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Marlene

Pizza dough sticking to the peel

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Lay out the crust on baking parchment. Works beautifully on a pizza stone or oven rack, as you prefer, and makes moving the pizza on and off the peel extremely simple.

What a great idea!!!! I, too, have never had good luck sliding my crust on and off of the blistering hot pizza stone in the oven. I can't wait to make pizza again and try this!

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I use a very wet dough, and I found the best way to get the pizza off my peel was to prepare the pizza in as short a time period as possible, as close to the time of putting it in the oven as possible. I don't start preparing the pizza until I'm sure the oven is at the right temperature. Then I quickly make my round (looks more oblong most of the time) on my very well-floured peel, spread on some tomato puree, and put on my toppings (usually just olives, capers, and sliced fresh mozzarella). All that is done in fewer than 5 minutes and by then, the wet dough hasn't had enough time to suck in all the flour from the peel, and it can still slide. If it doesn't, I lift up the edge of part of the dough and blow some flour under.

I think the key is not to let the pizza sit on your peel for too long. The longer it sits, the wetter the flour or cornmeal will become, and the less likely your dough will slide off with ease.

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It's easy, the secret is to periodically (~every 30 seconds or so), shake the peel/pizza loose, as you assemble the topping.

This is the key to doing it properly....Need to keep it "floating" on the cornmeal. (it does not take a lot , you just need to keep it floating/loose...never fails here...

Bud

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wow, great ideas here! Love the one with blowing air under it with a straw, better make sure nobody sees you doing that, :laugh:

That pizza peel thing looks pretty neat too, though I'm determined to get this working the "real" way for now. Neat idea though!

This time I used dough from Trader Joes, they sell fresh dough in the fridge. It's pretty moist and very sticky when coming out of the bag. If I make it from scratch it more or less depends on which recipe I find first, though they all don't differ that much.

I have prebaked it before, but that's not that convenient, especially if I want to make the pizza outside on the grill.

I'll sand my peel down a bit on one side, see if that works, and I'll use more corn meal. Or parchment paper, but does that work in a 550 - 600 degree bbq? Or would that go up in flames?

And I'll see that I work faster and jiggle the thing a bit, it was probably on the peel too long yesterday.

And now I'll have to check out that pizza forum :cool:

Thanks all, great ideas!

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I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem. The last time I tried, I managed to get it on the peel okay, but then getting it off was a problem. Cheese went onto the stone and the oven bottom. Instant charcoal. Sounds like I may have been not generous enough with the cornmeal. I'm curious about the parchment method too. It does seem like the stone would be too hot for the parchment, but if it works, then maybe not. Do you notice any difference in the way the stone cooks the underside of the pizza?

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This time I used dough from Trader Joes, they sell fresh dough in the fridge. It's pretty moist and very sticky when coming out of the bag. If I make it from scratch it more or less depends on which recipe I find first, though they all don't differ that much.

If the sticking problem is occurring regardless of recipe, and you're already using liberal flour and] cornmeal, then working more quickly is the big change you'll likely need to make. I just went through this with a friend a while back. Embarrassing photos to be posted if I can find them.

Incidentally, I'm not sure that this was addressed: the metal peels are for taking pizza out of an oven not putting it in; a metal surface is not the cure for stickiness.

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Right, so this is what happens when your pizza sticks to your peel because you let it sit on the peel too long.

pizzadisaster1.jpg

pizzadisaster2.jpg

Once you work quickly, use copious flour and cornmeal, and generally get the hang of it, everything clears up.

pizzadisaster3.jpg

It's one of those things that's very frustrating and seems insurmountable, until you get it right the first time. Then you can't imagine not getting it right. Keep at it and the problem will disappear. It doesn't have to be about sanding, changing peels, using parchment or any other device. The whole issue can be addressed through technique.

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Fat Guy: "The whole issue can be addressed through technique."

Me: "That's what I was thinking/afraid of" :raz:

of course, the upside of this is: more pizza!

