Pizza Peel Wood vs Metal: Unfold the Real Difference and an Astonishing Solution for Both

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wood vs metal pizza peel

Pizza Peel Wood vs Metal? You asked. What’s the difference?

Which one should I get?

So many questions.

But don’t worry we got you covered.

If you’re a pizza baker (or aspiring to be one), this article will help you understand the purpose of a pizza peel and what features to look for so you can select the best pizza peel for your needs.

Let’s get started!

But before we dive in, let’s cover a few basics about these tools of the trade.

What Is A Pizza Peel?

Pizza peels are wide paddle-like tools known as baking peels, pizza shovels, or pizza sliders used to transfer the pizza in and out of the oven.

Picture the ovens at your local pizza joint: do you see the pizza bakers pulling pies in and out of the oven using long tools that appear to be giant spatulas?

Those are pizza peels!  

Peels with long handles look a bit like a snow shovel that got run over in the driveway!

For home cooks using a pizza stone or pizza steel, a pizza peel is a valuable accessory that will help you make excellent homemade pies in your oven.

Pro Tip


Make sure that no matter which pizza peel you are using, that is completely dry. Flour the surface and your pizza will never stick.

What Is A Pizza Peel Used For?

A peel is used to transfer pizza and other baked goods in and out of the oven, mainly when the baked item is not in a pan.

It has been known as a tool for bakers since at least the 13th century.  

The term peel has been used in the standard description of a baker’s job in the 1806 edition of the Book of Trades.

Peels have become must-have tools in commercial pizza ovens and brick or stone ovens because the baking area is large, and the pizzas usually get baked directly on the bottom surface of the oven like medieval free-form loaves of bread.

What should I look for when choosing a pizza peel?

Wood vs Metal Pizza Peel

There are several styles of peels on the market; depending on your use and budget, you may choose one design or maybe two!

Pizza Peel Components

Wood vs Metal Pizza Peel

A pizza peel has two main parts: a paddle and a handle.

The paddle area is the surface upon which the pizza sits during transfer to and from the oven, whereas the handle is the part you hold it with. Let’s look at some factors to consider when choosing the best pizza peel.

Pizza Pun


We saw a man cutting a pizza with a smartphone

It’s cutting edge technology but jeez

Paddle Material

Wood vs Metal Pizza Peel

Also known as a blade, the paddle is usually made of wood or metal; composite materials are also available. Peels are generally classified by the material of the paddle.

Wood

The original baking peels were made of all wood. Today, home cooks have several good choices of the type of wood for their pizza peel.

The best woods are relatively low density so that the utensil does not weigh too much; popular choices include basswood, acacia, and bamboo.

Peels made of wood have the benefit of being sturdy and relatively inexpensive.

Metal

Metal is another popular choice for the paddle end of the peel. Metal paddles are sometimes called ‘blades’ because they are quite thin.

Aluminum and stainless steel are the most common and preferred for durability, strength, and ease of care. The metal peel’s thinness is a benefit to getting the pizza out of the oven.

Composite

Peels made of pressed paper and similar composite materials are also available but are not well-liked among experienced pizza bakers.

We will, therefore, only consider wood and metal peels from this point.

Paddle size

Yes, Size Matters! The paddle surface’s width or area determines the largest size pizza you can bake, so you’ll need something big enough to make the pies you want but not so big that it doesn’t fit into your oven!

Most peels have a paddle in the 14″ range, which would allow you to make a 13-14″ diameter pizza, which is plenty big for most of us. If you have a large oven (and strong arms), you could go bigger.

Peels less than 12″ will limit the size of the pies you can make.

Paddle shape

Most paddles are squared off at the end even though pizza tends to be round; this medieval design has endured for centuries for its utility in reaching the farthest corners of the oven and tucking under a baked item.

A gently curved end is also a good choice.

Some commercial operations and wood-fired outdoor pizza oven owners use a small round peel to turn things inside the oven; this specialized utensil is not needed for home kitchens.

Pizza peel shapes

The shape of the blade edge is critical. Because wood peels have a paddle thickness of about one-half inch where they support the pizza, a good wood will be beveled so that the edge is thin, 1/8th inch or less; this is essential for getting your cooked pizza out of the oven.

