The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sliding pizza ONTO the peel....

sadexpunk's picture

sliding pizza ONTO the peel....

just started making my own pizzas with my sourdough starter.  recipes fine and im happy enough with the dough.  shaping its a little dodgy but ill get better with practice, my only BIG problem is getting the uncooked pizza onto the peel.  i try to slide it under really fast but it just crumples the pizza and the toppings fly off everywhere!!

i know i could possibly put the dough onto the peel to start with, and then top it, shaking it every now and then, but i want to prepare myself for family barbecues, parties etc where everyone may want to make one and so there could be 5 or 6 pizzas all being made up at the same time, waiting to be transferred to the oven.

so far ive heavily floured the worktop and the peel, lifted the edge and tried a quick slide under.  the frustrating thing is that my friends did theirs ok (same dough), yet mine crumpled again even tho we seemed to use the same method

ive googled the problem but nearly all the posts seem to be showing how to transfer from peel to stone, which i dont think would be a problem for me if i could just get it onto the peel in the first place :D

btw, it was strong white bread flour we used, would i be right in thinking semolina or pollenta would help this?

thanks for any advice you can give me.....

tgrayson's picture

Shape the dough on parchment & slide the parchment onto the peal.

Matt1118's picture

use rice powder instead of flour, or use a 1/1 mix.


G. Marie's picture
G. Marie

Is really great for multiple pizzas since you can prep them ahead and also not have an oven full of burnt cornmeal/flour afterwords. 

People have run tests and it doesn't noticeably change the bake. 

Floydm's picture

Yeah I use parchment too. I'm sure if I made a hundred pies a day I'd get good enough at the slide and wrist snap to not need it, but since I just make enough for my family, even one getting stuck is enough to seriously make a mess of the meal. Not worth it.

bikeprof's picture

one strategy I like, avoiding parchment, if you don't have a number of peels for multiple pizzas, is to just use cutting boards/cookie sheets/back of sheet pans, to construct the pizza, then slide that onto the peel (or you can even use them to load into the oven).

enchant's picture

I use parchment and we occasionally DO make 100 pizzas in a day.  For the most part, we'll make them on the peel, but if I want to get ahead of the game, I have a system.  I built a set of 10 pizza shelves, - 16" wide, 1" apart from each other.  I have a box of 16" cardboard pizza rounds and I'll stretch the dough onto parchment paper, which is on a cardboard round.  Once ready, I can slide it onto one of the shelves.  When my pizza dressing guy is ready for a new dough, he just pulls one off a shelf and slides the dough/parchment off the cardboard round and onto a wooden peel.

bikeprof's picture

I actually do something similar, with folding baking rack (and a few extra peels I made from plywood):



Jaybird's picture

Ahhhhh the transfer!  Well I will tell you I am very new to making home made pizza.  I built a KILLER pizza oven out of an old keg.  Calling it a KIZZA oven..LOL  I'll move on.  I JUST did my last pizza party and did 30 pizzas in a matter of about 3 hours or so and not a single transfer failure.  Honestly the process happened on its own because of the scale I was cooking for.

We start on a plastic cutting board for the shape and roll.  We used just enough flower to keep the pizza skin moving around. 

Then once ready transfer to a corn meal covered stone. But ONLY when you are ready to add sauce and toppings. I am using a 24 x 24" travertine stone you can get 1 from Lowes.  But really you can use anything that is REALLY HARD!  Stay away from wood at this stage.

Make your pizza quickly!  You don't want the dough to start to get the corn meal wet or you will be in the same boat.  Make sure to keep the sauce OFF this tile!  Shake the tile slightly before you use the peel.  Just to ensure it moves.  

Then use the peel to quickly slide under the pie.  You have to be confident!  a thin peel is MUCH better here.  I made one out of stainless 18 gauge sheet.  Move with purpose and you will find that sweet spot!  I did rather quickly.  But let me tell you the first few rounds were a disaster!  LOL








sadexpunk's picture

just tried again using rice flour on the worktop and the peel, plus i topped the pizza as quick as i could with the ingredients all ready, and success!

i have a slight issue with the dough, but ill start another thread for that.

thanks a lot for your advice.

sadexpunk's picture

aaaaand only just got away with this last effort, it tried scrunching up and i thought it was going to be a disaster again, but like i say, juuuust got away with it.

id like to have success without parchment, if the pros can do it then its got to be possible :-)

can i just ask...... i try to do the toppings as fast as poss, but my dough is quite thin, would thicker dough mean a better chance of success?  also i tried rice flour, i also have semolina in the cupboard and can try and get some polenta.  looking at all three, the polenta seems to be more coarse.  so in theory, thicker dough and polenta on the work surface and peel should yield the best results yes?  do you think hydration of dough can play a part too?  is there a sweet spot?  i use an app on my phone for measures at the moment which is set at 60% hydration.  how does that compare to all yours? :-)


albacore's picture

I use Caputo Blue 00 pizza flour at 62.5% hydration and don't normally have sticking problems, so 60% should be OK; what flour are you using? And what is your ambient temperature? High temps will increase risk of sticking.

