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Pizza Dough Stuck to a Metal Pizza Peel

The perfect baking stone or steel. The perfect temperature. The perfect pizza dough, the perfect sauce, the perfect cheese, the perfect toppings. All you gotta do is slide your pizza into the oven, and you’re mere minutes away from hot, delicious, homemade pizza.

You take your peel and insert it into the oven, giving it a shake to slide the pizza off. That’s when you realize: the pizza won’t budge!

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck (pun intended) on the very last step of making a pizza at home. We feel you – I once got a text from my father telling me I was in big trouble for giving them a pizza stone without properly teaching my mother how to use a pizza peel, resulting in stuck pizzas, delayed dinners, and one mad momma.

To help ease your pizza’s passage onto your stone or steel, we’ve got some tips for you. Using a metal pizza peel can be especially tricky, so in this video, we focus on the best practices for using this specialized tool.


Tips to Prevent Dough From Sticking

  1. Prep your pizza dough on a separate work surface. Don’t knead or stretch your dough on the peel itself. Use a countertop or a silicone rolling mat, and make sure you sprinkle plenty of flour on your workstation before you get started.

  2. Coat your pizza peel with flour. The loose flour acts as teeny ball bearings, creating a movable layer between the dough and your peel. You can also use a little bit of cornmeal, but use it sparingly: if the cornmeal makes it onto your pizza stone, it can burn and smoke.

  3. Once your dough hits the peel, you have to work quickly. You only have a few minutes before your dough absorbs the flour and starts to stick to the metal peel.

  4. Periodically shake your pizza on the peel while you’re prepping it. It’s a good idea to check and make sure things are still moving throughout the process. If you notice a patch sticking, it’s much easier to slip more flour underneath before your pizza is loaded with toppings.

  5. To get the pizza off the peel, use a quick back-and-forth motion. Thrust your peel in front of you with a smooth motion, aiming for the middle-back of your stone, then quickly jerk it back. The pizza’s momentum will keep it moving forward, sliding easily off your peel and onto your stone or steel.

  6. Act quickly! You don’t want to lose too much heat from your oven by leaving the door open. But you also don’t want a metal peel to linger inside a hot oven too long. The heat can transfer to the metal peel, causing the pizza to start cooking even before it hits the stone! This is another cause of stuck pizzas.

Still need help? Check out some of our other pizza tips: 

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Comments

I own a pizzeria in NY. A wooden peel is a lot easier to transfer the dough to the stone than a metal one. Definitely make sure there is flour on the peel and also lift up the edge and blow under the pizza which creates less friction and allows it to slide right onto your stone.

F. N. Nielson
F. N. Nielson 18 Mar 10:25

I roll out and top my pizza dough on parchment paper. Then slide my peel under the paper and put the whole thing on my hot stone. The parchment paper burns a little on the outer edges not covered by the pizza but who cares. Pizza always comes out perfectly and never sticks.

Pizzacraft
Pizzacraft 07 Nov 12:57

Hi Mich! A lot of people have this problem. Dough can be finicky! We will be releasing another blog very soon about how to prevent dough from sticking to sones, but this quick troubleshooting guide might help.

1. My first suggestion is to ensure that your pizza stone is preheated correctly.

2. If the stones are properly heated and the dough is still sticking, it might be the dough its self. You may have dough that is too sticky. Try working some more flour into the dough.

3. The other thing that may be the issue is over loading the pizza with sauce and toppings.

4. Lastly I would make sure you aren’t trying to turn or move the pizza too soon. It is important to allow the crust to set and slightly crisp before you try to rotate it. Try waiting 5 minutes before trying to move it.

I am in desperate need of help please – I am having issues with the pizza sticking to my stone – can someone give me advice on what I can do or not do to keep this from happening in the future. I’ve lost two pizzas now due to the crust sticking to the stone – my husband has suggested I spray the stone with olive oil – but I hesitate to do that. Any advice and/or help would be greatly appreciated.

i learned the BEST way to get the pizza to the stone is make the pizza cold by placing it (while still on the peel of course) in the refrigerator. i had to leave the refrig door open and less than a minute the pizza began to move and was able to slide onto the stone. COLD dough is the secret.

Yeast is a microbe but it’s definitely not a bacteria.

Use 1/2 of our flour recipe and 1/2 Semolina for your peel coating. Much better than Cornmeal.

Pizzacraft Simone
Pizzacraft Simone 30 Mar 16:07

Nick: Sounds like you’ve got it down! We do want to caution users that if you use too much cornmeal, the cornmeal will slide off your peel and onto your stone where it’ll burn. If you use it sparingly, you should be fine!

