The Fresh Loaf

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Getting pizza from counter to oven

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Getting pizza from counter to oven

I just made my first pizza.  It's in the oven, but it was touch-and-go to get it there.  I created it on the counter with corn meal beneath, it slid around fine, but trying to get the peel under it to transfer it to the oven was not happening.  I ended up getting help and using parchment paper and the peel together to transfer it to the oven.  Can someone describe a better way for me?  Perhaps I should put to dough on cornmeal and on the (metal) peel before I add the toppings?  I made enough dough for two, so I can try again tomorrow.  Thanks for any insight.


:-Paul

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I use a perforated pizza pan like this one:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/CookbookPizzaPan.jpg


It cooks in the pan.  I put  a little oil on the surface and plop the stretched dough onto it.  I stretch the sides of the dough to make a perfect fit.  I dress the pizza and I put it on the lowermost rack in the oven with the heat on full blast.  I get a perfect pizza every time.


Actually, the only time I have any problem is when I use a wet dough.  With a dough that is not wet ( 65 or 70 percent hydration?) it never ever sticks and slides off the pan once cooked.


I use my pizza stone for making bread.  There is no way that I can slide a pizza onto that teeny-weeny thing - unless I am making a 10-inch pizza.  And you can't feed a family of four with that...


There is such a thing as a super peel which slides your pizza into the oven on a magic carpet.  But I reckon you could buy two or three pizza pans for the price one a super peel.


 


 


 


 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Does the heat blasting from the bottom of the oven give a nice doneness to the bottom of the pizza?  I guess that's part of the perforated pizza pan's purpose.  I preheated my oven as hot as it would go with my stone on the top rack, then ran the broiler for a few minutes after that to get the stone as hot as possible.  The crust came out pretty good, this was the first one, so I have things to learn.  I think fresh tomatoes are a no-go as they seemed to get things pretty soggy.  Next one, no fresh tomatoes.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Paul,


Use the Italian Roma tomatoes..you want to use tomatoes with a lot of meat and not much seeds " fresh Roma"...if there is juice and seeds give them a little sweeze over the sink to release some of the juice and seeds...I have used whole fresh tomatoes from my garden with no problem but they were very nice and meaty...just slice them a little thinner and let them drain a little...I wish I still had a photo to show you...it all takes practice...every step in making a pizza needs perfected...Paul in the earlier post knows how to transfer to the oven...parchment is great and so is the SuperPeel...highly recommend Superpeel has saved many a stuck pizza dough.  I have learned with practice to use only flour on a  wooden and semolina on metal to transfer my pizza to the very hot stone....I make smaller pizza's 10" because they can cook so fast ...just over a minute is all it takes woodfired...to do this you have to make sure your peel has a very thin coat of flour rubbed all over it...get your pizza toppings on I say within a minute's time is good!....keep it moving! when walking to the oven...shake that paddle...don't let the pizza settle down and stick...if it does pick up the little stuck bit and blow some flour under it...semolina flour is great {but does smoke and burn in the oven}...the reason I don't usually use it is because I may shape my dough right on the wooden paddle at times and I don't want the meal getting into my dough..but semolina works good when I'm making a pizza outside in the woodfired oven and I have to use a metal peel because the oven is so hot it would torch my wooden one and the semolina gives more glide to the dough for the longer walk I have to the oven from the kitchen...I haven't started making them outside next to the oven yet.


Have everything for toppings sitting right next to were you are stretching your dough..when your dough is shaped..add your sauce...less is more...it will thicken up as it cooks, cheese, toppings,  go very lite until you learn to keep the pizza from sticking..start with tomato sauce herbs, cheese, some topping, like olives, pepperoni, mushrooms...no more than say 3 toppings...and go light...If you get to many heavy toppings the more it's going to stick.  I aim for a pizza to be nice and browned on the bottom and crown a little charring here and there especially woodfired.. the sauce thickened, toppings cooked, carmalized, cheese melted and not burned.  A good crunchy crust, tender airy crumb...you don't need a pan for this...the very hot stone will give you the best crust...if the stone is to hot then I have been told to use what is called a Pizza Screen.


 


 


I make my dough very wet and somewhat sticky...so I have everything organized to move fast.. 


I put my stone in a 550F preheated at least 45 min oven on the next to lowest level in the  convection oven.


This is all just what works for me.  Have fun Paul.


Sylvia


 


 


 


 


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Paul, I almost always use parchment.  Saves on clean up too if anything runs over the edges.


I also use fresh sliced tomatoes (everytime) but sliced very very thin scattered on top of a thick sauce spread thin.  If the sauce is very wet, I can see how it could get soggy.   One thing I haven't yet tried is just forgetting the sauce, drag the tomato slices through pizza herbs and throw them on naked dough.  One could drizzle with a little olive oil if needed but usually the cheese does that.  Have fun, sounds like your're doing fine. 


