Author Topic: Home Made Pizza Peel  (Read 6063 times)

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Offline Meatballs

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Home Made Pizza Peel
« on: September 12, 2011, 08:15:23 PM »
I've attached a few photos of a pizza peel I made this week.  After learning to make good pizza around January of this year, I've become a little obsessed.  After learning what I wanted in a peel, I couldn't find one I felt incorporated all the features I wanted.  So...I took a little time off from my home renovation (my retired job) to make one that has all the features I wanted.  

1.  It can handle a 15 inch pizza if tasked.
2.  Handle catches under elbow so the wrist acts as a lever point and not the total support.
3.  The nose is flat on the bottom and curved on top to "peel" the pizza up off the oven floor/stone.
4.  Light weight pine construction, weighs only 2 pounds and 3 3/4 ounces.
5.  Constructed by an old Italian method so that it will never warp (trust me on this one, my Italian grandfather was a master finish carpenter)
6.  Straight Oil food-grade finish (walnut oil) to keep pizza from sticking and promote release.

On its first use tonight it was a wonder of engineering, if I may say so myself.  I was amazed at how well it released the pizza and picked it back up again after cooking.  the nose profile and the oil finish were perfect.  

My crust usually has more poof to it than in these pics below because I didn't want to wait another night to test it out.  Besides I came across fresh pineapple today and had to make a Hawaiian with the fresh ham and homemade Capacola I had in the fridge.

Ron
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 08:17:11 PM by Meatballs »


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 08:52:02 PM »
Beautiful work Meatballs!  Any chance you would be interested in making more for sale to forum members?  

Chau
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 09:28:35 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline norma427

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 08:57:41 PM »

Meatballs,

That is sure one nice looking pizza peel!  ;D  How long did it take you to make the pizza peel?

Norma

Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 09:38:30 AM »
Thanks for the nice comments, ya'll.

It took me an afternoon to prepare the wood stock, saw the pieces, and glue it up.  The next day, It took the morning to sand it, finalize the shape, and put the finish on.  I let it dry overnight and then it was pizza time.  Not sure if I would want to make these commercially, they are actually pretty simple to make, the real trick is in the design that doesn't warp.  I have a bread board I made in high school (1974) by the same technique that is still as flat as the day I made it.  My Mother has a bread board of the same design (that's what I copied) that is maybe 80 years old that is still flat today.  If anybody is interested in the construction detail I'll be glad to provide details.

Ron

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 08:59:46 PM »
Ron, nice work.  I see the tongue and groove on the breadboard edges at the back,  did you do the same at the front?  Also,  did you use 3/4 stock.  I have made almost a dozen,  I started making them very thin, but I have been increasing the thickness lately, the one this weekend was close to 1/2" thick, maybe a little less.

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 09:47:22 AM »

Barryvabeach wrote:

Quote
I see the tongue and groove on the breadboard edges at the back,  did you do the same at the front?  Also,  did you use 3/4 stock.

The tongue and groove is on both the front and the back.  The two finishing pieces on the back of the paddle are also pegged together through the handle.  These two things are the key to keeping the surface flat over time.  I used 3/4 inch stock that was planed down to 1/2 inch.  I would probably take off another 16th if I were to make another.

Barry, Do you put a finish on your peels and, if so, what do you use?  I haven't made a lot of food grade items in the past and my breadboard, made in the 70's, (a traditional gift from a groom to his betrothed) was left unfinished.  I used walnut oil on this peel and am very pleased at this point but don't know what the long term will be.

Ron

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 10:45:43 PM »
I use mineral oil - I don't think it will go rancid. While walnut oil lasts longer than some others, from what I have read it will eventually go rancid.  You didn't ask, but for dusting, I much prefer rice flour over corn meal, though the first time you switch to rice flour, be prepared - it is like the difference between shoes and inline skates-  I nearly launched the pie through the back of the oven. 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 10:53:02 PM »
Ron, if I want to make one with a 40" handle, is there anyway of keeping the long handle from warping?  Are there certain materials that would prevent warping more so than others, like a hardwood?

Thanks,
Chau

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 07:21:15 AM »
Jackie, I am not Ron, but I do a fair amount of woodworking, the handles normally don't warp.  The reason the peel portion warps is because wood tends to expand and contract a great amount across its width depending on moisture.  If the top gets exposed to moisture, it will try to become wider, the bottom will act as a restraint ( assuming its moisture content is less ) and you will get warping.  Wood does not swell or contract much along its length, so as long as the handle is about 3 inches or less in width, warping won't be an issue.    Hardwoods are best for a variety of reasons.  Maple is often used because it is very strong and has a natural anti bacterial function.  You would want to stay away from open pored woods like mahogany, otherwise you might have food debris stuck in the pores.   All of this assumes the handle is the same species as the peel, which isn't required, but is typical.  I have made a number out of poplar,  which is no where near as strong as maple, but is much lighter and works pretty well.  Pine is a soft wood as well compared to maple, but again much lighter than maple.  If you go with maple, the thickness of the peel will be an issue -  go pick up a maple chopping board that is 3/4 inch thick and you will see how heavy it gets.  At the end of a 40 inch lever, it may be tough to handle together with the weight of a pizza.   If you go with maple for the peel, I would shoot for pretty thin - maybe 3/16 at max.     I would make one for you, but the shipping would be outrageous.  
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 07:23:49 AM by barryvabeach »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 09:24:54 AM »
Ron;
Forget the pizza! Don't get me wrong, it looks great, but the peel is even better!
Go into the peel making business!!
I bet there are a lot of readers here that would "belly up to the bar" to buy one.
Great work.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Offline Tman1

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 11:29:19 AM »
It is nice to make your own... I really like this one due to its heft. I used a leftover piece of ironwood (Ipe) from a deck job. I've since cut it off about 10" from the handle... a little too long.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 11:31:34 AM »
Thank you guys! With this info, I should be able to find a local woodworker who can make me one to desired specs.

