The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with loading bread off peel onto stone!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Help with loading bread off peel onto stone!

Help! I'm just learning to use my new peel and stone. Trying to break away from putting all my breads on or in a pan. So, today I had a beautiful loaf of Multi-flour miche ready to load into the oven. Thought I did everything right. I put cornmeal on the peel. Had the stone blazing hot. Went to load it and the darn thing stuck to the peel. I used my pastry cutter to push it off the peel and it ends up as a squished up mound at the front of the stone, stuck to the stone and the door of the oven.

Is this a normal newbie problem? More cornmeal, put loaf on peel at the very last second? How do you keep a fairly wet dough from sticking to the stone?What should I do different next time? I will learn how to do this, even if I have to throw a hundred loaves away in the process!

I just hope I didn't ruin my multi-flour miche, it was looking and smelling so nice. I'm thinking this is going to be my very favorite formula to start working with. (from Hamelman's Bread)

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I give up! Now the bottom burned and the top wasn't even close to done. I think in this little RV oven I just don't get enough circulation with the pizza stone or something. I was doing much better without the stone, even with my pizzas on a cookie sheet.  I do have a big stepping stone brick on the bottom for thermal mass but since I've added this stone I've had nothing but trouble.

I checked the cooking temperature and it's right on the dot perfect so not sure what the problem is except that the stone is almost exactly the same size as the oven itself. I'm going to take it out for now and save it for when I go back in the house.

In the meantime, I'll start building another mixed starter for this mixed flour miche. I was so looking forward to this bread. It sounded and smelled so wonderful! If I start building my starter now I'll be able to bake it again on Saturday I guess. Tomorrow have to work 12 hours or more.:(

mrfrost's picture

What kind of peel do you have, wood or metal? I don't have experience with metal, but have read they are stickier than the wood. The wood is better in terms of being less sticky, so they are thought to be better for loading the dough into the oven. The metal, being thinner, is better for removing pizza and baked items from the oven.

For wood peels, even if I use cornmeal or semolina, I still rub a good coating of white flour well into the peel, as if you are trying to get the flour into the grain of the peel. Then the next key, is to put an adequate dusting of cornmeal, semolina, (or even more white flour), etc.

Then the next key, especially for pizza, when you first put your formed dough onto the peel, you lift the peel up and give it little jiggle-jerks, to insure the dough is not sticking. You want to see the dough dancing around(ever so slightly). You do this periodically and also as you add each topping item, you do the little jiggle-jerk test in between each item.

For a big, wet ball of dough, you just want to make sure you have that peel well floured, and well dusted.

It's just one of the things that gets easier and easier the more you do it. The keys,  especially starting out, are to use plenty of flour and dusting material, and periodically test.

Can't say much about the toaster oven, but I imagine heat circulation and insulation can be challenging issues. You will probably need to try several strategies of your own devising to get your breads evenly cooked. Maybe try not preheating the stone, or not preheating it very long. Maybe just try lowering the temp. Check the seals around the door to see want can be done about escaping heat, etc.

PeterPiper's picture

I can't recommend enough to use parchment paper.  It won't leave burned cornmeal in your oven, won't stick to baked bread, and is very inexpensive.  I know [cough cough] from experience that it burns if you're up over 600, so don't use it for pizza.  Try moving that shelf up a level so you don't burn the bottom of your bread, or slip some tinfoil under there if it's starting to darken too much.  Happy baking!


LindyD's picture

If the stone is the same size of the oven, then the air circulation is being impeded.

You need about an inch of open space on each side of the stone.

I'll triple ditto the parchment.

Oldcampcook's picture

I double ditto LindyD's comment.  You need at least an inch of air space on ALL sides. And I bake on parchment all the time.



Janknitz's picture

It makes life SO much easier. 

I try to trim the parchment to no more than 1" around the loaf so that the parchment doesn't burn.  Unless your over is really hot, the parchment under the dough will not burn.  I use  "If you care" brand (available at Whole Foods, among other places) becuase it's rated for  450 degrees, Reynolds parchment sold in most grocery stores is only rated to 420 degrees.  The If You Care brand is not any more expensive and it goes further because the roll is longer in length and shorter in width.  Plus, it's not bleached--better for the environment. 

I don't use cornmeal or other grains on the peel, because the burning grain and my lungs do NOT get along. 

wally's picture

Parchment paper is a foolproof solution.  But a generous dusting of rice flour on your peel would work as well.  It accepts moisture very reluctantly, and for that reason we use it in dusting boards, couches, and wood peels. You may need to brush off any excess accumulation from the bottom of your loaf when its finished baking, but that's easily done.

sewcial's picture

I can't agree enough with the parchment!

I use it all the time and it is well worth the cost. Years ago, when I made pizza, I often had a messed up pizza because of sticking. Since I found this forum and started using parchment for all my breads and pizza, it's a dream...Like so simple to slide bread in and out. I do use cornmeal under pizza and very wet breads, but never bother under firm bread. I can usually reuse my parchment several times, too, so it cuts down on the cost. 


occidental's picture

I guess at this point I'm 'beating a dead horse' but ditch the cornmeal and try out parchment.  I tried cornmeal on a stone once and just ended up with a lot of burned cornmeal and a smoky kitchen.  I use parchment at temperatures as high as my oven will go (550 F) and it doesn't burn.  Once I tried it I have never even thought about any other method.

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I find that it usually sticks around the sides, where the proofed loaf degases somewhat and shlumps onto the peel. If you don't have enough cornmeal around the edges, it'll stick there. The secret I've found is to sprinkle the cornmeal over an area on the peel that is BIGGER than the loaf.

I think parchment is too expensive to use every time I bake.

Firatcim's picture

I agree with all the commentators that the parchment paper is a foolproof solution. However, the sacrifice is the bottom of the dough, which never sets quiet the same as when I don't use parchment. Any thoughts?