Pizza is a popular comfort food for a lot of people. Although we understand what goes into every bite, we may not know the preparation it takes to make a perfect-crusted pizza. Traditional pizza houses use a pizza peel. So, what is a pizza peel, and how to use a pizza peel?
If this is your first time to come across a pizza peel, you’re not alone. A pizza peel is used to place pizzas in an oven, likewise when getting them out when ready. Since pizza houses typically use huge stone ovens, pizza peels make it easier and safer to put the pizza under fire.
Types of Pizza Peels
The first thing to understand when knowing how to use a pizza peel is its types. Pizza peels are categorized based on three elements: the shape, size, and construction material. That’s because pizza production differs from one pizza house to another. These elements make up a pizza peel, and they also indicate the character and performance of each peel.
For this category, a pizza peel may have a rectangular or round shape. Most pizza chains use a round pizza peel due to its long grip and flexibility. Unlike the rectangular one, round peels allow you to lift the pizza sideways and give better control.
Standard pizzas measure between 33-36 centimeters. However, the maxi varieties reach up to 45-50 centimeters in diameter. Maxi peels have longer handles for better grip and to prevent any burns.
Pizza peels are made using three varied materials. You can either have a wooden, steel, or aluminum pizza peel. Traditional pizzaiolos (a person who makes pizzas) use wooden peels; however, they are not as durable as a peel in steel or aluminum. Also, wooden peels are hard to clean. These are things to consider when knowing how to use a pizza peel.
If you want a durable peel, the steel ones are your best option. They are pretty solid and are guaranteed to last long. However, they are also too heavy, which can cause some problems with prolonged use.
On the other hand, aluminum peels are the lighter version of the steel ones. They are easy to work with and can feel more natural and fluid. However, they are not very durable. Aluminum peels are the most delicate among the three.
How to Use a Pizza Peel Based on Construction
- Wooden Peel. The most common wooden peel used for making pizza is the short-handled one. However, most cooks use the wooden peel for prepping the pizza. It is a natural non-stick material, so you won’t need to worry about ruing your pizza when placing it in the oven. You can use it once your pizza is set; simply slide it to a metal or aluminum pizza peel to prevent the dough from getting stuck.
- Steel Peel. If you want your peel to last long, then opt for a stainless one. Stainless steel is generally durable and does not dry out, unlike wood. They also get rid of extra flour, so you both have a cleaner oven and good-tasting pizza. Although steel isn’t generally a non-stick material, some updated versions utilize special coating that acts as a lubricating agent to prevent your dough from sticking to the peel. If you want an easy to use a pizza peel, go for a steel one.
- Aluminum. Aluminum peels are usually used to make home-made pizza. They tend to heat up slowly, and once they do, their heat capacity makes them too hot. For pizza chains, time is always of the essence. That’s why aluminum peels may not really be ideal. However, when using a small oven or grill, aluminum peels tend to be useful. They make the setting in and removing pizza a breeze. You can either have a round or square-headed peels; either way, they make home-made pizzas worth every effort.
Pizza Peel Cleaning Tips
- Wooden Peel. Wooden peels are a bit tricky to maintain. They require careful use and cleaning since the material tends to warp easily. To avoid that, wipe a new wooden peel with mineral oil. This serves as a coating to prevent moisture absorption. To wash, dip the peel in soapy water and scrub gently, getting rid of any debris left. Once done, rinse and wipe with a clean, dry cloth and hang to dry completely. Apply mineral oil once a day for maintenance.
- Steel Peel. If you don’t want to spend extra time for cleaning and maintenance, go with steel peels. It’s naturally non-stick, so you can easily scrape off any remaining dough without the need for scrubbing. To clean, simply dip in warm water and scrub gently with mild soap.
- Aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight and durable. It’s also non-tarnish, making cleaning easy, just like a stainless peel. To clean, prepare a solution of 2 tablespoons of tartar cream or a half cup of vinegar in a quart of water. Boil the aluminum peel in water for about 10 minutes, remove and pour in the solution. When cooled down, scrub and remove any remaining debris. Here’s how to learn more about pizza peel.
Making pizza is an enjoyable hobby you can make with your family at home. It’s easy to do and does not really take much time to cook. With the right ingredients and the right set of tools, you’ll surely have a delightful food to indulge in.
The success of your pizza also depends on the tools you use. Learning how to use a pizza peel can help you prepare and cook your pizza to perfection. Pizza peels differ in shape, size, and construction. However, once you’ve chosen the best peel for you, you can have a delectable slice of pizza anytime you want.