Chau

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 02:14:17 PM »
As per Barry,

Quote
the handles normally don't warp.

I agree completely, and with everything else he wrote too.  As for pine, its a suitable wood, cheap, available, easily worked and light.  It is also, however, porous, soft and prone to warpage.  That's why I suggest it be finished with an oil, to reduce the porosity and if that oil will also polymerize after application it will harden the surfacetoo.  With non food-grade items, I like Danish Oil. For food grade, I have always used Walnut oil but as to how much it will harden the surface has not been demonstrated to me yet.  Pine will naturally darken to a red or dark gold patina over time (10 years or so) that will add character to any product made with it that I really like.

To avoid warping, the cross grain technique illustrated in the Peel above works for centuries.

Thank you, Tom.

Quote
Ron;
Forget the pizza! Don't get me wrong, it looks great, but the peel is even better!
Go into the peel making business!!

I hold your opinion in the highest regard.  Please let me take this opportunity to thank you for your work in the field of Pizza research.  Until I found your dough recipe and detailed instructions/videos I was lost in a wilderness of bad pizza and dough.   I am here on this board, building a personalized peel and making good pizza because of your recipes for both dough and sauce.

Ron

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 10:02:06 PM »
Ron, glad you and I agree.   Jackie, if you go to a woodworker, do me a favor and give him the specs - it is much easier for him, or her, to make a paddle 14 inches wide by 16 inches long than   "well,  I am not sure of the dimensions, what do you think"   In terms of sizing,  I usually make mine 3 or 4 inches wider than the stone -  that gives me 1 1/2" to 2" leeway on either side when making a pie. I usually go with length a little greater than width - to account for the ramp at the front.  You might want to make up some cardboard templates of exactly what size and shape for the paddle , it will make the ww job much simpler.  Also let him know whether you want tapers to the sides, or only have a ramp at the front.  I usually taper the sides at the front, so you can approach a pie from the side, but that wouldn't be necessary depending on the width of the oven.  As to thickness, it would be great if you could see a few and measure to see what you like.  The thinner ones are much lighter and easier to move around, thicker ones - say 1/2" or more give you a more solid feel.  Here is a link to a prior post about wood choices, and it has some photos of a few peels I made.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12502.msg123587.html#msg123587

Offline DexAZ

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 11:35:08 PM »
Check "WOOD" magazine Sept. 2003, volume #150, page 86 for complete plans and instructions on how to make a real nice pizza peel. :chef:

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2011, 12:04:11 AM »
Thanks for the help all.  I would like a 16x16 peel with a 40" handle for the wood fire oven.  Instead of lightweight, I want it heavy.  Heavy enough that I can lay it on the counter and it will support the weight of the handle hanging off the counter.  Do I need to worry about warping, if it's to be made with hardwood or something heavy and dense?  The will be use for loading pies only.

Thanks,
Chau

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2011, 12:16:56 AM »
That home made peel is fantastic!

I wanted to ask some of you wood guys,what about making Peels out of Teak Wood? They use those on boats decks,counter tops,cutting boards,etc.I would Imagine that type of wood may be expensive to use,but from what I recall from shop class in High school years ago,it was one sturdy type of wood that was resistance to what seemed like everything.
 :)






-Bill

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2011, 05:11:40 PM »
I have no experience with teak but I understand that it can ruin tools because it contains silicates within its structure.  I stick mostly to pine, oak and cherry with some use of birch and poplar.

Ron

Offline JJP

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2011, 07:16:43 PM »
Nice Job people! Ima woodworker before a pizza maker so I understand better the efforts of making wood work! Good job!

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Home Made Pizza Peel
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2011, 08:38:45 PM »
Jackie   Chau,  I have made a few as big as 16 by 16,  and while it may warp a little, it isn't a problem, especially when loading,  since the pie doesn't need to sit exactly flat.  I would guess the warp is on the order of 1/4 inch.    You can use hardwoods , though it isn't required.   Teak has some real advantages in terms of water resistance, but there isn't much water around a pizza peel, so I don't see that as a real advantage for a peel. If you wanted to go exotic, and expensive, rosewood or lignum vitae would be some interesting choices since they are oily and thus the pie may be less likely to stick to them, though they are very heavy, and you may have some people that get a reaction to the chemicals in the wood.  Maple has a long history in kitchen, and is probably the best choice,  though I agree with Ron's suggestions as birch and cherry as some good alternatives.  Poplar and Pine both are very light, which can be a real advantage, especially in the bigger sizes.