baked goods into and out of pizza ovens.
For nearly two decades, Epicurean has been manufacturing high-quality products that stand up to all kinds of conditions. They began their journey manufacturing skate parks in 2003. They transitioned into the food prep surface business when they realized that the industry used the same composite material as their skate park ramps.
When you’re looking to create magic in the form of golden, puffy dough and toppings galore, one of the most essential tools you need is a pizza peel. While there are numerous peels on the market, the OUII Aluminum Pizza Peel stands out in its own right. It is made from a material that is designed to stand up to high heats, but it also makes cleaning and storing easy as pie – or shall we say…pizza pie!
If you’re an amateur pizza baker and new to the whole experience, you may be asking, “what is a pizza peel?” So, first thing’s first, let’s answer that question!
A pizza peel is basically a gigantic spatula (kind of shovel-like), that is used for transferring pizza pies and other baked goods into and out of ovens.
Pizza peels are important for preventing the uncooked dough from deforming or breaking. They’re also used for rotating the dough throughout the cooking process to ensure consistent and thorough cooking.
From a safety perspective, a pizza peel will help protect your hands from the high oven temperatures while you’re handling food.
If you opt to bake without one, not only will it be more difficult, but you won’t be able to rotate the pizza efficiently, which can result in uneven cooking.
On the hunt for a high-quality pizza peel? To help you find the one that suits your unique needs, we’ve compiled a list of things you should consider when making your decision:
Regardless of which pizza peel you choose, you’ll find that they’re all relatively inexpensive. Unlike with high-end equipment like pizza ovens, finding a pizza peel you like for a good price won’t be difficult.
That being said, you should still factor price into your decision-making. Keep in mind that even though more expensive ones may have better features, a higher price may not always mean higher quality.
Most paddles are composed of either some kind of metal or wood. Perhaps you’re looking for one that’ll best match your stainless steel kitchen vibe, and a metal one would suit you better. Or maybe you’re more into traditional designs and would prefer a wooden pizza peel for your space. Whatever you choose, there are pros and cons to both. Some bakers find it beneficial to have both materials in your kitchen. In the next two sections, we’ll delve into both types for you.
A beloved aspect of wooden pizza peels is their aesthetic. If you’re trying to create a more rustic and traditional look in your kitchen, this is the material you want to go with. When you have a wooden pizza paddle, it not only supplies style but can also serve guests. Simply leave the cooked pizza on the wooden peel and use it as a serving tray!
When it comes to assembling pizzas, wooden peels are also advantageous in that dough is less likely to stick to this material. Just for good practice, however, still, sprinkle some flour on the wood before dropping your dough onto it.
While wooden peels are absolutely awesome in many ways, it’s important to note that wood has a tendency to absorb food particles and flavors. That being said, all you have to do is make sure you sanitize and clean it carefully without using harsh chemicals. Before using it again after washing it, always wait until it’s completely dry!
Two popular metals used in cooking are aluminum and stainless steel. These materials are much easier to sanitize and clean compared to wood. Many metal paddles are safe to use in the dishwasher, and unlike wood, you don’t have to wait hours for them to air-dry before using again.
However, like wood, a metal pizza peel also has its shortcomings. These paddles don’t make the best surface for building dough and toppings. This is because dough tends to stick to metals more easily, even when you’re using flour. Still, if you’re using a metal pizza peel, you’ll find that they are fantastic for loading pizzas quickly into the oven and rotating them throughout their baking!
Of course, you may also use a metal paddle as a serving tray, but it’s typically the less attractive option when compared to a wooden peel.
The peel that protects you from major burns is the handle, which is why it’s definitely worth thinking about. Take into account things like the material it’s made of if it retains heat, length, and stability. Longer peels help make sure you don’t touch the inside of the oven by accident, and stable handles provide good leverage for heavier pizzas.
When you’re using uncooked dough, your peel’s size should be large enough to accommodate the whole thing. This will ensure it doesn’t drop off the sides mid-cooking. However, if you’re going to be cooking partially cooked or cooked dough, the size may be a bit smaller.
Most professionals begin by building their dough and toppings atop a cool counter. Then, using a metal pizza peel will place the uncooked pizza in the oven. Since it will only be on the metal for a few seconds, the dough won’t stick.
Other chefs assemble their dough and toppings on a wooden pizza peel before placing it into an oven. Alternatively, you can build the pizza on the wooden peel and then use the metal peel for the oven transfer. Either way, it’s best to use a metal peel to rotate the pizza and extract it from the appliance.
Regardless of the paddle you use, don’t forget to sprinkle it with flour to avoid having to unstick your dough from its surface. Peels are wonderfully versatile and can be used beyond just pizzas, such as for bread baking, pastries, cakes, etc.
With that, we wish you luck in finding the best pizza peel for your needs, and once it arrives, don’t forget to have fun with it!