Metal peels tend to be thin throughout the paddle area, making it easy to slip the blade under the pie.

Pizza Peel Handle Material and Design

Material – Wood vs Metal Pizza Peel

Wood peels are generally carved from a single piece of wood, so the handle and the paddle are the same.

For metal peels, the handle may be made of wood, metal, or a high-temperature-resistant plastic or silicone.

In any case, make sure the peel is rated to 550°F – you don’t want plastic melting onto your food or oven door!

Some peels feature foldable or extendable handles to make storage easier; however, check product reviews to ensure that the handle won’t collapse while you are carrying a topping-laden pizza to the oven.

Pizza Peel Handle’s Length

The handle’s length is essential – a handle that is too short will make your hand feel extremely uncomfortable from the heat of the oven, whereas too long of a handle can be difficult to manipulate and store in a small kitchen.

We recommend a minimum handle length of 7″ up to 12″ for a home kitchen peel– this will allow you to reach the back of your oven without singeing the little hairs on your fingers!

Pizza Peel Overall Weight

All of these variations in material, handle length, and paddle size impacts the peel’s weight. A well-made peel will deliver the desired features with a weight of fewer than two pounds.

Heavier woods like teak may add a bit of weight, but if you like the look of teak and want to hang the peel on your wall, it may be worth the extra few ounces.

Once the peel is loaded with a big uncooked pizza, it will weigh upwards of five pounds, so your ability to carry and manipulate the peel will be important.

We recommend that you buy a pizza peel under three pounds, preferably less than two. Unless, of course, you are in need of bicep conditioning!

Price

Wooden peels tend to be less expensive, whereas metal peels with their multi-piece construction tend to cost a bit more.

However, neither is terribly expensive, so dedicated pizza makers may choose to have one of each in their kitchens.

How to Use Pizza Peel

Although the general method for using all pizza peels is the same, there are some subtle differences in technique.

How to Use a Wood Pizza Peel Wood vs Metal

So to get started, you will just need to get a wood peel. Make sure is completely dry.

Wood Peel
Heritage Acacia Wood Pizza Peel


Total Time Needed: 5 minutes
Total Average Cost: $ 20 USD

Required Tools:

– A Wood Pizza Peel

Ingredients Needed?

– Flour
– Cornmeal

Steps to using a wood pizza peel

Step 1: Flour Surface of the Pizza Peel


Spread a couple of teaspoons of flour and cornmeal on the pizza peel and spread it around to cover the area where you will place the dough.

Flour the wood peel


Step 2: Stretch the Dough


Place your lightly floured and rolled or stretched-out dough on the peel and give it a little horizontal shake.

If it does not move freely, add a bit more cornmeal under the sticky spots. It is important to avoid holes in the dough, as the sauce will drip below and cause the pie to stick to the peel.

Stretch the dough



Step 3: Add the Sauce to the Dough


Add your sauce and toppings; work quickly so as not to give the dough too much time on the peel, which increases the risk of sticking.

Sauce the dough



Step 4: Shake and Transfer the Pizza to the Oven


Pick up the peel and gently shake it horizontally again so that the assembled pizza is moving back and forth a bit.

Continuing the shaking motion, open the oven and shimmy the dough onto the preheated pizza surface.

Slide pizza into oven



Step 5: Remove the Pizza from the Oven


To remove the pizza, place the peel at the edge of the cooked pizza at a downward angle so that the beveled edge is contacting the surface of the stone.

Give a strong shove to get the peel underneath the crust.

This step is a bit tricky; sometimes, the pizza will just move to the back of the oven, in which case you can use the back wall to hold the pizza while you slip the peel underneath.

Alternatively, use a large pair of tongs to grasp the crust and pull it onto the peel.

remove pizza from oven



Step 6: Serve the Pizza


Return the peel to the counter and slide the pizza onto a cutting board or serving platter.

Serve the pizza


Best practices to use a Pizza peel

Here are some tips to improve the way you use a pizza peel.  These are not necessarily what is shown in the photos but we decided to leave them as they are so you can get a better view of the best practices.

