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In our case, its usually a combination of taking too long to make the pizza, or getting a wet spot on the peel or the prep surface. The moisture sticks and causes the problem.
We've learned to use more flour on the prep area, work as quickly as possible, and keep toppings away from the outer edge of the dough. We've also incorporated a perforated peel in the process with great success, I'd strongly recommend a perforated peel (Here is a link to a video showing different peels, its good info).
Sometimes we make the pizza right on the pizza pan and put it in the oven that way, then place the pizza on the oven floor after a minute or two....Assuming it does not stick to the pan
Below, you find several responses to questions about a sticky peel and spilling pizzas in the oven:
Need to try semolina or rice flour, both are much slicker than AP, bread, or Caputo flours.
I'm guessing the problem is the time spent on the peel, regardless of what you use, the dough is going to stick if worked to hard or if you spend too much time spreading and topping. This is the exact reason I DO NOT let my guests build there own. They can pick whatever they want on it, but only my wife and I do the building of the pies.
If you let the tiniest bit of tomato sauce, olive oil or (gasp) pineapple juice find it's way onto the wooden peel, then this will also stop the base from sliding off. If you have a lot of people to cook for you can cheat a little and go to your local baker and get them to supply you with partially cooked bases. They are not as good as the freshly made one but they eliminate all the problems of rolling out the dough and the sliding problem. A tip when asking your baker for the bases is to request them made really thin and cooked only a tiny bit. You can feed an army easily this way and it will give you more time to practice. The the next party you can do 50/50 fresh and pre done ones and compare.
It never hurts to mention again the usefulness of periodic sanding of your wooden peel. The commercial softwood ones raise little protrusions when they get damp, and eventually this micro-roughness will grab a pizza no matter how much rice flour you have under it. A quick trip to the workshop, and a minute with a palm sander will make your wooden peel much more slippery.
And also, work fast. Take an intermediate shake of the pizza once you have your swirl of red stuff on it, before you load up toppings. Time is the enemy of slickness. Remember: moisture plus wood equals roughness. Sitting time allows moisture to transfer from the dough to the wood.
And commercial dough? If you buy it at a pizzaria it's at least reasonably fresh. But those bagged things in the supermarket? You have no idea of how long those have been sitting there. I'd get beyond that with all deliberate speed.
Lets just agree to disagree. I LOVE to cook and make pizzas. I admit, It is my way or the highway when it comes anything. I have many great family members and friends, I have not the desire, patience, or time to fix their butchery. Sounds harsh, but in reality there is at least 1 or 2 goofballs in every gathering (myself included) and I won't let them throw off the evening for the entire group. I didn't ask anyone to assist, just come over and enjoy pizza and beverages, no one has ever been disappointed that they couldn't work their own dough and build their own pie. In fact, most are amazed at the effiency and end result...from a true "backyard operation".
I think you have gotten a lot of good advice, time to start chipping away to find the exact cause of your trouble. Just remember, we are all human and destined to screw up from time to time. I recently dumped a HUGE thick crust pizza. I made all of the mistakes - too little flour, too much sauce, way too many toppings, and spent an eternity building it. The front edge stuck coming off the peel and I ended up with a 5 lb mass of goo in the middle of the oven. I was so pissed that I threw the peel in the oven to help burn it away. Not a finer moment, I knew better and STILL acted like an idiot after screwing it up. Thank goodness it was one of those home alone nights...only the dogs were aware.
Keep us posted
Another trick is to move the pizza forward and slightly off the peel, about an inch hanging over. When you insert it in the oven, this overhang "grabs" the hot floor and you simply pull the peel from under the pizza. Don't jerk it, just a quick smooth pull with the peel at a bit of an angle say 20 degrees or so from level.
I like that blowing under the pizza technique for releasing the pizza from the peel. Just tell people you are blowing a little magic into the pizza, that's why it tastes so good. BTW, Texassourdough is the man.....for dough especially.
I agree with TS. I bought about 20 pizza aluminum pizza pans (yeah, I know, aluminum and acids...) but they are a practical way to let your guests experience making a pie. I refuse to let inexperienced guests (in any significant number) work with the peel (too many holey, glued pies with sauce all over the peel and folded pizza calzones and sauce all over the hearth). They can slow things down WAY too much. Pans are a good, cheap approach if you want to let them make pies.
I also STRONGLY encourage you to consider making your dough dry enough to be easily manageable. 70 % hydration dough is wonderful but...your guests are likely to be wearing it!
And please try not to gag at some of the combos your guests will come up with! )
RT Florida (#2, page 1)has it right - speed is of the essence. Also a very liberal dusting of rice flour helps as well. Lastly, how the toppings go on - lemme explain!
Over the past 4 firings, I have made a sacrifice to the fire gods of on pizza. It came to me as to why each of the past pizzas failed after working to avoid the failure.
What happens is that there is one person who takes way too much time to put the sauce on - it has to be an exact thickness across the skin, followed by making a masterpiece on the top. In last nights case, it was 2 young women sharing a pizza. The pizza also had a mounding effect from the pile o toppings as well. So, it did not slide off - except for the toppings. Then, when I got it on the stone, it stuck in the middle where the mound of toppings was the greatest, thus tearing. The fire gods were pleased with the sacrifice - and so was the dogs!
Interestingly, when they did the replacement, no rice flour was used on the peel. I was able to salvage the pizza with a hand full of rice flour and an additional pair of hands. This one also was mounded, so I kept the direct fire off the pizza to allow the bottom to catch up with the top and it worked great! Plus I knew where the cooler section of the floor was.
Hope this ramble helps!
DFW area, Texas, USA
If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
I dunk my dough ball in corn flour. It works well and also doesnt burn on the floor of the pizza like normal flour does. The dough also comes off the peel everytime.....no more upside down pizzas on the oven floor!!
I know that a lot of purists don't like the idea of using parchment paper under the pizza, but it may be something to try if the options mentioned above aren't working for you.
I've found that when we do a pizza party I can have several folks fixing up their own creations while I'm tending and working the oven. The nice thing for me is that I can easily slide my peel under any completed pizzas on the prep table as I work the oven. I don't have to wait for somebody to prep the pie on my peel or worry about the "sauce spill" on the peel from an overachiever. I've noticed that a lot of folks enjoy prepping their dough and working side by side...less intimidating when each person isn't "on the spot" to get their pizza done.
The outer rim of paper burns off quickly and the pizzas slide off the remaining circle of paper quite easily when the pies come out of the oven. Dough crisps up just fine with the paper underneath. I put all the used parchment pieces from underneath the baked pizzas into my kindling bucket for starting the next fire.
Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
It's all about speed. Lightly dust the peel. Push out the dough. Place on peel. Build pizza. Give the peel a quick backwards/forwards move to make sure the dough is floating on the peel. Transfer dough to hearth. If you allow the dough to sit on the peel too long, the pizza is more apt to stick. I would also suggest not putting a lot of ingredients on the pizza.
I've had the same issue with dough sticking to the peel. Since my guests make their own pizzas - with varying degrees of aptitude - we usually have at least one non-sliding pizza disaster on pizza night each week.
A month or two ago I read a suggestion to slide a piece of dental floss between the pizza and the peel before putting it in the oven.