Trick for Using a Pizza Peel in Your Oven

Ever experienced the unfortunate problem of trying to release an uncooked pizza from a pizza peel? We’ve got the ultimate trick to help you seamlessly slide a stubbornly sticky homemade margherita into the oven. It’s this: Loosen its annoyingly clingy grip on your peel by gently running an offset spatula under it.

While a dusting of flour can help prevent uncooked pizza from sticking to a pizza peel, it can also get absorbed into a particularly moist dough. High-hydration pizza doughs that contain lots of liquid result in pizzas with a lighter texture, crispier base, lots of air holes, and an appetizing flavor but they are also trickier to handle and more likely to stick. Cornmeal is touted as a better alternative to flour because it isn’t absorbed into the dough and also lends it flavor but it does give the base of a pizza a grittier texture.

A long offset spatula is a good solution to releasing a pizza off a peel because of its clever design. This variety of spatula looks like a regular spatula except for one difference; it has an angled blade that bends down and away from the handle before it juts out into a straight line. This means you can angle it under the dough and run it around the circumference of your pizza easily. The metal length stays parallel to the pizza peel and is simultaneously thin enough to glide under the dough and long enough to reach the center. 

The blunt edges of an offset spatula are an asset

floury offset spatula

Available in thin and wider sizes, offset spatulas have rounded tips and blunt edges, which won’t disturb the delicate texture of your tender pizza dough or pierce through it and upset the toppings like the blade of a chef’s knife could. You can simply dust it with flour, slide it underneath, and give your peel a shimmy to check that your pie can move freely again before depositing it into your oven.

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The angled feature of an offset spatula is highlighted further if your pizza gets stuck halfway onto the base of the oven and half on your peel. The shape of the spatula means you can run it under the stuck portion of your pie while keeping your hand a bit further away from the fierce heat of the oven.

Another tip to prevent your pizza from sticking to the peel is to make sure it’s clean before placing your dough on it and dusting it with finely textured semolina. Once your pie is on top, give the peel a little shake to see if the pizza can move freely across the surface without sticking. You could also try using less sauce to prevent the risk of your dough absorbing too much moisture and sticking to the peel, or even add it over the cheese, like a Detroit-style pizza.

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