Pizza Tips: The Super Peel
Many years ago, my brother set me off on the correct course on my pizza journey by buying me a pizza peel for my birthday. We already had a pizza stone, but I'm not sure exactly how we used it -- probably something silly like putting the pizza in an aluminum baking pan, and then setting that on the stone. Whatever the process was, it was merely adequate and produced a pizza that was enjoyable enough to eat, but still nothing like take-out from Dion's.
The pizza peel allowed me to begin to make pizza properly, by sliding the pie onto the pre-heated pizza stone and getting some color on the crust before the pepperonis on top turned completely black. It definitely had some drawbacks, though. Despite my best efforts, there were always one or two pizzas that refused to let go of the peel and glide onto the stone. Sometimes they required an excessive amount of flour to keep from sticking, and sometimes it seemed that no amount of flour could equal the stubbornness of a pizza that clung to the peel. If the dough was too wet, it would stick. If I took too long to prepare the pizza, it would stick. If the pizza was too large, it would stick. If the toppings were too heavy, it would stick. I don't want to completely trash my old peel; it has served me very well and aided me in creating many delicious pies. But I've found something better: the Super Peel.
The Super Peel (pictured above after a hard day of work) is a smart solution to the age-old problem of pizza sticking to the peel. It's very simple: a cloth belt slides along the peel, allowing you to pick up and set down your pizza without it needing to actually slide across any surface. The pizza sits completely static on the cloth. It's surprisingly easy to use, too. I thought it would take a least a few tries to get the moving parts coordinated, but the motion is very intuitive. Essentially, you align the pizza where you want to drop it in the oven, hold the plastic piece still, and slide the peel out from underneath.
With this new Super Peel, a lot of the restrictions are lifted. I made a pizza supreme (basically all of the leftover ingredients) without having to worry about the pizza being weighed down, or toppings falling off the from my vigorous shaking. I didn't have to compensate for the pizza contracting as I tested to see if it would release; the size of the pizza on the peel was the size of the pizza in the oven. I didn't have to rush for fear that the pizza would start to stick, and I could make pizza as thin as I wanted without worrying that the crust wouldn't hold together when I transferred it to the oven.
The one I bought is a cheap, cardboard/plastic peel from Amazon, and it does everything I need it to do, and I think it's absolutely worth it if you make pizza at home. It opens up tons of possibilities and increases the consistency and reliability of your process.
Pizza word count: 25