I'm sue mine sat a good 15 min on the peel, I'll see that I really have my mess in place next time and can go at it with speed.

Wondering right now, how do they actually do that in pizza restaurants? Do they have a wall of peels to use or do they set them up some other way? And do they use corn meal? I hardly ever go out for pizza and haven't paid any attention on how they get the raw pizza from here to there.

Thanks again all, I'll make my own dough next time, see how that goes. More fun anyway :cool:

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Personally, I use parchment with a little coarse semolina above and below.

But I've heard about this american thing, which is a kinda tiny version of a commercial oven loading conveyor.

The "super peel" http://www.breadtopia.com/super-peel-in-action/

Anyone been hands on with one?

I always had trouble with dough sticking and could never get it consistently right.

After I bought the superpeel all problems went away. The product works as advertised and I am very happy with it. My one complaint is I wish it were bigger. I use my old peel to remove the pizza because that is easier.

I also does not like real high heat and will show burn marks if I use a real hot oven. I disabled the lock on my self clean cycle and sometime use self clean to get the oven real hot for pizza.

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The parchment will burn, but not dramatically. You'll end up with an interesting charred sheet of paper, with the unique outline of the pizza baked on it. I've thought about mounting and framing a few (a wine-induced idea).

I haven't tried it, but there's releasable foil available ... basically aluminum with some kind of nonstick coating. The brand I saw advertised was good to over 600 degrees. I'd like to try that some day, because it might allow you to reuse the foil if making multiple pies. The parchment, obviously, is a one-shot.

You can also simulate that fancy mechanical peel with foil and a cookie sheet or regular peel. build the pizza on a piece of foil that's around twice the depth of the peel ... you can probably visualize how it would work. The pie would end up on the stone and the foil would end up in your hand.

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Over there at the pizza making form that is all they do is play with dough and pizza. They will teach you a new way to make dough and you will learn a lot. You caNOT use parchment paper. That is just not how it is done. Unless you want to make a cracker thin crust and you can use a pan for that. The first time I used a stone the pie stock and I shook it hard and my guide dog was eating all the topping that fell on the floor. Another time stuff landed on the bottom of the oven and the smoke alarms went off. And I read that a lady got mad and threw her pizza out on the lawn because it wouldn't come off of the stone. my name over there is "the blind meat cutter"

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hey beefy. you are right. I wish you would have told me about the metal peal before I bought one. I was struggling with it until the pizza forum guys straightened me out. If any one is going to be in denver I will give it to you.

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Wondering right now, how do they actually do that in pizza restaurants? Do they have a wall of peels to use or do they set them up some other way? And do they use corn meal? I hardly ever go out for pizza and haven't paid any attention on how they get the raw pizza from here to there.

Thanks again all, I'll make my own dough next time, see how that goes. More fun anyway :cool:

At the Neapolitan-style pizza places I go to, the pizzas are made one-by-one. It's not like they form 12 rounds in succession, then top each one and bake. They form one round, top it, and put it in the wood-burning oven. Then they do the next one, etc. etc. Places with smaller ovens only bake one at a time (which means if everyone at the table ordered pizza, the last person may get theirs just as the first person is finishing), but places with larger ovens will add another pizza while the first one is cooking, etc. I've never seen more than maybe 3 in the oven at any on time, though. They need to keep an eye on them and rotate them as need be, and they bake very quickly, so you can't have too many in there at once. My favourite pizza place only bakes pizzas for 2 minutes or less, so they only do pizzas one at a time.

None of the places I go to use cornmeal. They all use flour. A lot of flour.

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You caNOT use parchment paper. That is just not how it is done.

Why, because they'll kick you out of the club? It's not a traditional method, but it works better than any other I've tried.

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Most pizza dough recipes are rather wet, so rather sticky. That's fine, you just dust the outside with flour so there's a barrier of dry between your hands/the counter/the peal and the dough. But when you build the pizza slowly, the moisture saturates the dusting of flour on the outside, turning it to glue. Wooden peals can absorb some of that moisture, so they slow the sticking better than metal peals. And shaking gets some air in to disperse the moisture.

