It is a very popular food and therefore it is very widely made. Pizza, as a concept that originated in Italy, the first pizzeria restaurant opened in 1738 in Naples, Italy, and was named Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba.
Ever since then it has become exceedingly popular worldwide and now you can buy it as take-out food, in a restaurant pretty much anywhere in the world, get it cooked or frozen at a local superstore, or make it yourself.
If you’re a big fan of pizza you probably know that pizzas are cooked in an oven and a tool called a pizza peel is used to take it in and out. There are many types of pizza peel and each is good for different reasons. We, however, love the perforated pizza peel.
Let’s have a look at these and find out if perforated pizza peels are better for making pizza than other types.
What is a Pizza Peel?
A pizza peel is a shovel-like tool that is bused in baking to slide foods such as loaves of bread, pizzas, and pastries in and out of the oven.
They are usually made from wood or metal with a flat carrying surface that holds the baked good, with a handle on the other side extending from the flat surface for suitable holding.
The flat surface is also known as the blade of the pizza peel. This is where you place your pizza, this area has to be large enough to fit whatever size pizza you are making.
The handle has a couple of main functions, firstly it provides a stable grip for the baker and second of all it extends far enough that the reach of the peel, allows you to easily push the pizza into the oven without burning yourself.
Do I need one?
The need for a pizza peel depends on whether or not you bake your pizza in a home oven or a wood-fired oven- as they may do at a lot of restaurants and as you would likely find if you went to Naples for pizza.
If you use a standard home cooking oven to bake your pizzas then a large baking tray may suffice, you can even get circular ones specifically for pizza baking.
However, if you intended on using a wood-fired oven then you will need a Pizza Peel. You could try different methods and you will usually find that either it will end disastrously or you may end up simply messing up pizza after pizza.
Parchment paper is likely to burn and start a fire, whereas trying to move your pizza with a plate, spatula, baking try… will be likely to result in a massive pizza mess. Getting a pizza peel is the best bet if you intend on following a pizza baking journey.
Types of Pizza Peel
Pizza peels will often vary in sizes, shapes, and materials. They can be round, square, and have long, short, or medium handles, their thickness can vary too.
There is no wide preference guide on specifically what you should get, as it is totally dependant on your oven, your baking, and what size of pizza you are intending to make.
You may find it best to invest in a few different types as some may be better for moving the pizza from your worktop into the oven while others may be more useful for shifting the pizza around while it bakes.
There are two main types of Pizza peel to consider here, perforated and solid.
Perforated- A pizza peel with a perforated carrying surface will be filled with many small holes. There is one main benefit to this, which is that it helps you rid your pizza of the extra flour on your dough. If the flour is left there it will likely burn in the oven and therefore create smoke, a few charred pieces here and there and it may give unpleasant flavors to the crust of your pizza. For the most part, perforated peels tend to be metal rather than any other material, although due to the perforation your pizza is much less likely to stick to the material than it would on a metal solid surface peel.
Solid- A solid surface peel is more traditional and very common, it is flat and the whole surface lacks any holes, dents, or grooves. It looks like a steam roller has gone over a shovel. These are very common in pizza making but they lack the benefit of flour removal which means you may have to take extra steps yourself before baking to get rid of excess flour.
What is a Perforated Pizza Peel?
A perforated pizza peel, as stated above is a pizza peel that is covered in small holes that released any excess flour from your pizza dough before cooking to prevent burning, discoloration, and unpleasant tastes in your crust.
The only difference between a perforated pizza peel and a solid one is the holes in the perforated peel, as perforated means ‘surface coated with small holes’. It is also lighter than solid peels, due to a little less material and due to the perforation, your pizza is less likely to stick to it.
Is a Perforated Pizza Peel Better?
A perforated pizza peel is probably the best choice if you want to invest in something that will make your pizza baking easier and less of a hassle.
You don’t need to worry about burned bits on your crust and you can forget about your pizza sticking to the peel. They also have plenty of benefits over wooden peels too, which we will have a look at later. We certainly recommend getting a perforated peel.
Or if you don’t want to invest in a peel, if you use a home oven you can get perforated pizza trays too. Perforation seems to be the ultimate best way to bake quality pizza.
Perforated Vs Non-Perforated Pizza Peel
Most traditional pizza peels are flat, solid, and wooden. This is generally because pizza dough is less likely to stick to wood than it is to other materials such as metal.
Because of the surface, wooden surfaces allow air to pass through underneath the dough. These peels do have the downside of having to be thick, you cannot make wood as thin as metal and have it function very well or last very long.
So the thickness of wooden pizza peels is the downside and it makes it very hard to be able to slide your pizza onto without using other tools. Which is not particularly great when you are dealing with a hot oven.
In an ideal world, you want a super-thin pizza peel to be able to slide it underneath your pizza with ease, wooden peels don’t offer ease and although they offer anti-sticking, the thickness is their downfall. Therefore metal is a better choice.
This is why perforated peels take the cheese, the perforation allows air to flow beneath the dough, preventing sticking and also being thin enough to slide underneath your pizza.
- Generally less likely to stick.
- Too thick to pick up pizza easily.
- Airflow through holes.
Benefits of a Perforated Pizza Peel
We’ve mentioned the main benefits of a perforated pizza peel, but let’s look a little deeper into why these things matter quite so much, and have a look at a few others that may leave you thinking about dumping your old one and seeking out a perforated beauty.
The primary purpose of a perforated peel is simply to rid the worry of any excess flour tainting your beautiful pizza crusts by leaving singed flour marks.
Burned flour also makes your oven smoky, it can be enough to make your fire alarms go crazy and that is not a distraction that you want while you are baking.
It will also make the pizza taste a bit weird, like when you get a burned bit on a cookie, or if you overcooking bacon or add too much sauce to a dish. You will find that the burned taste of flour in the dough may be overpowering and leave an unpleasant taste lingering behind.
If you’ve ever been to take a pizza-takeout restaurant and seen those discolored bits on the base, that is what you are looking at and we know how that tastes. NASTY!
The perforated peel prevents this problem, without any extra help from you, making your baking life, so much easier.
No more sticky-situations
Remember what we said about wooden peels? This is similar to that. The perforation in these peels doesn’t just add air to your pizza making it less likely to stick but it also adds one other thing, simply… a lack of surface area. The smaller the surface area, the less likely an item is to stick.
The only complication is a peel with big holes, if the holes are too big the dough will slip through and get stuck, so be sure to invest in a good perforated peel with small enough holes.
Is there anything more annoying than your pizza having a soggy base? When you take your pizza out of the oven, water/ condensation builds. This forms a soggy base to the pizza if not careful.
A solid peel may intensify this as the hot meets cold, especially in metal peels, which are the main culprit of this. With a perforated peel, the hot air from the warm pizza escapes through the holes, and condensation stops. So with perforation, you avoid soggy pizza bottoms.
Baking shouldn’t be a work-out
Perforated peels are lighter than solid peels simply due to less metal on the carrying surface.
Baking should not be a work-out, and lighter weights make it easier to work in the kitchen/ bakery. We opt for lighter perforated peels, every time.