  • Make sure your peel is completely dry
  • Remove the top rack of the oven you have more space to maneuver your peel.
  • Is best practice to use either a pizza stone or pizza steel as the cooking surface, this will give you a better crust.
  • Note the peel has to be at an angle with placing the pizza on the baking surface.
  • Pull out the rack when the pizza is cooked, this will dissipate the heat and give you more space to work with. However, you need to be careful the pizza won’t slide off the cooking surface. To avoid sliding off, hold the pizza with tongs.

How to Use a Metal Pizza Peel

So to get started, you will just need to get a metal peel. We love using a perforated metal peel, for its versatility. Check here for more information on this.

Lastly, make sure is completely dry.

Total Time Needed: 5 minutes

Total Average Cost: $30.00

Required Tools:

– A Metal Pizza Peel

Ingredients Needed?

– Flour

Steps to Use the Metal Peel

Flour working surface

Step 1: Flour Working Surface or Countertop

Spread a generous amount of semolina flour or cornmeal on a clean cutting board or countertop.

stretch the dough

Step 2: Stretch the Dough

Flour and stretch the dough and place it on this work surface. It is important to avoid holes in the dough, as the sauce will drip through and make the dough stick to the peel.

sauce the dough

Step 3: Add the Sauce and the Toppings to the Dough

Add your sauce and toppings; work quickly so as not to give the dough too much time on the countertop, which increases the risk of sticking.

transfer pizza to peel

Step 4: Shake and Transfer the Pizza to the Oven

Put a couple of teaspoons of cornmeal/flour on the pizza peel at the blade edge, where you will pick up the pizza.

Slide the blade under the assembled uncooked pizza and gently shake it horizontally so that the dough doesn’t have time to stick to the blade.

Continuing the shaking motion, quickly open the oven and shimmy the dough onto the preheated pizza surface.

transfer pizza to oven

Step 5: Remove the Pizza from the Oven

To remove the pizza, place the peel at the edge of the cooked pizza and give a decent shove to get the peel underneath the crust.

serve the pizza

Step 6: Serve the Pizza

Regardless of the peel you choose, you will want to have a bit of practice with the techniques before hosting a pizza party!

Caring for your pizza peel Wood vs Metal

How to Take Care of a Wood Pizza Peel

Wooden pizza peels should not be soaked in water or placed in the dishwasher. If you have managed to avoid getting food on the paddle, simply brush off the cornmeal.

If you get sauce or cheese stuck on it (which often happens at the front edge), run it under a light stream of water and use a spatula, bench scraper, or plastic scrub brush to remove the food.

How to Take Care of a Metal Pizza Peel

Metal peels are generally easier to care for; like an aluminum or steel sheet pan, they can be washed in warm soapy water, and some are dishwasher safe.

Check the manufacturer’s use and care information for the specific model you are considering.

Which is the right pizza peel design for me?

How to Choose a Pizza Peel

Let’s discuss some additional pros and cons of pizza peel wood vs metal pizza peel.

Pizza Peel Wood vs Metal

Wood peels make it easy to get a pizza into the oven but not so easy to get it out.

The unpolished “fuzzy” surface of a wood peel absorbs some moisture and reduces the amount of contact between the uncooked dough and the paddle.

This feature reduces the risk of the dough sticking to the peel and causing your pizza to deform or spill, which is clearly something you want to avoid!

Once the pizza is cooked, getting it back onto a wooden peel and out of the oven can be a challenge.

Due to the thickness of the wood, it is not easy to slip the paddle under the pizza; this can cause a bit of stress while you are crouched in front of an open 550°F oven, and your pizza is moving farther back into the intense heat!

Although there is some risk of a wooden peel catching fire when using it in a wood-fired oven, this is not a concern for home ranges.

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09/30/2022 06:53 am GMT
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09/30/2022 06:51 am GMT
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Metal Pizza Peels

Metal peels, due to the slick, non-absorbent surface of the paddle, require lots of flour while handling the uncooked pizza to avoid sticking.

