The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help in getting pizza from wooden peel to pizza stone!!!!

wvdthree's picture

Help in getting pizza from wooden peel to pizza stone!!!!

Hi all,

         I am having real trouble getting a dough (once dressed) off of a wooden peel and onto the baking stone in the oven. I am using Ken Forkish's overnight pizza dough recipe. For one 12" crust I used 250 grams "OO" flour, 185 grams water and 1/8 tsp instant yeast and 1 tsp salt. 74% hydration. Did some stretch and folds and let it sit overnight at room temp. In the AM the next day put in frig all day until I took it out 2 hours prior to shaping/baking. We are looking for a thin...ish, Neopolitan style pizza to the extent that can be achieved in a normal oven (500 degrees) on a pizza stone.

     We've only made this 4-5 times and at one point just shaped/dressed the dough on parchment but I didn't feel like the dough got the effect of sitting directly on the pizza stone as far as crispness/crust development.  So, we've moved from dressing on a metal peel to dressing on a wooden peel and "really" struggle with it sticking to the peel. The dough seemed a bit wet/sticky and sloppy. We floured the peel heavily but after we shaped the dough and dressed it on the peel by shaking the peel it was clear is was stuck in various spots.

     I have been baking SD artisan loaves for a year and a half and now have a real feel for that dough but am lost for a benchmark of how pizza dough should feel as far as hydration and extensibility. This dough is extensible, just wet.  Is 74% hydration just too wet? Can someone suggest a solid dough recipe? Super frustrating to have to trash a pizza as it won't come off the peel. We're ordering tonight from our favorite pizza take out after tonights fail ;<)   Help!!!!





rgreenberg2000's picture

WVD3, I've had sticking issues in the past, too, and my most consistent cure is two things: (1) liberally dust the peel with semolina (I find that using regular flour doesn't do much, but semolina makes the pizza seem like it's on ball bearings), and (2) shake the peel occasionally as you are dressing the pie to be sure it's still moving well on the peel.

#3 would be, dress fast!; #4 would be, go ahead and use parchment if you want.......just slide it out from under the pie after it sets a bit (2-3 minutes?)

Also, you might have some issue getting decent browning of your dough with 100% 00 flour at those temps.  Typical Neapolitan temps are MUCH higher.  I tend to cook at 600-650'ish, and I use the 50/50 AP/00 dough below:

One dough ball @ 280g (good for about a 12" pie is:

171g Flour (50/50 All Purpose/Caputo 00)
104g Water
4.8g Salt
3g Olive Oil
.25g ADY

I mix this by hand, let proof at room temp for a couple hours, ball into individual balls, then into the fridge until 2-3 hours before I want to cook.  The dough is super soft and extensible, and I have no issues with sticking to the peel if I liberally dust with semolina.

Hope that helps some!


wvdthree's picture


        Thanks for your thorough reply. I do know that normal Neapolitan temperatures are about 900 degrees however, sadly most of us mortals have a standard oven which only goes to 500-550. What kind of oven do you have that allows you to go to 650? And does it have the capability of going to 900?


A couple questions about rise times. How long do you do the initial mix/kneading for? I'm assuming you are using traditional/aggressive kneading techniques? When you do the initial bulk fermentation for "a couple hours" do you want/expect it to double or triple before you put it in the frig? Once you take it out of the frig, how long do you wait before you start to stretch and dress the pizza?


You recipe is 60% hydration and my recipe is 74% so that's a huge jump in hydration and would account for the stickiness factor. Thanks for the suggestions and I'll try your ideas next time around.




rgreenberg2000's picture

These days, I use a Kettle Pizza attachment with my Weber kettle to cook pizza, so I can get it pretty hot....750F or so.  It won't get up to true Neopolitan temps, but that's fine, 600-650F works for me.  My oven in the house is a DCS, and maxes out at 550F.  If I'm going to cook pizza in the oven (a rarity), I'll drop the AP/00 ratio to 75/25%.

Dave pointed out above that there could be a whole lengthy discussion here about 00 flours, but to be brief, I'll just say that the 00 flour I use is Caputo "red bag".... :)

I mix just until everything comes together and is moistened.  Then I let it rest about 20 minutes, then knead by hand until the dough is smooth (~5 minutes.)  I don't have a mixer, so I don't use one.....and my short kneading followed by at least a day in the fridge seems to build enough gluten for me.  I wouldn't expect double or triple rise in two hours with the small amount of yeast used in this recipe, so I just look for the dough to be a bit's going to continue to do its thing in the fridge anyway, so I don't really sweat it much (I know, I'm the antithesis of a scientific baker!) :)  

I take the dough balls out of the fridge 2-3 hours before I plan to stretch, dress and bake them.  Like I said, this dough is really easy to handle, soft, and extensible.  I think that lower hydration and some semolina on your peel will solve your sticking problem.

Good luck!


wvdthree's picture


  Thanks again for more background!! One last question. My digital scale only does grams down to 1 gram increments. For your recipe are you calling for around 1/4 tsp ADY?? Thanks!



rgreenberg2000's picture

...but I think 1/4 tsp is more than I would put in for a single dough ball (having said that, I don't think I ever make less than three dough balls......)

1 package of ADY is 7g, and 2 1/4 tsp in volumetric measure.  So, if you do a little math, .25g (in my recipe) is 3.6% of 7g.  There are 9 total 1/4 tsp in a package, so 3.6% of 9 is .32..... So, effectively, we're talking about one third of one quarter of a teaspoon per dough ball.  Ouch, that made my head hurt.