I'm also in the middle of making pizzas but just baking the dough crust without toppings.  Once cool, I will top, wrap and label.  They are heading for the freezer for fast food. 


Mini


 

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Actually, the cheese cooks faster than the bottom of the pizza.  If you cook it at lower temperature it will take longer and then the bottom will brown (or even burn) before the cheese has time to gratinee.


So the secret seems to be high temperature and bottom-rack.


Ironically, I use my pizza stone for everything else except pizza.  But to get it as hot as possible when using it for bread, I think you need to leave it in the oven for a long period of time (about an hour) regardless of whether you are using the broiler.


 


Fresh tomatoes should work fine on pizza if you put them on top of the cheese.  Brush them with a little oil to get them to brown just right.


 


You can also go light and lay down your dough, brush it with olive oil, spread thinly sliced tomatoes, some basil leaves and a very small amount of grated parmigian cheese on top(you can get away with a mozzarella, but don't use a lot).  No sauce, just fresh tomatoes.  The crust is the highlight of that kind of pizza.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Mini and Azajac.  I see I posted to the right forum.  Great ideas!  I love having homemade stuff in the freezer to whip out for a quick but still homemade meal.  I never thought of doing pizza without the tomato sauce, but these days it's all about the dough - I'm a bakin' fool.  I can go for another month working on these variations. 


:-Paul


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Paul,


I usually sprinkle either cornmeal or semolina (which I think works even better) on my peel before laying the stretched out dough on the peel.  Then I put the toppings on the dough.  If I'm moving a little slowly with the toppings, I'll give the peel a gentle shake or two just to make sure that everything is moving freely.  After the toppings are complete, I slip the pizza from the peel onto the stone.  Not sure how best to describe the movement; it's a small jerk to start things moving, then a smooth pull on the peel (which is slightly inclined downward to the stone).  It isn't so much that I'm dumping the pizza off of the peel as it is that I'm pulling the peel out from under the pizza.  If that makes any sense to you.


 


Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hey, I like that!  Thanks! 


I plan on bacon w/ crab meat and spring onions on at least one pizza.  Those crabs slabs are getting little blankets!


Mini


 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I'm a strong believer in parchment paper.  It has saved me many, many times.


Everyone that I know of here who has bought a Super Peel has also expressed a high degree of satisfaction with them.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

After much experimentation I have found a fool proof way of making fabulous pizza and it is extremely easy to transfer. First stretch your dough and then place it on the cornmeal dusted peel and brush lightly with olive oil. then place the crust on your preheated for one hour 500 degree pizza stone for just 1-2 min. You will have perfect pizza every time. The crust just sets up enough to allow ease of topping and transfer. You then remove the crust from the oven and put on as much topping as you want. It won't make the crust soggy, you don't have to hurry, it never sticks to anything during this process and can then be transferred back to the hot stone. The stone should be in the bottom of the oven not the top. You bake an additional 6 min and it is the best pizza you will ever eat. I use the PR Neo Neopolitan recipe on this forum. I just posted pics if you want to see. Caroline

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Caroline,


I'll give that a try.  I've gotten OK with getting the crust to the oven - I use parchment paper.  However I'm intrigued with the 1 -2 minute prebake idea.  Why do you say to put the stone at the bottom of the oven instead of the top?


:-Paul

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

2 reason's for placing the stone in the bottom. One is that you don't want the top to brown before the bottom and toppings are cooked. In all ovens I have used the higher up the rack the browner the top gets. Also I have  Miele ovens and I use Intensive which is a setting that heats mainly from the bottom but also circulates air as it is a convection setting. It is considered to be a "brick oven " setting by the Miele people to try and replicate the design. The best I have been  told is that you should get a 2nd stone and put it on the upper rack and bake the pizza on the lower so that the heat also radiates down. I am going to do that when I get soom extra $$. Hope this helps. Caroline

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Another way to cheat that with Pizza is your large stone, the trusty one you already use for your loafs, on the lower, but not lowest, rack...
Now on the upper rack a large heavy empty sheet pan.
Your tasty Pizza will be in a smaller even-temperature area.
I've got one I used just for this, one that doesn't pop-and-crackle-twist-and-jump. :-)

donenright's picture
donenright

I have resisted converting my pizza baking to the peel-and-stone technique because I couldn't figure out how I would do the oven transfer without making an unholy mess. I make a very thin-crust pizza and it just doesn't seem like it would have enough structure to make the transfer. However, I might give it a try using some of these suggestions.


I really like the idea of using an extra pan to create a smaller baking area.


At the moment, I'm using a pizza sheet in the oven, but removing the sheet partway through, leaving the pizza to finish "bare-naked" on the rack. It seems to brown the crust nicely.


Thanks all, I'm learning a lot. 


don