The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why corn flour on the peel?

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PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Why corn flour on the peel?

Hi all,

Can someone pls inform  me why it is suggested that we use cornflour or cornmeal on the peel, transfer paddle or the couche cloth instead of AP flour or regular bread flour? What's the difference?

Comments

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

The theory is that the larger particles of corn meal(or semolina, which is often also suggested) acts as a layer of "ball bearings", allowing the pizza/loaf to slide off without sticking to the surface.

I actually, usually work in a good coating of flour on the (wooden)peel first, to sort of (possibly) fill in tiny, unseen cracks and pits. Then also use the corn meal(I actually use semolina, almost exclusively).

teejtc's picture
teejtc

I also find that the larger particles don't seem to burn, whereas the flours havea higher tendancy to do so.

Grace and peace,

  tim

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

I use Semolina (Durum Grind) for the "ball bearing effect and the authentic flavor.  Toasted wheat on the baking stone is more condusive to pizza flavor than parched corn.  In a pinch I will use polenta grind corn meal or liberally rub my peel w/ flour (try not to rest the dough too long on flour)

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Corn flour like rice flour lacks gluten and it's the gluten that will try and bond with a dough. I use a mixture of rice flour and AP flour for dusting bannetons and cloths. AP flour when used by itself will tend to stick. I know bakers who use corn flour for dusting their cloths and transfer boards as it is cheaper.

Cheers,
Phil 

 

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Thanks all.

The semolina "ball bearing" explanation seems to make sense as does the non-gluten composition reasoning. Thanks!! :)

kmrice's picture
kmrice

Generally, I use 50/50 rice flour and AP flour; pizza and bread slide off the peel very well. Pure rice flour would probably be even better, but it's much more expensive than AP, and a mix works very well. I find that corn meal does not work quite as well, and has its own flavor.

Phil's explanation is very helpful; I've never really understood why rice flour worked so well, since, to the extent it provided "ball bearings," they would be the same size, or smaller, than those provided by AP and much smaller than those provided by cornmeal. But gluten is certainly sticky, so I'm sure he's right.

Karl