I need to buy a peel for transfering bread loaves on/off of a hot baking stone. Any suggestions or opinions on wood versus aluminum? Thanks!
I greatly prefer wood for getting it in and aluminum for getting it out. The wood you can flour up and the wood grains will hold the flour and keep the loaves from sticking. The aluminum is easier to get the bread out with since it is much thinner. So, I have one of each. If I could only have one I would get a wood one since the "in" operation is the tricky one because I make a lot of high-hydration breads. If you are not making high-hydration breads the aluminum may be a better choice.
I just posted this at another blog yesterday:
Some of my first baking experiences involved sourdough pizza. I had many disasters trying to get uncooked pizza off the peel and onto the stone, spilling tomato sauce and cheese all over. When I used lots of semolina, some of it ended up on the oven floor and filled the house with smoke and the reek of burnt flour.
After looking for solutions on the internet, I took a chance and bought a SuperPeel — http://www.superpeel.com/ — watch a couple of the videos...it really is that easy to use. The owner has been enthusiastically responsive to inquiries and even sent me a free backup cloth and a sheet of teflon to improve the transfer of heavy, wet dough (I like Pumpernickel).For me this is a wonderful thing to have. I don't use any extra flour on the peel cloth — no more burnt flour and smoke and no more burnt sauce and greasy cheese on my nice expensive Fibrament stone. With a traditional peel, being the beginner I am, I also had trouble getting wet heavy bread dough to slide off easily and sometimes ended up having them deflate or collapse when shaking them off the peel. I no longer have any problems using the SuperPeel. I am not connected in anyway with SuperPeel, I just want to point out an item that has been extremely helpful to me as a beginning baker, with breads, but ever so much with pizzas. I can't imagine not having it.
I do use an aluminum peel I picked up at a garage sale to remove bread and pizza.
I have a wooden pizza peel and an Epicurean peel.
I prefer the Epicurean because it can double as a cutting board and is easy to clean. Might add that my dough always sits on parchment, which makes moving it in and out of the oven a snap.
Maybe Floyd should add peels to the TFL Amazon link.
I have several wood and metal peels because I use them for pizza making indoors and outdoors....the wood peel if perfect for indoors and can be used for flipping bowls, brothforms ect. over onto the peel with parchment on it. I also have a superpeel...they can come very handy!
One thing I will say in favor of wooden peels, you can get a cheap one at Bed Bath & Beyond. I have two for making pizzas. I plan to get an aluminum peel at some point, and some pizza boxes from Sams Club through special order. And an insulated pizza bag from eBay.
...refrigerator magnets with a phone number for deliveries?
I'll take one ;-)
I have a wooden peel, which is a little too fat on one end but it is good for me because I have limitations in space in my kitchen so it doubles as a place to shape and give the final rise to the dough without pulling out another piece of equipment. It is also handy because after I give it a light cleaning I can re-hang it on my wall. One of these days when I have too much time on my hands I'll hone down an edge. :)
I just ordered a metal peel from King Arthur Flour. I like the fact that it has a very thin edge. Once I use it for a while, I'll let you know what I think.
I've been using my new metal peel from King Arthur for a few weeks now, and I am quite pleased with it. Once I figured out how much cornmeal to put on it, it works great. I like the fact that it is wide yet light and easy to manipulate.
I have bought and used every peel imaginable - aluminum - wood - super peel etc.. They all work, however I have never been satisfied with the results.
When I bake I utilize two ovens with Fibrament stones and try to maximize the number of loaves I can put into the oven. Most of the commercial peels sold seem to be designed for pizza and are too wide and make it very difficult to place and manipulate several loaves on to the stones at one time.
I now build my own custom peels from 1/4" cabinet grade plywood which is very affordable and available at most home centers. I am able to cut them to various widths depending on the shape of my loaves i.e. batard, boule, baguette, etc.. This allows me to maximize the number of loaves that can be placed on the stones quickly and get the ovens closed without a major loss of heat.
My peels vary in width from four inches (baguettes) up to twelve inches (large boules). The length that works for me is between eighteen and twenty-four inches. I cut a sharp knife like taper on both ends to facilitate the loaf removal after baking.
I hope this helps.
I have both wood and aluminium peels. I made two wooden peels with short handles so I can "build" the pizzas directly on them and take them to the brick oven. I have an aluminium peel with a long handle so I can move and position the pizza while it's in the hot oven. The wooden peels need more care but look authentic, and were easy to make. I also use these inside as they have much shorter handles.
I have a picture on flickr of a wooden peel I made in about half and hour with a length of pine, a jig saw, planner and sandpaper to finish off. I made two.
Wow, really nice job!
FWIW. I have 1 aluminum peel and 2 wood peels. I have cut the side off to one of the wood peels to make an 8 inch wide peel to use for baguettes and batards. This eliminates the width of a wider peel from damaging the adjoining loaves when putting them onto the baking stone. The other wood peel, which I use to put free form, banneton shaped boules and brotform shaped loaves into the oven, is slightly less than half the size of my baking stone. Again, to keep the peel from coming in contact with another loaf already on the stone.
I sometimes use the aluminum peel when I bake on parchement and use a large metal spatula, sliding it slightly under the back end of the parchment where the loaf rests, to move the loaf onto the stone to keep it from resisting dragging on the peel. Which one I use depends on which shape loaf I'm baking. Also, occasionally sanding the wood peels with fine sandpaper keeps them nice and smooth, which give less resistance, even when they're sprinkled with semolina or corn meal, when sliding the loaves off, especially for wetter dough loaves like baguettes and batards.
Best of luck with your baking adventures.
Okay - so I found the need for a peel when I started making my own pizza on a stone. I don't have any more room for stuff I use infrequently. So I put parchment paper on my airbake cookie sheet - presto chango - a cheap and efficient pizza peel!
i do the same thing with cheap plastic cutting boards.
I use my airbake cookie sheet the same way. In fact it's about all the use that it gets. I never liked it much as a cookie sheet.
just received the $9.95 from http://www.acemart.com/search.ep?keyWords=Peel&image.x=0&image.y=0&image=search
This particular outfit sells restaurant equipment.
Another vote here for the wooden Super Peel (www.superpeel.com). Gary from Super Peel is indeed very responsive, and shipped one to the UK for me very efficiently. Its neat design takes all the drama out of those oven transfers.
A wood pizza peel is best for sliding your creation into the oven. It is more porous and so stays drier and is less likely to stick to the peel when you slide raw dough. A preliminary dusting of cormmeal, semoline flour, or regular flour helps keep things even drier and more slide-friendly. Condensation collects more between dough and non-absorbant metal. The condensation then causes the dough to stick even more to the peel, making delivery to your oven more difficult.
Once your creation is fully baked, a metal pizza peel (usually aluminum) is better because it's thinner. It's easier to scoop this blade under the loaf, pizza, etc. And at this point, condensation and stickiness is no longer the issue.
Full explanation at http://pizzahomechef.com/Pizza-School
Sorry to disagree with almost everyone, but metal/aluminum is the way to go. However, you need the perforated version. The dough won't stick as much, the flour will fall through the perforated holes, much easier to care for...I could go on and on.
You can see my blog for more information regarding the wood vs. metal debate: http://www.pizzapeelhq.com/blog/
Get Super Parchment or Pan Pal pan liners (thewebstaurantstore.com carries that) and use whatever kind of paddle you like.
I much prefer pizza without all the extra flour and crud people have to use to get the pizza off a naked paddle, hence the reusable parchment stuff has been a life saver around here.