Author Topic: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?  (Read 4553 times)

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Offline allenstu

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getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« on: July 02, 2007, 01:55:55 PM »
I have been using cornmeal which seems to work well but i decided to try using flour like Chris Bianco does at his place. When i tried the pizza had a hard time coming off. The second time i used a bunch and it still didn't slide well. Should i just keep using the cornmeal then?


Offline Art

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 02:08:08 PM »
No more corn meal or flour mess and never again have a "hang-up" on your peel. And, once again, I swear I'm nothing but a very satisfied customer. :angel: ;D Art
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 02:29:46 PM »
allenstu,

If you are having problems with the dough sticking to the peel even when you have used a lot of flour, or even cornmeal, that suggests that you may be doing something wrong, or else your dough is too wet to begin with and is contributing to the problem. I recently described the method I use to prepare a pizza to be loaded into the oven at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5134.msg43610/topicseen.html#msg43610 (Reply 3).  Maybe you will find a solution in that post.

I might add that there are many other dusting agents that can be used in addition to flour and cornmeal, as discussed here:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20656/topicseen.html#msg20656 (Reply 43). Among professionals, the dusting agent that is most preferred seems to be semolina flour. Also, rice flour is becoming increasingly popular among professionals as a dusting agent.

If you do a forum search, you will also find reference to a technique that involves lifting the dough and blowing under it to help lift the dough so that it loads more easily into the oven. I don't personally use this approach but several member have used this approach.

A search will also produce posts in which the use of parchment paper has been described as a solution to your particular problem, a typical such post being the following: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,515.msg4509/topicseen.html#msg4509 (Reply 7).

Peter


« Last Edit: July 02, 2007, 02:37:42 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 02:32:35 PM »
Some doughs are stickier than others. Of course it has something to do with the amount of water in the dough, but just as importantly, it has to do with how the dough is mixed and handled so that water is properly absorbed by the flour. I used to struggle with unloading the pie from the peel. I use an extremely hot oven so corn meal would burn resulting in an acrid flavor. If I used too much bench flour, it would cake on the bottom of the crust. And the cloth conveyor belt of the SuperPeel ignited when exposed to the high-heat of my oven  >:(. (The SuperPeel is great for all kinds of baking, but not for use in a 1000F oven!).

What I am trying to say here is that the solution (for me) was not what I put on the peel to prevent it from sticking, but rather finding the right combination of ingredients and methods so that you end up with a dough that is easy to handle. Actually, the path to a crust with the taste and texture I wanted coincided with the path to dough that is easy to handle.

If this makes sense to you, then you might want to list your recipe and mixing method. I can help if you're seeking a Neapolitan-style dough. Others may be willing to chime in with other types of dough.

Bill/SFNM

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 03:25:58 PM »
allenstu,

I don't care for the taste or grit of burned cornmeal on my pizza crust either, so I switched to rice flour and have been very happy with the results... my pizzas release from the peel easier and the rice flour seems to make the crust a little crisper without adding much, if any, flavor of its own.  I buy it fairly inexpensively from Bob's Red Mill (there's a little section of Bob's stuff in my grocery store... in the organic dept, I think).
Rice flour just seems to be "slicker" than wheat flour to begin with. 

Also, I don't weigh my pies down with a lot of heavy toppings and excessive cheese which can also add to the problem of getting the pie off the peel. 

I highly recommend that you pay close attention to what Pete-zza and Bill/SFNM have to say because they have a LOT more experience at this than I do, but I thought I'd let you know that there's a very happy rice flour user!

~sd
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Offline Jack

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 11:08:05 AM »
Also, have everything ready, so from the time you finish forming the skin to sliding it in the oven is as short as possible.  As you build the pie, occasionally shake the peel to keep the skin from sticking.

One last tip, lightly sand the peel surface with a fine sandpaper until it is very smooth, then aggressively rub flour into the grain of the wood, all with the grain of the wood. 

Jack

Offline sanchez

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2007, 06:51:07 AM »
Agreed.  I'm anti-cornmeal as far as pizza is concerned.  I've never been to a pizzaria that used cornmeal.  Seems like only those frozen pizzas use cornmeal.

Like others have stated, I've found that the key for me is to have everything lined up and ready and build fast.  Give the peel a quick shake after each step and there will be no problems.

Offline scottfsmith

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2007, 03:01:27 PM »
I am also a relative newbie who was having major problems with this until recently.   After several approaches I now flour the dough and the peel more than I was, and things are going a lot better.  I don't put masses of flour on at any point, but all through the formation process I am adding a tiny bit of flour by dipping my hands in flour.  I now have developed a sense of how sticky is too sticky, meaning keep adding that touch of flour, until it feels "right".  For the peel I do like Jack, I vigorously rub the flour in.  All the loose flour I rub off the sides, I only load enough that the wood grains will hold.  And of course shake the peel regularly.

Scott

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2007, 03:18:08 PM »
I forgot about shaking the peel until others have mentioned it... I shake it regularly as well... and, if I feel like it is starting to stick, I have a metal peel that I slide underneath to "unstick" it.  I think I'll try the trick of sanding the peel and rubbing the rice flour in... that sounds like a very good idea!  Thanks for the tip, Jack!

~sd
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Offline enchant

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2007, 08:59:35 PM »
I'm a big fan of the parchment paper method, but it is an additional step, and I'd rather do without.  Every once in a while, someone brings up this topic, and I hear so many success stories and tips, and every time I fall for it and try it again.  Tonight's pizza ended up looking like Spain.

