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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I spent an afternoon with my mom, practicing these peel techniques. In the end, we had it down to an art – and even better, we got to enjoy a delicious pizza at the end of our lesson!