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What is a Pizza Peel?

In case there was any confusion as to what a pizza peel is, we’re here to clear it up. No, it isn’t what is remaining after you unpeel a fresh, delicious pizza after picking it from a pizza tree. Unfortunately, that isn’t how life works.

A pizza peel is a vital tool for any pizzeria, restaurant or home cook looking to dabble in the art of pizza making. Constructed from wood, metal or compressed paper and resembling something like an oversized oar, pizza peels are your hands last line of defense against destroyed pizzas and oven burns.

Let’s take a look at the many forms of pizza peels and how they can benefit you in the kitchen.

Pizza Peel Purpose

The pizza peel is used to move a pizza accordingly around the kitchen. Think of it as a shovel of sorts, allowing you to transport your prepped pie to the pizza oven or pizza stone, to maneuver it while in the oven and, finally, to remove it from the oven.

Most peels come with tapered sides, allowing the user to get beneath the dough without mangling it. You can also forgo this step by crafting your pies directly on the paddle of the peel to avoid having to risk lifting it from a tabletop or countertop. The tapered sides also make working with the high heat of the oven tolerable and safe. You can rotate a cooking pizza in the oven and remove the finished product without getting too close to the oven’s hot interior.

Picking a Pizza Peel

Pizza peels are typically constructed from wood, metal or compressed paper. Each composition has their benefits and drawbacks:

Wooden Pizza Peel

Metal Pizza Peel

Compressed Paper Pizza Peel

PROS
  • Great for pizza shaping as flour sticks better to the grain of the wood

  • Has a rustic feel, especially in establishments utilizing wood-fired ovens

  • Absorbs flavors of multiple pizzas over time, enhancing the taste of each and every pizza
  • Dough slides on and off of surface much easier than on wooden pizza peels

  • Tapered ends are thinner, making picking pizza up smoother

  • More effective at rotating pizzas while in the oven
  • Softer edges minimize damage to pizza crust

  • Great for shallow ovens

  • Space-saver thanks to shorter handle
CONS
  • Can be awkward and rigid for some users to handle

  • Pizza can stick too much to surface of peel, causing unintended damage to and from the oven
  • Sharper metal edges can tear pizza crust

  • Metal can warp and handles can bend when exposed to heat for too long
  • Not as long-lasting as wooden or metal pizza peels

  • Shorter handles do not work for every establishment

One surefire way to ensure your pizza always turns out great is to invest in a combination of pizza peels. Start off with the wooden peel to prepare and deliver the pizza to the oven. Then, utilize a metal or compressed paper peel to reposition the pizza in the oven and out of the oven.

The Shape and the Form

As for the shape, square pizza peels and rectangular pizza peels offer more surface area from which to prepare your dough and transport your pizza. Round pizza peels make it easier to rotate pizza in the oven as there are no corners to catch the dough on. Oblong pizza peels offer the best of both worlds with greater surface area and softer edges.

Pizza peels also come in a variety of sizes, both in terms of handle length and paddle width. To determine the proper peel size, just use common sense: for larger ovens opt for larger handles or for smaller pizzas, go for smaller peels.

Crafting the perfect pizza takes preparation, practice and patience. For more pizza products and articles, visit our pizza specialty store.