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Is a pizza peel worth buying?

  • s

I love pizza, and some peels are on sale at nearby store. I hear that a peel is the key to success with homemade pizza. I usually make small pizzas and pull the stone from the oven with mitts. These peels aren't expensive, but I'm short on kitchen real estate and look for tools that are truly worth it.

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  1. "Key to success" might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's definitely very helpful for pizza and bread and cheap wooden ones are often under $10. They are easy to store - one intrepid chowhound in another thread even hung his on a magnetic hook on the side of the fridge.

    1. If you make pizzas with reasonable frequency, yes. I find it makes the whole experience significantly easier. Plus, because its flat, it's easy to store. I slide mine between the oven and the wall to keep it out of the way.

      1. I keep mine in a double paper bag standing on edge between the refrigerator and the adjacent wall. It took me many years to convince myself to purchase one and I'm still angry with myself for having waited so long. I use it in making small pizzas, large pizzas, and breads and, although I leave my pizza stone in the oven to cool, it has made my life in the "Pizza Kitchen" a lot better. Go get one ....

        1. A peel makes it all so much easier for me. I would probably burn myself and drop everything on the bottom of the oven if I tried to get a pizza on the stone without using a peel.

          1. I finally broke down and bought one and am happy I did. I got it for about $5 at Ross and store it w/ my cutting boards. It's so much faster putting the pizza in but more importantly removing the pizza is a piece of cake. It's great for bread, too, but it's the removal that makes it worthwhile. But, I often make back to back pizzas and removing the stone is a pain, plus it gives it a chance to cool down.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Chowser, removing the pizza "is a peice of bread" -- no? See my note below about removing the stone from the oven -- don't.

              1. re: JRCann

                That's what I meant that I'm glad I bought the pizza peel. Before I got mine, if I made multiple pizzas, I'd move it out, remove pizza and put it back in. With the peel, pizza removal is easy. I leave my pizza stone in the oven all the time because it also helps maintain oven temperature when I'm baking cookies and switching racks.

            2. Not only is it great for getting pizza in and out of the oven. . . it looks really, really cool!

              1. I would continue to pull the hot stone from the oven with mitts if that's working out for you.

                  1. Definately, buy a peel thay sure aren't all that much $$. As most have said slide it between the refrigerator and counter. I hang mine on a wall... looks cool too. As for pizza stones, put it in the oven and never take it out except to clean it. If you like Neopolitan pizza, preheat stone at the highest setting your oven will do for at least 20 mins longer then preheat, and you will get a nice crust. Also the stone helps stabilize the temperature swings in the oven when you are cooking dishes other than pizza or bread. Use 2 pizza stones for baking bread. one under the bread at med height and another on the top rack. This greates a "ceiling" much like a brick oven and will add an amazing "artisan" quality to your bread loaves. Lastly never clean your pizza stone or get it wet. Scrape any residue off with a plastic putty scraper (3" x 3" hardware store item for .50). The blacker and nastier it looks the better the results.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: JRCann

                      "Use 2 pizza stones for baking bread. one under the bread at med height and another on the top rack. This greates a "ceiling" much like a brick oven and will add an amazing "artisan" quality to your bread loaves."

                      jrcann, i love the idea of using two stones, top and bottom!!! that's news i can use! ;-).

                      and suby, get the peel! and do not -- i repeat -- do not cut your pizza on it. it will ruin the smooth finish. don't pull the stone from the oven and put on a much cooler surface. it will crack. i wouldn't want to have to haul out the stone just to remove the pizza from the oven. that is very unwieldy.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I have the big stone (16" x20") on the med rack and an old 15" round one on top. Amazing diff. We tend to cut pizza on our wooden peel. Works just fine using a wheel, not a super sharp knife. Take a sander (180 grit) to it once in awhile and then coat with food grade mineral oil. Just as you would do with a cuttung board. Also don't wash a wwooden peel in water, it probably will warp, making it diffucult to get the pizza off and into the oven and then retrieving it again.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          "don't pull the stone from the oven and put on a much cooler surface. it will crack"

                          That's absolutly correct, and leave it in the oven all the time! They absorb humidity from the air and can crack from thermal shock when thrown in a hot oven -- for the same reason that you don't wash it. Always preheat the stone while the oven preheats. I am sure this is the explaination for many of the other threads about mysterious cracking.

                        2. re: JRCann

                          I've heard of rewiring an electric oven to run continuously on the "clean" setting. While I am not advocating it, why not preheat your stones with the clean cycle and then immediately switch to the highest setting on the oven, when you are ready to put the pizza in. This would require you knowing how long the cleaning cycle lasts and perhaps the oven door will not unlock (defeat this?) until it cools down to a specific temperature, which might let the stones cool as well. Worth considering?
                          If you have it, would it be better to put the stone in the grill and run it full blast?