Barb C: Hi Barb! That’s my preferred method too. Luckily we have all kinds of peels here at the Pizzacraft office, as you know! :-P

Pizzacraft Simone
Pizzacraft Simone 30 Mar 16:05

Laraine Agren: I also like using a wooden pizza peel to prep pizzas about to go in the oven. The wood doesn’t absorb heat as easily so it’s less likely to stick. The metal peels are sharper and better for removing the pizza. Still, some people only have a metal peel, and we want to make sure they get the most out of it! If you’re having problems with your pies sliding off the back of the stone in your pizza oven, check out our Pizza Oven Backstop (http://www.pizzacraft.com/collections/portable-pizza-ovens/products/pizza-oven-backstop). It attaches to the back of your stone so your pizza won’t go past it!

Nevio Andreatta: Parchment paper is also a great idea! We use it when making gluten-free crusts especially.

Pizzacraft Simone
Pizzacraft Simone 30 Mar 16:00

Tim Durham: Yes! Par-baking is a great technique. We’ve used it before for pizzas that don’t have traditional red sauce or that have delicate toppings. (Like the dessert pizzas here: http://www.pizzacraft.com/blogs/pizzacraft-blog/91941446-valentines-day-pizza). I’m glad the Pizzeria Pronto meets the approval of someone who clearly has real experience in pizza-making!

Jim: Letting the pizza cook on the metal peel for a few moments is a great technique on our portable outdoor pizza ovens because it’s so much easier to let the peel hang there in the oven opening. It can be a bit harder when you’re cooking in a conventional kitchen oven with a big ol’ door, but if you have a stuck pizza, you gotta do what you gotta do! I also got my mom a pizza screen too for the exact reasons you describe. It definitely helped pizza night run smoothly at my folks’ house!

Tim Dunham
Tim Dunham 27 Mar 06:13

I’m 72 and I learned this tip working in a pizzeria when I was 19! We made our own dough and had our pizza crust rolled out and ready to create our master pizza. So how did we accomplish this. Two ways: (one) we would have someone baking the pizza shells on non stick round pizza pans for 60 seconds. FYI this happens in a 300 degree oven like your kitchen oven. This firms up the crust just enough without destroying the dough texture. Using this 60 second crust we could then pile on the goodies and then using a (corn meal prepared) peel delivery the pizza into the oven without a miss step. (two) if the pizza rush got over whelming we would just build the pizza on the non stick pans and slide the pizza off after 4 minutes. The second method is a pain in the arse if you are working fast in a pizzeria but we did what we had to do. We would never attempt to transfer raw dough from a peel to the oven. Ain’t gonna happen in a pizzeria. I use both methods for my Pizzacraft propane heated pizza oven and I personally like number one way best although other see no difference if I use method two.

Another tip, if it’s really stuck to a metal peel, just leave it there.

Yep, leave the peel on the blazing hot stone; good thing it’s metal, right? After 2-4 minutes, the crust should set well enough to slide right off, as the stone’s heat has passed through the peel into the crust. This trick saved me once or twice.

Now, however, I build all pizza on screens, especially when there are guests, multiple cooks and lots of distractions that mean it takes longer to assemble a pie. I use the same technique; put it into the oven on the screen, use the peel to remove the pizza/screen combo after about 4 minutes, then use the peel under the now-set crust to transfer it back to the stone, naked, to finish up.

The screen technique permits pizza to be made 20-30 minutes in advance, with little risk of them sticking to the screen unless they’re very wet crust or spring a sauce leak. A little practice and all pies are risk-free and have a neat little quilted screen pattern baked onto the underside of the crust.

Laraine Agren
Laraine Agren 22 Mar 18:00

I prefer using a wooden peel. Dough does not stick as quickly.
The only thing more frustrating than dough sticking to the peel is dough sliding off the back of the pizza stone in the Pizza Craft oven. Hate that mess. Impossible to clean up.

Nevio Andreatta
Nevio Andreatta 22 Mar 17:23

Use parchment paper ,works great. Just cut it to shape and no more sticky crust.

Read Jim Lahey’s book My_Pizza. Spread cornmeal on your pizza peel, not flour. Round the pizza dough. Then, place your rounded pizza dough on your pizza peel. Apply your toppings while the rounded pizza dough is on the peel. Jerk your pizza dough with toppings onto your pizza stone. Then, the pizza dough will not get stuck on the peel. Works every time.

Ann Thibeault
Ann Thibeault 22 Mar 16:14

I use a metal peel, have for years. And do what you do. Keep giving it a little shake just to make sure it doesn’t stick. I know many use cornmeal, but I do not like the bit of grit that it adds to the crust. Another tip is to use rice flour. Works better than just flour.

I like using two peels…the wooden one for prepping the pizza and the metal one for helping get the pizza off the wooden one and into the oven. Many times you can flour the surface and still get the sticking (I tend to overload the toppings making it too heavy to slide off without losing everything). It’s a bit of a trick at first to use two peels, but it works for me.

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