The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

stuck on the peel

OUTLANDER's picture

stuck on the peel

I cant seem to get my pizza off the peel without messing up the shape and tossing all the toppings to one side. Ive tried a little, then a lot of cornmeal, tin foil, wax paper, ext. nothing works well . any advice ?

pmccool's picture

Suggestion 1: If you haven't tried semolina yet, it's worth a look.  Has the same effect as cornmeal but is a coarsely ground flour from durum wheat.  Works like millions of tiny ball bearings.

Suggestion 2: If you don't like the smoky, scorched effect that can come from flour / cornmeal / semolina, use baker's parchment paper between the crust and the peel.  Parchment won't melt and stick to your stone like wax paper and allows moisture to escape, unlike foil.  Plus, heat activates it's non-stick properties.  You can usually get several uses out of a single piece, too.  Look for it in the same section as the foils and wax paper in most supermarkets.

Suggestion 3: Work really, really fast and don't put very much on your pizza.  We're talking less than a minute from putting the dough on the peel to sliding the assembled pizza into the oven.  Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to place.

Suggestion 4: If you like a loaded pizza, put the bare crust into the oven for a minute or 5 (depends on your oven's temperature) to partially bake and firm up.  Then take it out, load it up, and slide it back in.  You might want to brush the top surface of the dough lightly with olive oil before the first bake.

Suggestion 5: Give your peel a good shake to make sure that the pizza is loose before opening the oven door.  It will still be a bother to get it unstuck if it has bonded with the peel, but it's a lot easier than trying to do same when the mess is already oozing all over the oven.

Suggestion 6: Practice, practice, practice.  I'm not quite sure how to describe the motion, but it is more like pulling the peel out from under the pizza than it is like thrusting the pizza onto the stone.  The disasters may be ugly but they usually taste pretty good.

Happy baking.


OUTLANDER's picture

thanks. I look forward to trying all your suggestion. 

Alfie's picture

I just had the same issue with ciabatta.  The wooden peel is very porous and has a half inch beveled area before the runway.  This is where things stick because corn meal falls off easily.  It might be that a thin cookie sheet without that bevel is the solution.  I was making six loafs and switched to parchament paper.  This was after the first two surrealistic creatures begrudingly landed on the stone.

gary.turner's picture

As Paul said, give the peel a little shake when you load it to be sure the dough isn't stuck to the peel. Do it again after you add the ingredients.  If the dough sticks, lift it a bit and throw a little more flour or corn meal onto the peel. Better to fix it now than when lying half on and half off the hot stone.

Place the tip of the peel where you want the dough to be. If the handle of the peel is pointing at three o'clock when lying flat, you want to raise the handle about 30° so that it points to two o'clock. That will put the beveled tip of the peel right on the stone, and provide a gentle slope for the dough to slide down. Give the peel a little shake forward and back, and as the dough slides onto the stone, pull the peel back without raising the tip.

I think a seasoned peel works better. Layer on a goodly amount of olive oil, and allow all that will to soak in. Wipe down the rest and let the peel "dry" for a day or two. Repeat until no more oil is absorbed. The oil will oxidize, becoming a cross-linked polymer that seals the wood. The well seasoned peel or breadboard will need less flour to provide the same non-stick surface.

kmrice's picture

Dust your peel with a 50/50 mix of white rice flour and bread flour. Your pizza will slide right off. 100% rice flour might work even better, but 50/50 does the job for me.