                        3. Alton said last night that you should get one, and we know how he feels about uni-taskers (said it would make a great cheese board as well as getting near to suggesting something a bit dirty), but I keep thinking that my no sides cookie sheet would work fine when I finally make pizza at home.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                            I keep thinking that my no sides cookie sheet would work fine when I finally make pizza at home.

                            Well not actually, you will most likely burn the crust on the bottom before the rest of the crust is really done... so gooey top with a brown bottom.. yuck.

                            you really need a stone to do a pizza right.
                            after you make a few dozen at home you will understand

                            1. re: JRCann

                              I think Stuffed Monkey meant to use the sideless cookie sheet would work as a peel, not to bake on. I've tried a cookie sheet upside down and you don't get the same grip on it as you do with the peel. You can flip your wrist quickly to get the pizza off and getting the pizza back on was impossible. It is a unitasker but if you make pizza or bread often, worth it.

                          2. http://www.superpeel.com/
                            I'd recommend getting one of these, I'm a bit of a klutz and this helped me maintain the shape on my loaves/pizzas. It'll also keep cornmeal/flour from getting on the floor of your oven and burning.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: rockfish42

                              IMHO, if you leave out the cornmeal you eliminate a very essential element in an authenic pizza crust. The toasted cornmeal is more than just "ball bearings" to slide the dough off the peel ... it's flavor and texture too!

                              BTW, we make 3-4 pizzas a week from scratch. I just checked my oven. I keep a foil tray at the bottom under my larger pizza stone. I have not cleaned my oven in months! There are only a couple nearly microscopic peices of cornmeal (or other debris) on the fiol tray. Yes, my pizza stone has lots of cornmeal on it. WDR, I don't see your point as a solution to an actual problem. Maybe I am more careful than many... or perhaps I have the peel techinque down.

                              1. re: JRCann

                                Pizza in Italy is rarely made with cornmeal. At least in Naples, which is generally accepted as the birthplace of pizza.

                                i think it would be difficult to make any arguments for cornmeal being essential to "authentic" pizza. It's used in certain styles, but I wouldn't say its use leans toward any sort of authenticity.

                                1. re: tommy

                                  obviously we have had different pizza experinces in our travels.

                                  1. re: JRCann

                                    That's not obvious. What we apparently have different thoughts on is the use of the word "authentic".

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      "authenticity" probably gets the biggest debates on chowhound on ANY topic. gah-ron-teed to raise the blood pressure! {;^D.

                                      ...that, and "traditional".....

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        I see no reason engage in a silly semantic battle. My experiences are different than yours, that is that.
                                        Nevertheless the thread here is about pizza peels, not the use of cornmeal on pizzas . Obviously you have just as much reason to have your opinion as do I. I'll leave it there, Tommy.

                                        1. re: JRCann

                                          I'm not sure why you think we've had different experiences, enough to say it twice even. As I suggested I've had plenty of pizza made with cornmeal. My only point was that the use of the word "authentic" might not be appropriate. If it is your opinion that pizza with cornmeal is "authentic", that's great, and you made that point. It's my opinion that this might not be the case, and I shared that opinion with the class. Nothing more, nothing less.

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            Tommy, I repeat:
                                            I see no reason engage in a silly semantic battle. My opinion and yours both have merit. Enough. I bet no one elese here cares.

                                            1. re: JRCann

                                              I'm not sure that it is a semantic battle. Neapolitan pizza is considered by many to be authentic. And they don't use cornmeal.

                                2. re: rockfish42

                                  Second this rec. It costs a little more, but it makes the process of putting the pizza into the oven a snap. A snap that works. Because while I'm adept at flipping an omelet in a pan, flapjacks, etc., whenever I try to snap a pizza off a wooden peel, all the toppings fly forward and off my pizza, then the dough slides in after. And never very round. Superpeel solves that. And it's great for moving regular pie dough to the pan too.

                                3. I cook pizza on my Big Green Egg with a pizza stone. I have to use cornmeal or the dough sticks to the peel.

                                  I found a great peal at Sur La Tab with a folding handle, takes up minimal space under the counter. I believe it is branded by some foul mouthed italian tv cook.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: duck833

                                    "I believe it is branded by some foul mouthed italian tv cook"

                                    LOL! does an orange clog come to mind?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I have a pair of orage crocs.... :D

                                        1. re: jzerocsk

                                          oh, gosh, no.... gotta say "mario at target."

                                    2. I have one I use all the time, makes it easier for me to slide the pizza in and out of the oven. I also use it for bread , when I use the baking stone for baking bread.

                                      1. I use a rimless cookie sheet and parchment paper. Please don't hate me.

                                        1. I use a baking sheet with only one side instead of a peel because I don't have a place to store a peel.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Kelli2006

                                            I store my peel w/ my cutting boards, vertically.