The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Transfering dough to the stone - CALLING ALL PIZZA MAKERS!

Newfieguy's picture

Transfering dough to the stone - CALLING ALL PIZZA MAKERS!

OK so this past week I make a wonderful ciabata with the recipe going around in here.

It turned out heavenly!  I am still a newb when it comes to making bread other than my own bread so I was very happy to see this one turn out so well!  I tried to post a few pics but managed to botch that up some how as well!

Anyway, pizza dough, bread loaf, whatever, how in the heck do you manage to get it from the counter to the stone?  Let's talk PIZZA for a second.  Ok, you have made the perfect dough, looks amazing, your options are to put it ON the stone when you put the toppings on and then put the whole thing in the oven but then you have a stone cold stone so to speak and the center is MUSH.

The other option is to put it on a peel and then try and pull the old pulling the table cloth off the table routine trick to get it on the stone but that will never work either most times no matter how much flour you put on the peel due to the weight of the pizza and you normally wind up with a lap full of tomato sauce!

Can anyone help me out here?  A silicon sheet is not as effective on the stone.  What is the solution?


THanks all!



Newfieguy's picture

Sorry everyone!  I kept reading after I posted this and I see someone has posted the exact same question below!  I will have a read and come back with any questions!



Newfieguy's picture

OK read through it all but it is more geared to silicon mats.  I did read something interesting though, top the pizza on parchment or tin foil.  Does anyone go along with that? 

The issue I had last night was that I went to far to top the pizza ON THE PEEL!  I guess I was pushing down on mushrooms and toppings so it kind of partially squished the dough into the peel and then when I tipped it up to slide it on to the stone it did not budge!  I tried to yank the peel back to slid it off that way and again nothing b udged!  hehe

Maybe the answer is to roll it out and then top it on parchment or tinfoil and then cut the parchment round like the pizza, put the pizza AND the parchment on the peel and it should slide off like a frisbee I am guessing!

Anyone have any problems with that method?



Newfie Newb

caryn's picture

Your answer is parchment paper!! I don't think I would have been successful at all without the bread baker's best tool. Parchment paper makes it possible to handle the stickiest doughs that would otherwise be almost impossible to move from peel to stone. What you do is place the rolled out dough for pizza, or the formed loaf for bread on the parchment paper. For extra safety, to prevent sticking, I usually lightly oil the paper first. Then you move the pizza or bread still on the paper onto the stone. The paper will not burn, and it will come off very easily. If you are making a loaf, you can easily remove the paper after about 15 or 20 minutes, but I don't think that is even necessary. Note that for loaves, you have the dough rise right on the parchment paper, covered with plastic wrap, removing the wrap just before slashing and putting it in the oven.

earth3rd's picture

I worked in a pizza shop for a few years. The pizza maker would lightly flour the pizza peel, strech the dough by hand typically the way you see them throw it in the air, put the ingredients on, and at the end just before putting it in the oven he would lift an edge and blow a puff of air under the pizza. At that point the pizza was just kind of hovering on the board and he then inserted it into the oven with the table cloth type of pull. I tried it myself on several occasions and never once had a problem. Presto.

Binns Handy's picture
Binns Handy


A piece of parchment works great, especially with wet dough, trim the corners to prevent scorching.

An alternative to the peel or parchment is to preheat your stone in the oven, form your crust dough, have your toppings ready to go,  then move the hot stone to the range top.  Pick up your dough up like a pie crust and place it on the hot stone, top immediately and return to the oven as fast as you can.  This works better with drier doughs.

Sliding a pizza off a peel into a large flat oven is one thing, sliding one onto a stone of the same size at home is hit and miss.

Hotter is better for pizzas, 450d or higher.  Thin crust and few toppings is the way, moisture is your enemy.

kmrice's picture

Since hotter is better (and it really is) I would think transfering the stone to the range top, building the pizza, and then returning it to the oven would be the last thing you would want to do. Huge heat loss. The biggest problem with pizza at home is that the oven, at best, will only be 500 - 550 degrees rather than the optimal 700 - 800. Opening the door twice and letting the stone cool down only adds to this problem.

I dust my peel with a mix of half rice flour and half bread flour and, if I build the pizza quickly, I never have problems sliding it onto the stone.


Franko's picture

That's the best tip for transfer I've heard of yet! I've always gone the parchment route and then removed the paper after about 5-10 minutes. This technique sounds easier and less wasted paper. Thanks


wally's picture

Newfie- Either place a piece of parchment on a flat cookie sheet, then shape your pizza on the parchment and slide it onto to your hot baking stone, or liberally sprinkle the cookie sheet with coarse semolina  or corn meal, quickly shape your pizza on it and then and slide the pizza onto the stone.  From my experience, I prefer parchment - it's a guaranteed no-stick solution.  Many folks complain that parchment paper is expensive, which is true; however, you can reuse parchment as long as it has not become brittle.  For me, that's 2 - 3 bakes, so not so expensive after all.


