The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Transfer Peels

proth5's picture

Transfer Peels

I rarely ask questions on the forums, but I was reading some answers on another thread and just got to wondering...

A while back during a bread baking emergency, I was called upon to make some transfer peels for a class at a local culinary school.  I rose to the occaision and after the class donated all but one - which I kept for my personal use. (Lightweight plywood that I had in my garage - leftover from a packing crate from a larger project - even made hanging loops - worked like a champ.)

Now, I've used transfer peels elsewhere (and I've heard this many times) and, yes, they have always been covered with stocking like material to "prevent sticking."

But not mine.  Just the sanded wood (and I used to do finish sanding for my father's woodworking projects, so I can do some nice sanding...) No stickage.  Ever. (Nor in the class)

I wonder if its just me and my mighty dry climate or if there is any other reason for the covering.  I've never seen anyone flour a transfer peel (maybe I've just missed it) and I can't see how stocking material would inherently stop stickage.

There were some unrepeatable comments (this being a family website) on using stockings on transfer peels that I heard in that class - but they remain unhelpful.

Hmm.  Just wondering if the assembled wisdom on these pages had an answer.  Transfer peel coverings - tradition or requirement?

Happy Baking!

jaywillie's picture

The only peel I've ever seen with a fabric covering is sold as the Wonder Peel or something like that. The fabric -- thick, like canvas -- is supposed to roll as you unload the dough into the oven, supposedly mimicking the action of commercial loaders. Reviews on TFL that I have seen are not all that complimentary, as I recall. All other peels I've seen are just wood or metal. And usually you use flour or semolina or something to ensure that the dough releases off the peel without sticking. 

In bagel baking, some bakers use baking boards. Those are covered with fabric, usually burlap, I think. The baker soaks the fabric-covered board in water because it goes into the oven under the bagels. Then you use the board to flip the bagels after a short while so they bake very evenly, without a flat bottom.

proth5's picture

I was actually referring to what is also known as a "flipping board" - or the instrument used to transfer loaves from a couche to a peel.

But I am acquainted with the items you mentioned...

LindyD's picture

Has worked for me for the past four years.   I just used it last weekend to move two batards of Hamelman's pain au levain from the couche to my loading peel, but all I remember doing is pulling it out of the drawer and using it.  No flouring.  Here's a photo of my low-tech, but very efficient hunk of nylon-covered cardboard:

You can see that it had been floured - but I can't recall when I did that - probably when I cut it out of a cardboard box and used it for the first time.   Since then, it consistently helps transfer the bread off the couche with no sticking. 

Maybe the nylon has some nonstick properties.  I don't think uncovered cardboard would be quite as successful.

Am guessing that a higher quality transfer peel, such as the one you made, doesn't need any covering because it is so smooth.   Elegance always wins out!

proth5's picture

I've used cardboard in a pinch - but in the even drier than my own climate in ElPaso, TX.  No nylon and no sticking.  I'm thinking that in more humid climates the non-stick properties are more needed and appreciated.

dmsnyder's picture

I use a sanded slat knocked out of a wooden wine case (Cos d'Estournel, 1975, if it matters). I dust it very lightly with flour if transferring very sticky loaves only. Sprinkling some semolina on the bottoms of the loaves before transferring would probably work even better, now that I think on it.


proth5's picture

that it is the fact that I live in a "dewpoint challenged" climate - as my teacher puts it (I say "dewpoint perfect") where our emphasis is always on keeping the dough from drying out rather than worrying about stickage.

Even in moister climates (where I occaisionally bake) I have never seen anyone dust semolina on the bottom of the loaves prior to putting them on the peel - although you may be on to a good thing. 

I do think that the vintage of the crate slat may be a factor, though and I should be scouting about for the appropriate one should I ever be called upon to make transfer peels again,



davidg618's picture

I've only seen action around three commercial ovens, and all three used "flipping boards" to transfer loaves from proofing couche to the loading trundles (I'm not sure this is the correct name). All the flipping boards were covered with netting and floured, as well as the fabric on the trundles, but very lightly. At home I don't use flipping board, rather I proof very high hydration loaves on parchment paper that get loaded, paper included, with a bare peel, and flip couched loaves, proofed seam-side up, directly on to a floured peel. I use a sanded, narrow rectangle of plywood for a peel, most times with a sprinkling of brown rice flour or semolina. The course flour grains act more like roller bearings than providing a slippery surface. For pizza I use a wider aluminum peel, also sprinkled with semolina.

David G

proth5's picture

or stocking material does hold flour better (as evidenced by the old time stockinette that is used to cover rolling pins) so - I may just have missed the flouring action when I've seen these things in use.

I'm really thinking that I'm just used to baking in a very dry climate and this lets me get away with not worrying about sticking so much...



wally's picture


At King Arthur Flour all the flipper boards are covered in netting.  My homemade one uses nylon hosiery and I very lightly flour it sometimes, but for the most part I just use it to transfer baguettes or batards and I've never had a stickage problem. 

I think the flour dusted nylon acts much like the floured linen in a banneton to keep dough from sticking.

That said, if your shaped dough isn't sticking to your transfer peel why bother?


proth5's picture

but Vermont is a wet, wet place with no mountains of any size :>) 

I really think it is a climate thing - we were quite successful on the high, dry prarie not only with the un netted wooden flipper boards, but one that we improvised from (and this is really wild) a metal piece taken from the bottom of a commercial refrigerator (weighed a ton and was really hard to use - which is why I ended up making the boards).  This was on some really high hydration doughs, too.

Yeah, why bother - just pondering the whys and wherefores.



dabrownman's picture

proth5.  In AZ we hope the flipper boards don't turn to dust or spontaneously combust.  I put food grade mineral oil on mine to try to keep the wood from cracking due the dryness (and wooden cutting boards too).