Ok - I did a little, but I have SO much trouble getting it to keep its round shape.  When I prepare a pizza, it's like it's in a semi-liquid shape.  Shaking it around just makes it warp.
--pat--


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2007, 09:32:29 PM »
Pat,

Sometime you might want to try a lower hydration, for example, 58%. I think you will see an improvement in the handling of the dough and loading the pizza from the peel into the oven. What you want to avoid as much as possible is the formation of thin spots, especially near the center of the skin, through which the sauce might migrate and cause the skin to stick to the peel or even to the pizza stone itself if you manage to get the dressed pizza onto the stone. The worst combination I have experienced is a very thin high hydration dough (above 63%) that has been hand stretched. The larger the skin, the greater the likelihood of thin spots forming, no matter how careful you are, and especially in the hands of the average home pizza maker with limited dough shaping and stretching experience. I think you will find that most pizza operators don't use hydration levels as high as those used by many of our members. From the many commercial dough formulations I have studied, the hydration levels are usually lower than 60%. That alone will reduce the likelihood of the dough sticking to the peel.

Peter

Offline enchant

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2007, 03:28:25 PM »
Thanks, Peter.

Actually, my dough wasn't sticking to the peel much.  But when I'd give it a little shake, it would deform quite a bit.  I'll try reducing the hydration.
--pat--

Offline Garlic head

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2007, 06:00:23 PM »
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5134.msg43620.html#msg43620
I posted this in another thread. I no longer use corn meal though. I use Semolina now.
Kevin

Offline Natephish

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2007, 09:19:16 PM »
I use semolina and have had great results with it.  Whenever I get my dough onto my peel, I try to jiggle it around to see how well it'll slide.  If I feel that it's going to stick, I swipe a piece of unflavored dental floss under it a couple of times before I go into the oven.  The floss has saved me countless pizzas!  Hope this helps.

Offline allenstu

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2007, 02:23:24 AM »
Thank you all for chiming in on this!

Offline DWChun

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2007, 05:31:32 PM »
I can't find semolina in my local grocers. If I could, I'd definitely try it out. How does it compare to AP flour with respect to texture and taste?

I do just fine with normal AP flour when I prep my pies. My hydration is usually around 62% and what I've found to work best is to use a several step process. I first set up a large dish and a cutting board. I lightly dust these with AP flour with a fine sifter. I then dust, even lighter, my peel. Then I lightly dust the top of my dough ball with a bit of AP, take it out and put the other side onto the dusted dish. I then stretch the dough out into a disk. By the time the disk is formed, it has absorbed most of the light coating of flour and is somewhat tacky. I give the disk the final light coating by putting it onto the dusted cutting board. I shake off any excess flour and then place the disk on the peel, work quickly to put on the sauce and toppings, shake the peel after the sauce and then the toppings to check for sticking. Then it's transfer time.

This process works for me and I find that I don't over or under dust my dough like I used to and it ensures a smooth transition from peel to oven. Not a lot of flour is used at all despite dusting a few different surfaces due to the fine sifter I use. With this multi step flour application process, I find that I avoid sticking to the transfer surface with no problems.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2007, 06:50:31 PM »
DWChun,

Where you are in the maritimes I suspect you have problems finding many of the ingredients we use in pizza making. One popular source of semolina flour in the U.S is Bob's Red Mill. It is commonly found in the flour sections of supermarkets, especially the high-end markets. Semolina flour can also be found in some health food stores and bulk food stores. Indian grocers also carry semolina flour, often in different grades.

If you can't find semolina flour, I wouldn't worry about it. I have been experimenting with it lately and don't see much of a difference from white flour. It is a bit grittier than flour and adds a mild flavor to the finished crust. To me it is similar to cornmeal, probably because it is also light yellow in color. I was using it because I was trying to reproduce someone else's crust that was based on using semolina flour on the peel. If you are having good results with the white flour, I don't see a reason to change.

Peter

Offline DWChun

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2007, 07:12:26 PM »
Peter,

I'm currently residing in Prince Edward Island. I never thought about checking health and bulk food stores. That's a great idea! I'm going to give that a try.


DW

Offline pizza concerto

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2007, 10:56:53 PM »
Alienstu,

I find that if you build your pie, with just a bit of the crust (1/2") hanging off the edge of the peel, it will catch on the hot cooking surface, and slide easier off the peel.  Also, I use 2 peels, build the pie on the wood peel, and use a thin metal peel to help "get under" the pie, making the transition to the oven floor or stone easier.

Dan
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Offline Pizza Meister

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Re: getting pizza to slide of peel into oven?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2007, 10:44:44 AM »
Bill/SFNM,

I have not been around here for a while.  I appologize for your experience with the cloth igniting on your Super Peel.  I will gladly send you a replacement if you can promise to keep your cool ;)

The Super Peel was not ever intended to stick into an oven at 1000 F  >:D unless to further fuel the fire.  From users I can say that the cloth does hold up well for "open" BBQs even relatively high temp. Primo and Egg Cookers.

Hopefully someday we can satisfy the demand for a long handled model, however your experience tells me that we should look at Nomex or similar fabric for such use.
Your information is very useful to me!

Note to Forum Members/Visitors:  Order a Super Peel by August 31 and send me a comment from our website or an email mentioning that you heard about it here at pizzamaking.com, and I will toss in a free extra belt!  Good to have one for the oven and one for the grill! BBQ :pizza:

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