If you're only making one dough ball, then you can probably eyeball one third of your 1/4 tsp measure.  If you make three dough balls at once, then it's just a 1/4 tsp.

I's a small amount.  I happen to have a scale that measures to .1g because I used to use it to measure out my hops for my homebrew! :)


wvdthree's picture

Thanks R!!!!!!

Miksnave's picture

Use parchment paper on your peel, you can even make your pizza on it, I did last night and it worked a breeze.

GlennM's picture

I use parchment all the time and pull it out from under the pie as soon as the crust has set a bit



idaveindy's picture

I don't know if this is applicable to your style/build, but I par-bake my pizza crusts.  As in partially baking,  1/2 to 3 minutes depending on thickness.

Pop it in the oven, right on the stone, or on a room-temp pizza pan, prior to dressing it.  Take it out before it's totally cooked, but the outer surface, top and bottom, cooks/sets enough that it won't stick on the peel after it's dressed.

You could also use parchment paper under the dough while stretching it out, and leave it in place during the pre-bake/par-bake, so there is no worry about sticking as you place it in the oven for the par-bake.   

Only par-bake enough so the dough/crust doesn't stick on the bottom surface.  Then you should be able to put it back in oven after dressing, and not need the parchment.

Any-hoo, that's my modus operandi.


side note to RG2:  Some 00 flour does come with malted barley flour or malted wheat flour in it.  Caputo's Pizza a Metro flour has a little malted wheat flour, and their Pizza Americana flour has a little more.


dbazuin's picture

I use also semolina flour on the peel and that works just fine. 

texas_loafer's picture

Cornmeal works pretty well too. Bonus is the extra crunch.

naturaleigh's picture

I agree with the other comments.  I always use some left-over durum flour (which I mill fresh for a portion of my pizza dough) and that seems to work well on the peel.  I also do a quick prep and try not to let the pizza sit on the peel too long.  Giving the pizza a quick shake on the peel, to make sure it is moving, right before placing it on the baking stone makes for (nearly) accident-free transfers.  I purchased an 'enameled' stone for the gas grill that also lets me get to some screaming hot temps, but 600-650 works best for us and my dough recipe, which results in a very soft but extensible dough, that shapes really well--I'm able to get a very thin dough without tearing, and it holds up nicely after baking so no floppy pizza!  I usually double this recipe (which is a much lower hydration level than you are using) and make pizza for that night, then calzones with the rest of the dough and toppings.  The calzones take longer to bake, but keep really well in the fridge for mid-week eating...just reheat in the oven.

Dough (make 24 hours before you want to use it):

500 g bread flour, 50 g durum or semolina (I've been using durum), 200 g of ripe starter, 1.5 tsp salt, 325 g water, 50 g olive oil, pinch of dry yeast--mix all together in a large bowl until smooth; let rise a few hours on the counter (in the same bowl, covered) until nice and bubbly; pop in the fridge for about 20 hours, dump out onto a floured surface, divide into 6 pieces (around 200 g each) and place on a floured tray; let proof 1-2 hours, then shape each piece on a floured surface, transfer to your peel that has been dusted with semolina/durum flour, add toppings, bake, enjoy!  

I adapted this recipe from:

Zzz's picture

Not sure if it will help but at home, my partner has to "make do" with our poor, weak residential equipment so we have found a few work arounds. Though alot of the tips here are amazing! So feel little out of depth already.

 Depending on what pizza (thin, thick, extreme cheesy Chicago stuffed crust!) We either use the cast iron frying pan to dress or as our very own pizza stone. 

For transfers, Tim (partner) lightly butters the bottom of the frying pan, (not to be used on stones, oil, stones- bad) then when we're finished, he moves it, because, wow cast iron is heavy! Anyway... the frying pan acts like a funnel, directing the pizza wherever he needs it to go, quickly, smoothly and without jostling. If wanting a thicker/higher rising crust pizza, definitely the way to go. Especially if you have been experiencing flatness in the dough during transfer.

And ofc fantastic for heating, in thin based, we just throw the cast iron straight into the oven. Holds heat really well, as good as a pizza stone imo

But preheating part, (due to the, I assume, extra sides of a frying pan,) does help with the "broken" oven (it's NOT broken, don't marry a chef!) 400F or 200° isn't really hot enough for pizza, (Australian ovens yay...) so helps in achieving those higher temperatures that Tim laments over when making pizza at home. 

Have heard the semolina one, know a few chefs that do that. Can also go chicago style and use parmesan cheese but once again can't really use that on stones. 

Hope that helps, even if only a little! Let us know how it goes. When my partner wakes up, I can actually harass him—I mean, adoringly ask him for anymore tips and hints. I know he has his recipes around somewhere. But 5am here so perhaps too early for him and recipe questions :)

Oh um one last thing, this is more of a bakers tip so not sure if it's transferable? Maybe someone else can recommend/help. When my dough becomes too hard to work with, I chuck it in the fridge for 5 minutes. Stops being sticky, (I have tempature regulating issues so hands are always warm). Not sure how that will work with pizza dough though on a peel. Maybe it's just that little bit extra that's needed to make a good slide. If the fridge doesn't alter the dough rise or effect it for the oven!