If you have visions of creating restaurant-quality pizzas in your home kitchen, you must outfit yourself with the same sort of equipment that the pros use. One essential item to have is a pizza peel. Not only will you feel like a pizza expert when you start using a pizza peel for your cooking, but you’ll also find that it’s safer and easier to get your pizzas in and out of the oven.
Your home-baked pizzas deserve top treatment, and a peel can help you achieve that. Ahead, learn what to look for in the best pizza peel.
What Is a Pizza Peel?
Many people believe that you’ll get the best pizza-baking results if you place the pizza directly on the oven rack or a hot pizza stone. A specialty tool can help you do just that. A pizza peel is a large spatula designed for sliding pizzas in and out of the oven.
It has a large, flat area that fits a pizza. This is known as the blade. Attached to that is a long handle. Holding the handle allows you to move the pizza without putting your hands into the hot oven.
Wooden Versus Metal Peels
Pizza fans commonly use wooden or metal peels. Which of these materials is the better choice for your pizza peel?
Wooden peels are better for transferring unbaked pizzas into the oven. The dough is less likely to stick to a wooden peel than a metal one.
Metal can be formed into a thinner peel than wood can, however. Therefore, you’ll find it easier to maneuver a cooked pizza with a metal peel. You can also use a metal peel during the baking process if you want to reposition the pizza.
The most common metals used for pizza peels are aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum is lightweight, which makes these peels comfortable to hold. However, stainless steel peels can bear more weight, so those peels can lift fully loaded deep-dish pizzas.
You might find that just one peel isn’t enough for your collection. It can be handy to have a wooden one for unbaked pizzas and a metal one to use with cooked pizzas. If you need to choose just one, consider:
- Flouring a metal peel before placing uncooked pizza dough onto it.
- Using tongs to pull a cooked pizza onto a wooden peel after baking.
How to Care for a Pizza Peel
Metal pizza peels are easy to care for. A large one won’t fit one into your dishwasher, but you can handwash it with soap and water and leave it to air dry.
Wooden pizza peels require more care, however. Too much exposure to moisture will warp the blade. The heat of the oven can contribute to warping as well.
To protect your wooden peel, consider rubbing a layer of mineral oil over its surface. The oil will act as a sealant that helps guard against damage. You can repeat this process about once a month.
It’s best not to wash your peel with water. Many experts recommend wiping its surface with white vinegar instead. Vinegar is a disinfectant that can kill microorganisms that the peel might otherwise harbor.
If you do choose to wash your peel with soap, dry it with a towel right away. Allow any residual moisture to air dry. Don’t store your peel until it is fully dry.
You may be able to fix a peel that has already warped. Set a heavy object over the warped area. Leave it in place overnight or until the peel becomes flatter.
Keep in mind that slicing your pizza on a wooden peel can damage its surface. Cuts and divots in the blade can increase the likelihood that your dough will stick to the peel instead of sliding effortlessly into the oven.
Pizza Peel Handles
One of the most important components of a pizza peel is its handle. Without a long handle, you can’t keep your hands and arms out of the hot oven. There are a few handle features to consider when shopping for a peel:
- Length: There’s no one set length that’s a must for a home pizza peel, but you should keep the size of your oven in mind when shopping. You want a peel with which you can touch the back wall of your oven without having to reach your hands inside the appliance.
- Design: Some pizza paddle handles are offset from the blade. These keep your hands away from the oven rack if you are holding the peel near the flat portion. An offset design may be particularly important on short-handled peels.
- Material: A metal pizza peel may have a wooden or metal handle. Wood is a good material because it stays cool while in use. A metal handle, on the other hand, can get hot quickly. Therefore, it’s best if a metal handle has some sort of protective cover, such as a rubber sleeve.
- Foldability: Pizza paddles with long handles can be large items to store. Some peels have folding handles for more compact storage. You may even be able to fit a folding peel into your regular kitchen cabinets.
Pizza Peel Shapes
Blades are typically round or square. A peel that is square may have a rounded front edge. For a home oven, you can use a peel of pretty much any shape. You might prefer a round one if you regularly cook circular pizzas and want your peel to match. However, if you sometimes make rectangular pizzas as well, you might find that a square blade can better accommodate a variety of pie shapes.
Where to Store a Peel
The longer a peel’s handle it is, the more troublesome it may be to find a place to store the utensil. Consider the following areas of your home as potential storage spots:
- Hanging from a nail on the wall.
- Resting on top of your refrigerator or cabinets.
