Author Topic: pizza screen vs peel?  (Read 10054 times)

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Offline Squirrelman

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pizza screen vs peel?
« on: April 19, 2010, 03:06:51 PM »
 Since buying terra cotta tiles I now have enough space to make pizza up to ~ 18 inches, as well as bread and such. Problem is I don't have a peel or anything to get the pizza in the oven yet, so far I've just been using parchment paper and just putting it in the oven by hand since they were small enough. so now I'm trying to decide what to get so that I can get pizza's and breads and such into the oven.

 at first I thought a metal peel would work well because they are thinner than wooden ones, but then I read that they need much more flour than wooden peels. wooden ones were the second choice but they sound like they need a decent amount of care and I've never been to good with stuff that requires seasoning and such. then I saw a post about pizza screens which i read tiny bits about a long time ago but never really thought about. do pizza screens work well? are there any disadvantages of a screen vs a peel?

I am kind of worried that if I buy a screen rather than a peel that it will have much more limited use. and are you able to slide pizza off of a screen or does it have to stay on it? using my new tiles the bottom of my pizza cooked so much faster last time that the bottom was black before the top edge of the crust even started browning so having the screen might be better anyway, although I think I'd like the option of keeping it under or not so maybe I should just buy/make a peel if that's the case. No matter what I decide to use though its going to have to be large enough to put 18in pizza in the oven though.

side note, I'm also pretty much broke so can't afford anything too expensive, even considered seeing if my father could make a wooden peel since I'm clueless as far as carpentry. thanks in advance.

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 03:29:19 PM »
I make NY style pizza on a screen, put the screen on a stone, bake for a few minutes, remove the stone, and continue baking until done. Results are great and 100% reliable. No flour or semolina mess.

I found using a screen alone to be tricky because the results varied.

I should add that I use an aluminum peel to lift the pizza while removing the screen, and to remove the pie from the oven.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 03:33:51 PM by Puzzolento »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 04:08:39 PM »

If the type of pizza benefits from being baked directly on a preheated pizza stone, I would go with a peel rather than a pizza screen. If the pizza is going to be large, I would use a wooden peel. A metal peel might be OK for a small pizza with few things on it, like a Neapolitan style pizza, but it is not a good choice in my opinion for a large pizza. I do as most pizza operators do. I have a wooden peel to load pizzas in the oven and a metal one to move pizzas around in the oven and to remove pizzas from the oven. If I could not afford a wooden peel, I think I would fashion a cheap "peel" out of stiff cardboard, make sure the pizza will slide on that "peel", which means using a proper release agent (like semolina flour), and cross my fingers that the pizza makes it safely into the oven. Some people use the back of a dusted sheet pan or cookie pan but it will have to be large enough to accommodate the size pizza you want to make. My view is that I would rather buy an inexpensive wooden peel (it requires minimal maintenance) rather than risk losing what I spent on pizzas because they ended up on the floor or weren't squarely planted on the tiles.

I am not a big fan of putting a pizza screen directly on a pizza stone, even if the screen is removed shortly thereafter (once the pizza sets up). In my oven, the oven spring is reduced when I use that method. I would rather start with the screen at an upper oven rack position and move it to a preheated stone at the lowest oven rack position once the top crust starts to turn a light brown and the cheeses start to bubble.

For some background reading on peels, stones, pizza screens, parchment paper and a few other related matters, I suggest that you read the following:

Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5326.msg45110/topicseen.html#msg45110 ;

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6708.msg57549.html#msg57549 ;

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5169.msg43914.html#msg43914 ; and

Reply 44 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20965.html#msg20965 .

If there are any remaining questions after reading these materials, feel free to come back to the forum with them.


Offline carbon

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 04:55:38 PM »
Try both methods......specially the screens, as they are very cheap.

Offline Crider

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 04:07:49 PM »
I love my wooden pizza peel. It's made by American Metalcraft and is made from alder wood. Cost me about $15 last year. It's very light and it doesn't need any maintenance except brushing off the excess flour/semolina after I've finished using it. I'm of the school that one shouldn't oil one's wooden board -- just makes food stick.