Newfieguy's picture

Awesome thanks all!  It was hilarious last night me with this big honking old pizza stuck to the peel and not able to cook it!

I need to get a "Stubby" handle pizza peel so I can just chuck the whole pizza peel in the oven and be done with it!  hehe

acbova's picture

But recently went back to semolina and it worked great.   I'm also thinking of sanding my peel it's a little rough and might be causing some issues.

SylviaH's picture

but I shape my dough right on a very, very lightly floured peel, top it lightly or even a heavy topping and can slide if right off onto the hot indoor or wfo oven outside...the trick is to work fast..have all your toppings ready at hand and keep the dough moving on the it little jerks..and then with a single jerk forward and then back, tip of the peel down onto the hot stone.  It can be fun..make up some dough just for practice..what video's on you-tube.  Think of all the parchment paper you will save.


Crider's picture

And a combo of reqular flour and semolina on the bench and the peel. I put the dough in a plate with the flour/semolina and coat all sides, then put it on the counter which is heavily dusted. I shape the pizza to make it round, then transfer to a floured pizza peel. I apply the sauce, and after that check to see if it is sticking, then I throw on the toppings quickly and check again for slideability before I try to put it in the oven.

Watch Tony Gemignani do it right:

LBH's picture

I watched with awe your video about rolling out pizza dough.  I grew up in the NYC area and miss NY pizzas.  Unfortunately, Kansas has nothing like NYC pizza!  Anyway, I've tried making my own, but my dough never turns out like yours.  Do you share your dough recipe?  I'd absolutely love to have some with the stretch yours has.  Wouldn't it be fun to "wow" my Kansas friends with a real NYC pizza???  If you would share your dough recipe and mixing techniques, I'd be grateful!

Crider's picture

It was a champion pizza tosser. There's a website, Pizza Making that has many, many recipes by skilled amateurs. They even have a section on NY pizzas. I suggest you check that site out for a recipe. My own recipe is a sourdough and is nothing special, 60% hydration, standard bread flour, with only about 5% starter. I mix the dough, let it rise just a little bit, then form balls and have them sit in the 'fridge for at least one day.

SteveB's picture

LBH, if you are looking to bake a NY-style pizza, you might be interested in the following:




sphealey's picture

I use a maple peel well-dusted with semolina.  I put the stretched dough round on that, then build the pizza (sauce, stuff, cheese, etc).  If the dough is relatively dry I can sometimes just slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone the way they do at the pizza parlor, but usually I just have to encourage it a bit with a metal spatula.  It is quite remarkable how slipperly a very thin layer of semolina is (and as a bonus semolina burns to a nice brown without the smell of burned flour).


jennyloh's picture

I use both baking sheet and peel,  easy to transfer from peel into oven as the baking sheet slide down.  And to get the crispy bottom,  remove the baking sheet after 10 minutes when its dried out to pull the baking sheet off.

turosdolci's picture

I use a little semolina on the peel and it slides off onto the stone without any problem. Parchment paper works also.

Zeb's picture

If you can afford the outlay there is a gadget called a super peel which does the table cloth trick for you!  I have one of these, before I got that I used a flexible thin plastic sheet dusted with semolina and that worked ok as well.


ps  I see there are lots of old threads about the pros and cons of the super peel on here if you have a search you can see what others have written about it. Hope this helps.

here's the link to the vendor's site too

tommy2stick's picture

Two things work best for me with pizza:

First, semolina always worked much better than flour.  Sort of mimics ball-bearings.  Flour is much more easily absorbed by the pizza dough when placed on the wooden peel.  I have semolina in a little shaker dispenser that applies it nicely.  And don't scrimp on it.  More is better than less until you find the right balance.

Second, you've got to shake that thing, and not just once or twice!  Letting the dough sit on the peel while you get the sauce out of the fridge, bring the cheese over to the counter, maybe slice up the mushrooms, is going to cause big problems.  So... shake it as soon as you put the dough on...shake it again after you apply the sauce....once again after the first topping...etc.  In no time, you will learn just how long the pizza can sit before it's in danger of sticking and how the little shake keeps everything just right.  Once learned, you'll do it instinctively and your problem will be solved.

jcamador's picture

Don't sand the peel! You want a well-seasoned peel with flour in every pore of the wood. If it's a little rough from old dough or whatever, just get a dough scraper and give it a quick scrape.

Once it's dressed and on the peel give it little shakes to keep it moving like mentioned above. You don't want it sitting on the peel too long so be quick. As you're moving it to the oven, if you find it sticking, try lifting the edge of the dough and giving a quick puff (like blowing out a candle),  this creates an airpocket that should separate the dough from the peel.

acbova's picture

It's the wood, it's very soft and rough.  I've scraped it before but I think just once I need to sand.  