When the flour under the pizza dough hits the pizza stone, it can burn and create an unpleasant flavor on the crust – which is a real bummer since you have invested in making better crusts!

Some bakers use semolina flour for this purpose because it burns at a higher temperature.

Other folks use parchment paper and keep the pizza on it the whole time; however, there is a risk of the paper catching on fire, which may produce a strange flavor – or cause great alarm to those around you.

New Star Foodservice Aluminum Pizza Peel
$30.85
Check it Out
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09/30/2022 06:54 am GMT
Befano Detachable Metal Pizza Peel
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Our Top Pick
Aluminum Pizza Peel Paddle with Detachable Wooden Handle
$21.99
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09/30/2022 06:55 am GMT

Pizza Peel Metal vs Wood

Here is what you need to look for in a pizza peel. 

Of course, it will depend on the kind of oven you have. 

Keep in mind that the average kitchen oven reaches temperatures up to 500F whereas an outdoor wood-fired or gas pizza oven can reach temperatures up to 1000F.

So, let us help you decide which pizza peel is best for You!

Pizza PeelIndoor Kitchen OvenOutdoor Pizza Oven
Paddle MaterialWood or MetalMetal
Paddle SizeUp to 14″Up to 18″
Paddle ShapeRounded Square* Rounded Square for Transfer
*Round for Turning
Handle MaterialWoodAluminum
Handle LengthFrom 7″ to 12″From 12″ to 48″
Overall WeightUp to 2 lbsUp to 2.5 lbs
Highly Recommended for Indoor Use
Perforated Pizza Peel- G.A Homefavor
Check it Out
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Our Top Pick
GI Metal Rectangular Perforated Pizza Peel
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Perforated Pizza Peel - Long Handle
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Master Your Pizza Game with Two (2) Pizza Peels

So now you may be thinking, “I still don’t which is the best pizza peel for me.”

There is no single answer for everyone and every task. For this reason, many pizza chefs have two pizza peels – a wooden one for getting the pizza into the oven and a metal one for getting it out.

This is a great solution if you have the budget to buy both and the room to store them.

However, most of us aren’t going to make pizza every day and may wish to use that space and money for things besides pizza peels!

Don’t Want to Buy Two Different Pizza Peels? Here is the Solution

A new alternative

Perforated Pizza Peel vs Solid

Perforated Pizza Peel

If you prefer to buy only one peel, a perforated pizza peel may be the best design for you. This newer style has perforations, or small holes, throughout the paddle.

The perforated design reduces the surface area in contact with dough and allows air to reach the underside, thus reducing the amount of flour needed.

Such a hybrid pizza peel combines the thin blade of a metal peel with the lower stickiness of a wood peel; a result is a tool that is good at both getting the pizza into and out of the oven.

Why Use Perforated Pizza Peel

An additional benefit of the perforations is that by shaking the peel’s uncooked pizza, some of the excess flour under the dough can be removed via the holes before placement on the baking stone.

The method for using a perforated pizza peel is mostly the same as that for a metal peel, do a little more (but gentle) shaking of the raw pizza on the peel to allow the extra flour to escape.

You will still need to work quickly and keep the peel moving to avoid dough dripping through the holes. To minimize this problem, choose a perforated pizza peel with smaller holes.

This is What the PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro Use and Recommend

(Indoor Kitchen Ovens)

Highly Recommended for Indoor Use
Perforated Pizza Peel- G.A Homefavor
Check it Out
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This is What the PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro Use and Recommend (Outdoor Kitchen Ovens)

Our Top Pick
GI Metal Rectangular Perforated Pizza Peel
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The Last Slice

Now that you know all about designs and uses for peels, as well as the benefits of wood pizza peel vs metal pizza peel and perforated peel, we hope you feel confident enough to choose your home kitchen pizza peel.

A perforated or hybrid pizza peel is an excellent choice when you want to buy one versatile tool. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind keeping two around, having both a metal and a wooden peel is a great way to go!

So, what type of peel do you use or are thinking of buying? Are you ready to try the new innovation of perforated pizza peels? Let us know!

Enjoy!

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