- Sitting in a tall cabinet.
- Wedged in the space between your refrigerator and your wall.
If Your Pizza Sticks to the Peel
Even if you buy the best pizza peel, it’s possible that your unbaked pizza will stick get stuck to it sometimes. This happens to everyone now and then, but if you know how to prep your pizza properly, you’ll reduce the chances of it happening to you regularly.
First of all, don’t ready your dough right on the pizza paddle. Shape it on a separate work surface before transferring it to the peel. Another thing to do before placing your dough on the peel is to lightly flour the peel or sprinkle it with cornmeal. Once you have the dough in place, build your pizza quickly. The longer you linger, the more time that the dough will have to get stuck. As you work, jostle the peel now and then to prevent the dough from becoming too settled.
When you’re ready to transfer the pizza to the oven, use a quick motion to deliver it to the oven rack. Thrust the peel toward the rear of the oven before jerking the peel back toward you. With this series of movements, the peel should move out while the pizza stays in the oven. The more quickly you can transfer the pizza, the better. If your dough gets hot, it will become even stickier.
The Top 5 Pizza Peels
Now that you know what to look for in a pizza peel, check out these five options. They feature some of the best characteristics available for pizza paddles.
1. Pizza Royale Bamboo Pizza Peel
Bamboo is a good choice for a wooden pizza peel because it is a strong, sturdy material. This bamboo pizza peel measures 19.6 inches by 12 inches. The blade itself is about 12 inches by 13 inches, and the handle is about 7 inches long. This isn’t the longest handle, but if your oven isn’t deep, this can be a good choice for your pizza spatula.
Bamboo is different from other types of wood used for peels. The manufacturer recommends hand-washing this peel with soap and water and advises that you can cut your pizza directly on the blade if you choose. Bamboo also has natural antimicrobial properties to help your peel stay clean and fresh.
A pre-drilled hole in the handle makes it easy to hang your peel for storage.
2. RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Oven and Pizza Spatula
If you want to begin baking deep-dish pies, take a look at the RSVP Endurance peel. Because it is a stainless steel pizza peel, you can rely on it to lift heavy pizzas out of the oven.
As a trade-off for its stainless steel construction, you do get a little less space on this peel than some others have. This is a round pizza peel with a 10-inch diameter. The offset handle is about 8 inches long. It is made out of metal but has a silicone cover. This not only keeps the handle cool to the touch, but it also provides a comfortable grip.
The overall smaller size of this peel means that it will fit in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
3. New Star Foodservice Aluminum Pizza Peel
The aluminum construction of this metal pizza peel from Kitchen Supply allows it to be both large and lightweight. The blade is a full 16 inches by 18 inches, so it can hold bigger pies than many peels. The edges have a slight bevel to them, so you can easily shimmy your peel underneath a baking pizza.
The handle is about 18 inches long. Part of the handle is metal, and it is riveted to the blade. The remainder of the handle is wood, so you can hold on to it without burning your hands. Some users drill a hole through the wooden portion of the handle so they can hang the peel between uses.
Hand washing is recommended for this metal peel.
4. The Baker’s Board Perfect Peel
Unlike many wooden pizza peels, the Perfect Peel has a long handle, so you can place a pizza in the oven without worrying about burning your hands. The handle on this unit is 20 inches long. The blade is a generous 14 inches by 16 inches. If you don’t require such a large surface, The Baker’s Board also offers an option with a smaller blade and a longer handle.
The Perfect Peel has a beveled edge that helps transition the pizza to the oven. The tool is made by hand out of lightweight basswood, so it’s easy to maneuver.
5. Kalrede Pizza Peel with Foldable Handle
Those who are short on storage space might want to take a look at Kalrede’s folding peel. Between uses, you can flip the handle over the blade so the tool will fit in a cabinet or on a shelf.
Designed for compact storage, this isn’t the biggest pizza peel. The blade measures approximately 9.8 inches by 12 inches. The handle is about 9 inches long. This part of the peel is made of metal and covered with a rubber hand grip. There is a loop at the end, so you can hang the tool if you prefer.
Because of its dishwasher-safe materials and small size, you don’t have to wash this peel by hand.
Are you ready to bake a homemade pizza that’s loaded with sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings? Owning the best pizza paddle can help you achieve that goal. With a pizza peel, not only will you keep your hands out of the hot oven, but you’ll also feel like an expert baker. Add a peel tool to your kitchen collection, and you’ll be ready to bake a pizza pie whenever a craving for crisp crust and cheesy toppings strikes.