Offline Squirrelman

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 10:51:58 PM »
To prepare for my next pizza this weekend I went and bought a pizza peel finally, haven't really needed one until now, but trying to get an 18 inch pizza on a hot stone was near impossible and screwed it up a little so I wanted to be prepared, measured my oven to ~21 inches wide so bought a 20x22 pizza peel (just barely fits in my oven, isn't going to be used for turning so its ok) with a 12 inch handle which actually is just about the length I was hoping for, not too long or too short. Not sure on the quality of it, it didn't have any brand name that I noticed but looked decent, found it at a local restaurant supply store for ~20$. thanks again for the advice.

Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 12:07:54 PM »
A screen??? Why not just use corn meal and a peel...more traditional and the burnt cornmeal adds to the taste of a real homemade pizza! Just a thought...it is interesting all the different philosophies in pizza making, and knowing that the pizza you think is the best, is the best pizza in the world...A never ending discussion....RJ
"Pizza Evolves...Our Best Pizza Ever is Not Today." It is 'what' is right, not 'who' is right that matters.

Offline Sonofthepizza

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 12:41:21 PM »
I worked in dad's restaurant for many years. We had to experiment with this also at one point. We used a screen with parchment paper to place the pizza in the oven. Slide the pizza and paper directly on the stone. When the pizza is 5 min or so from being done, use a metal peel to lift the pizza and remove the paper. You should cook the pizza directly on the stone until finished. A metal peel works well with pizza sizes up to 16'. You can use it for an 18' but it is cumbersome. Amazon sells the metal screens for prices anywhere from $1.99 to $20.00. They are very affordable also goos prices on peels.

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 06:43:32 PM »
Why not just use corn meal and a peel...more traditional and the burnt cornmeal adds to the taste of a real homemade pizza!

A good question.

1. Mess on peel and work surfaces and floor.

2. Burned meal all over your oven.

3. Smoke from burned meal.

4. Pizzas may fold while being slid off peel.

The screen and stone give you a perfectly circular pizza every time, and it never folds up, and there is no mess. The biggest problem is pressing too hard when applying toppings, causing the pizza to unite with the screen.

Offline Jack

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2010, 11:03:00 AM »
I take a new wooden peel and sand it smooth, along the grain, with fine sandpaper.  I then add a bunch of flour and press it into the peel with a sliding motion, also along the grain.  All it takes now is a tiny bit of flour rubbed into the peel and my pies don't stick.  No corn meal, etc., changing the taste of the crust.

Just like a deep dish pan, a peel needs to be seasoned and it'll perform.  With a peel, however, it's a dry seasoning that (My conjecture) fills in the pores of the wood and makes it nice and slick over time. 



Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 11:23:00 PM »
I have a video on my website showing 3 or 4 different peels including the perforated peel as used by Tony Gemignani ... you can view it here if you wish http://www.fredsmusicandbbq.com/category_s/668.htm
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 10:56:18 PM »
I use screens a lot, because i like to make 18" pies and my stone is only 16" so I  start it on a screen until the crust sets a bit, then slide it off onto the stone. I have found that aluminum peels are tough to shake a freshly made pie off of, they are much better as a tool for removing cooked pies from oven.
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Offline tdub154420

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 07:43:53 PM »
Pizza I just made the crust browned quite fast (probably due to the high sugar content of my dough recipe) and the bottom was at a good char before the cheese was completely melted. 

I think I may try putting the pizza on the screen then transferring to the stone to give the cheese more time.  Pete I noticed you said it may take some oven spring out of the dough but my dough has been getting so puffy and bubbly, I could use a little less spring. 
- Trevor

Offline Tannerwooden

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Re: pizza screen vs peel?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 12:28:41 AM »
I use a wooden peel to drop the pies and a metal peel to remove them.  All I ever do to the wooden peel is brush off excess flour and toppings.

I like the metal peel because the front edge makes a great scraper for the stone if I burn anything.