Before embarking upon your brave quest to make the best homemade pizza in all the land, you need to make sure that you have the right pizza peel. Otherwise, the fire-breathing pizza oven might reduce your grandma’s prized pizza recipe to a charred heap of cheesy ash. In order to defend Grandma’s honour, you need to decide which weapon is best — a metal or wooden pizza peel. Which peel should you arm yourself with before rushing into the fray? Fear not, brave pizza-lover. We're here to guide you.
Why Use a Pizza Peel?
Trying to make a pizza without a pizza peel is like trying to win a jousting match without a lance, or trying to make a bench without a drill — it’s possible, but exceptionally difficult.
Using a pizza peel is the easiest and most reliable way to get your pizza into the oven AND get around Murphy’s law. I’ve found that a pizza peel is the safest way to transport your pizza into the oven and back to your plate without burning your hands (or the pizza).
Why Buy a Wooden Pizza Peel?
Wooden pizza peels have been used by pizzaiolos and pizzaiolis for centuries, and we still use them every day.
There’s nothing worse than having your toppings go into the oven while your pizza stays on the peel. This is where wooden pizza peels come in — raw pizza dough doesn’t stick to wooden pizza peels as much as it does to metal pizza peels. The natural grain of the wood helps to reduce friction by whisking moisture away from the dough, allowing the pizza to slide freely into the oven.
Besides its natural non-stick benefits, natural wood also looks great. This means that when you aren’t using it to cook, your wooden pizza peel can double as a simple and charmingly rustic decoration.
On the practical side, wooden peels are thicker than their metal counterparts, so it’s more difficult to get a cooked pizza back onto the wooden peel. If you have heat-resistant hands or a good pair of tongs, you could get away with it, but you might end up with only a handful of pizza, or even worse, burnt hands.
While untreated wood may be prone to burns or stains, it’ll never rust. With the right care, cleaning and storage, your wooden pizza peel can stay hygienic, beautiful, and burn-free for years to come.
Why Buy a Metal Pizza Peel?
Because thin sheets of aluminium and stainless steel are relatively new inventions (well, compared to wood anyway), metal pizza peels are the newcomers in the pizza game — but don’t let that scare you off.
While wooden peels are great for handling raw pizza dough, metal pizza peels are better suited to pizzas that are already cooked. This is because of two main factors:
- They’re thin, so they slide straight under the cooked pizza without the need for any other tools.
- Cooked pizza dough doesn’t stick to them.
As a result, your newly melted cheese won’t go sliding back into the inferno as you deftly slide your pizza onto the peel before resting it safely on the plates of your hungry friends and family. Grandma would be proud.
Metal pizza peels are the ultimate in convenience because they are thin, lightweight, and can be submerged in water for easy cleaning. Additionally, they are durable and naturally resistant to burning or staining.
Should I Get a Perforated Pizza Peel?
Perforated pizza peels are a variation of the metal pizza peel. Made from aluminum or stainless steel, the perforated pizza has lots of little holes punched out of its tray. These holes help to get air underneath raw pizza dough. This reduces the suction of the raw pizza dough, and makes it easier for you to slide raw pizzas into the oven.
This might seem like the perfect solution, but if you leave raw pizza on a perforated pizza peel longer than a few seconds, the dough can start to ooze through the holes, leaving you with even more of a sticky mess.
Metal pizza peels are ideal for getting hot pizzas out of the oven without scorching your hands, but they can very easily lead to a sticky mess of blackened cheese and raw dough.
Their counterparts, wooden pizza peels, are the perfect tool for getting your pizza into the oven without your toppings leaving the sticky dough behind.
This means that if you want to ensure that your pizzas get into the oven in one piece AND return safely, you should buy one of each. Use a wooden pizza peel for putting the pizza into the oven, and a metal pizza peel for getting it out. The fire-breathing pizza oven will retreat, ready for the next battle, and Grandma’s pizza recipe will be celebrated across the land.