I made some square wooden boards 300mm square out of 4mm birch ply and make the bases on these. Wood is best here. We use 220g balls and dunk fully into a bowl of flour before stretching on the board.

The metal loading peel is then dusted with rice flour before scooping the pizza off the board and sliding into the oven.

We try not to have any pizzas hanging about waiting on the boards, as they will tend to stick.

Lastly, how old is your dough when you make up the pizzas? Just wondering if you are getting any dough degradation if you are using a long-time sourdough formulation, which may lead to sticking. You could do a trial with a yeasted formulation.


JoshuaLoafer's picture

For picking up and transferring into the oven you can 

1) use a metal peel.  I used to do that. you can see examples on youtube wood fired neapolitan joints. but I found metal peels were too slipperyslidey for my taste.  had a few pies sail off on the way to the oven when i'm in a hurry. and, ripped more than a few when a spot of dough sticks to the table while I'm sliding the peel under.

2) place the peel at or just below table height and slide the pie onto the peel.  again you can see example of this on youtube neapolitan pizza makers

3) my preferred method - using a wooden peel - helpful to have multiple peels handy. 

* open 5-6 dough balls. 

* fully shape one or two and then transfer to floured wooden peel. 

* sauce and top while on the wooden peel already, and then transfer to oven. 

* whilst those are cooking, repeat with remaining dough.   

sadexpunk's picture

thanks for the reply, in answer to some of your questions.........

im in the uk and using allinsons strong bread flour, and a sourdough starter, ambient temperature is coolish, 16 degrees maybe at a guess?

roughly 200g balls and theyre well floured by the time ive stretched them, i flip them so both sides rest in flour, then when its the right size i sprinkle the worktop with rice flour. (ill try semolina and polenta too, see if they make a difference)

the dough is a few hours old, i use a phone app that dictates measurements for the length of proving.  from memory i think my measurements were 380g flour, 180g water, 230g starter, 7g olive oil and 2g salt.  thats for a 5 hour prove.  what i did was knead as per bread making, leave in a covered bowl for 3 hours or so, split the dough into 4 sections, freeze 2 balls for another day and cover the other two balls and put in fridge for 2 hrs until time to cook.

i use a metal peel, and dont have any wooden ones, or multiple peels.  i suppose its viable to top the pizza on the 'polenta'd' peel, i tried not doing this so i could get used to sliding the peel under if we have multiple pizzas to make.  i may have to reconsider that :-)  i dont think i could 'slide' the topped pizza onto a peel, i think it would just bunch up too easily, i cant see any other way than sliding the peel under quickly.  or topping the pizza on the peel so its ready to slide straight onto the stone.

thanks for your help, i WILL get there :D

albacore's picture

Well I'm sure you will - just keep working at it! A few comments:

  • that's a lot of starter!
  • not much salt for pizza dough - 3% (based on flour) is traditional for Napolitana, I go for 2.7%
  • nothing is better than rice flour for the loading peel - trust me. It has a spherical shape, so the pizza base "rolls on the balls". But in the UK you do tend to get fine rice flour (Chinese style) and coarser (Indian style). Go for the coarser if you have the option. Incidentally I use 50/50 rice flour/bread flour for bannetons.
  • why do you put your balled up dough in the fridge for 2 hours? It should be kept warm.
  • I suggest you  read the Verace Pizza Napoletana pdf on making and manipulating pizza dough. It really relates to wood fired ovens, which I have, but suspect you don't, but nevertheless it is relevant.
  • I started with yeasted pizza dough, went to sourdough and have now gone back to yeasted. Making pizza dough properly is complex enough (believe it or not) without the added variable of sourdough.


Redjacketswamp's picture


It sounds like you actually have an issue with your dough.  A good pizza dough should be elastic (soft, subtle yet strong)  to both be stretched but also pulled on to the peel.  

To me your loading issue is a telltale sign there is something amiss. with your low salt and  high starter % a good place to start.  I suspect either your low salt, method  and/or kneading may be inhibiting correct gluten development.

It doesn't sound like the dough has been over proofed. But I have found with sourdough this too can give issues with loading.