Then the flour and/or semolina will work even better.

Don Bigote's picture
Don Bigote

I usually stretch 120g of dough to almost 12 inches across.. so you could imagine how thin it gets.  Even as I have become adept at sliding the dressed pizza off a flour dusted wooden peel (semolina is a rarity in these parts), there's little assurance the pizza will land and turn out evenly round.  

What works for me, especially when having to bake more than just a couple of pizzas in an occassion, is to par bake the crust(s).  I spread the thinly stretched dough onto a pizza pan, put the pan into the hot oven for about half a minute or till the crust shows some oven spring and sets into a thin oversized rubbery floppy pancake, then take it out.  The partially cooked pizza crust may then be topped and put right back into the oven, this time directly on the stone.  Even when rather heavily topped, the par baked crust will slide off just about any flat surface you dressed it on; a peel, a cutting board, the back of a metal tray.. whether dusted with flour, semolina or nothing.  Even if, in some cases, the pizza won't readily slide off, you can always just nudge or push it off the peel without fear of deforming it.  



Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

That's what I ended up do too Don. Usually when I make pizzas it is for a crowd. To be able to keep up with the hungry mouths I have a stack of pre-baked (about 2 minutes at 550 on a pizza pan with holes) and can burn pizzas about as fast as you can top them. Well, maybe not quite that fast! lol I don't hear any grumbling about not have some hot pizza on the table! Never had complaint of gooy dough in the center either.

I did use flour once but at 550* it burns bad. Same with corn meal makes the smoke alarms go off forever! If you haven't found semolina in the store, give the health food store a go. They usually have Bob's Red Mill there. At least on the west coast and here in Hawaii





makrma4's picture

heresy, but I actually roll my dough out on the parchment.  I've never been able to master dough tossing.  I cut sheets of parchment that fit my baking stone, then lightly flour the parchment to facilitate rolling, drop the dough ball onto the parchment and roll to my desired thickness (French rolling pin is best!).  Then I top it, slide my wooden peel under the parchment, and pop the whole thing in the oven. The parchment I buy (Reynolds) won't burn from 500F or lower, and it takes about 10-12 minutes at 500F for my particular style of 'za.  When it's done, the parchment usually curls a little at an edge so I pick that up (it cools very quickly)and slide the peel under it, and voila, out it all comes!  I hold the parchment corner when I slide the pizza off the peel so the parchment doesn't stay with the finished pizza.  I get lovely crisp crusts this way, but you can do it with any depth. Have fun developing your style!

jet's picture

parchment paper. works wonderfully. i put my dough on the paper, top it, then slide it very easily onto my stone in the over. 


Candango's picture

I have seen comments here on the benefits of flour and semolina and on parchment.  There are pros and cons to each, depending on what you are used to.  Personally, I prefer using a slightly rough grind of corn meal (not the superfine corn flour used for tortillas).  You can usually find this in many supermarkets and it is quite inexpensive, especially when you consider that one bag can last at least a year (depending on the number of pizzas or loaves of bread you make).  Sometimes it is sold in cheap celophane bags, so it is best to transfer the cornmeal to a zip closed bag after you open it.  


I usually open the pizza on a kitchen countertop and then transfer it to the peel for adding the sauce and toppings.  So I sprinkle (generously) some corn meal on the peel beforehand.  After opening the pizza, I make sure that the bottom is well dusted with flour, then fold it in quarters and carry it to the peel.  (I don't have the luxury of a lot of open space).  Once the dough is opened on the peel, I give the peel a flick to make sure that the pizza is able to slide and is not already glued down.  If I suspect a problem, I can add a bit more corn meal under the specific area and retest it.


After adding the toppings, I again test the peel to make sure the pizza will be mobile when transfering to the stone.  This system has worked on wooden and metal peels, as well as on inverted baking sheets in getting the dough into the oven.  One advantage is that the corn meal doesn't burn the way flour does, it toasts. It adds a nice crunch to the taste of the pizza crust.   So when you have finished baking your single or multiple pizzas and let the oven and the stone cool down, you should wipe up the now well toasted crumbs of corn meal before using the oven again.  


Have fun.

wassisname's picture

Just makes life so easy.  No muss, no fuss.  Even with my supercrazyultrasticky WW dough.

kmrice's picture

Rice Flour.

Dust your peel with rice flour (or half rice and half wheat) and your pizza or bread will slide right off.


pattyfermenty's picture

you want to use the peel, not parchment paper. parchment paper is a nuisance and interferes with the bottom crust.

3 things will fix the problem. get a wooden peel and like someone said, fill every pore with flour -- you want it seasoned over time.

use semolina (flour will work also, but semolina is easier) 

most important: put the toppings on the pizza while the pizza is on the coutertop. THEN, after it is topped, slide the pizza on the lightly floured peel and directly slide onto the stone. the key is to shorten the time that the pizza is on the peel.