But parchment is definitely the most sure-fire way to go. I build my pizza on two plastic cutting boards that I place side-by-side. I first stretch the dough, then cut a piece of parchment, place the parchment on top of the dough, and flip it over so the parchment is on top and the dough is on the bottom. I quickly rearrange the dough, sliding it back into the center and stretching it back into the right shape before it has a chance to stick to the paper. But once I've got it in position, I'm all set: I can take as long as I like to build the pizza and not worry about sticking.

Before I transfer the pizza to the oven, I use a razor knife to trim the excess parchment down to about 1/2" around the pizza. In the oven, the parchment won't burn, but it'll brown a little bit in spots. The dough keeps the paper from getting too hot, even in a 600F oven.

I don't even use a peal; I just bought a 14" circular aluminum pizza baking disc from the restaurant supply store. It takes up less space than a peal. I wouldn't suggest building the pizza on an aluminum pan, though; the moisture can condense on the metal and make the sliding the paper require a good tug instead of just sliding off.

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You caNOT use parchment paper. That is just not how it is done. Unless you want to make a cracker thin crust and you can use a pan for that.

Really, it works fine, though depending on your preferred time/temp combination you may need to make some small adjustments. The parchment scorches a bit on the stone but the resulting product (which in my kitchen at least is NOT cracker thin) is great, and if you miss having corngrit stuck in your teeth it's easy enough to scatter some on the parchment under the dough.

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I find that lightly oiling the parchment helps prevent sticking. I think this is because the very wet doughs that I prefer tend to seep water into the parchment and actually glue themselves to it if there's no oil there. It also helps to build the pizza at the last possible minute, but this improves everything else, too.

I haven't found any need to modify recipes or techniques when using parchment, although it presents the opportunity to use much less bench flour.

Snoop around on pizzamaking.com ... there's plenty of discussion of parchment. One guy discusses the drawbacks, and they're purely practical (he can't find parchment wider than 15 inches, but he likes to make pizzas bigger than this. Fair enough!)

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To echo a few other thoughts here:

1. Flour, lots of flour. Wet(ish) doughs can be fine - in fact, I think they tend to make the best crusts - but use lots of flour when shaping, resting, and stretching.

2. Flour, not cornmeal on the peel - I find that the particle size of cornmeal can lead to unevenness in the layer between the wood and the pie. The sticking problems I always had were not where the whole pie stuck, but rather where one part of it did and the rest didn't... I found it to be harder to make an even "barrier layer" between the pie and the peel using cornmeal. Lots of flour gives a much more consistent result.

3. Work quickly. Shape the dough on a counter, at least most of the way; dust it; dust the peel; put the dusted side of the dough on the peel and finalize the shape; top the pie; get it in the oven. Bing, bam, boom. Sticking problems are directly correlated to time on the peel. This makes sense if you think about it, because you depend on that barrier layer of flour (or cornmeal) to stay dry. The longer you give it, the more chance it has to absorb liquid from the crust (or spilled sauce / tops), hydrate and get sticky.

4. Use a dry, wooden peel. My peel is fairly rough, and it seems like that actually helps build up a nice flour layer on the peel - so I'd lean towards a rough wood peel over a smooth one, and metal is a non-starter for getting the pizza in (good for removal though!)

Thoughts on parchment and that peel thingy that someone said doesn't do well at high heat... as you probably already know, the big deal with excellent pizza is high heat and direct contact of the crust to a very hot stone or other surface. I'd be very reluctant to move to solutions that break those parameters. If you're getting your stone hot enough, I would think the parchment would burn off (IIRC Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 457 was named that because it's the combustion temp of paper, right?). Besides, there always seems to be some special magic of the direct connection between the stone and the crust that makes it extra special... there could be a little bit of absorbency to the stone that helps, although that's just speculation on my part.

Good luck!

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thanks all! Here's my plan: work on a cutting board to stretch the dough, use a flour sifter to sprinkle dough and peel, flip dough onto peel dusted side down. Have sauce and everything else ready in bowls and see that I get it on the stone within a min or two.

Might get to it this week, if so I'll report. I think a sifter will be helpful to get an even layer of flour quickly.

I'm hesitant about parchment paper as my BGE can get pretty hot and is fired by - well - fire.

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Me thinks y'all should be using rice flour! I'm not sure why it's such a well-kept secret, but it really is one of the best anti-stick agents used in baking.

It may be hard to find depending on your location, but if you have an Asian market close by you're good to go...

Edited to add one more supertip: Dental floss. If your dough has been sitting on the peel for a while, just get a good length of dental floss in your hands and slice between the dough and the peel.

:cool:


Edited by Joe Blowe (log)

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If you put some dough in the oven for a day at 600 degrees, it'll turn to charcoal. But if you put it in for five minutes, it'll have a nice deep brown crust. Why? Because the evaporating water keeps the dough way, way below 600 degrees. That's why the parchment doesn't burn.

Direct contact between the dough and the stone isn't necessary; the parchment allows both moisture and heat to pass, like it isn't there. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a pizza baked on parchment and a pizza baked directly on the stone.

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Most pizza dough recipes are rather wet, so rather sticky. That's fine, you just dust the outside with flour so there's a barrier of dry between your hands/the counter/the peal and the dough.

Yes, that's another thing I do! I forgot to mention it in my earlier post. I usually stretch out the dough on the counter, with a bunch of flour underneath, to coat the bottom in flour. Then I move it to the peel, which has been dusted with cornmeal, top, shake, and into the oven. I'm sure this series of steps would not be sanctioned by the pizza napoletana committee, but it works for me.

And yes, parchment does work just fine. The only problem is that parchment is way more expensive than cornmeal, and it's not actually necessary.

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Nix the TJs dough and make your own. Commercial refrigerated dough, unless you know exactly when it was made, is invariably overproofed. Overproofing works against you in three major ways.

1. Alcohol-y off flavors. Good dough should always highlight the flavor of the wheat, not taste like a 40 of cheap malt liquor.

2. Crumb. Overproofing makes for lumpy, non extensible gluten that doesn't rise properly.

3. Stickiness. Overproofed dough is so sticky it's almost gooey. It's like everything is covered with rubber cement.

Commercial refrigerated dough is a lose lose lose scenario. Make your own the dough the day before using the slow rise method and refrigerate it overnight. That will give you your best flavor, crumb and oven spring.

Lastly, ditto on working quickly. Mise en place is vital. The moment the pizza dough hits the peel you've got a ticking time bomb of stickiness as the moisture in the dough migrates to the flour on the peel.

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Thoughts on parchment and that peel thingy that someone said doesn't do well at high heat... as you probably already know, the big deal with excellent pizza is high heat and direct contact of the crust to a very hot stone or other surface. I'd be very reluctant to move to solutions that break those parameters. If you're getting your stone hot enough, I would think the parchment would burn off (IIRC Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 457 was named that because it's the combustion temp of paper, right?).

The parchment that's not right under the pizza blackens and sometimes crumbles. Doesn't do any harm. The parchment right under the pizza just gets charred ... like the pizza.

If your oven is truly hot enough to incinerate the parchment (like a real woodburning pizza oven would be) then you could use lower hydration doughs, and there'd be much less to gain by using parchment. In a 500 to 600 degree oven, where high hydration doughs rock, parchment makes life good.

Besides, there always seems to be some special magic of the direct connection between the stone and the crust that makes it extra special... there could be a little bit of absorbency to the stone that helps, although that's just speculation on my part.

It's imaginary. There's no absorption of moisture by the stone. The paper doesn't make any noticeable difference in the crust. Except for indirectly: it lets you use less bench flour, which makes the crust better.

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