So you have just purchased a new pizza stone and are ready to make delicious homemade pizza. But there is one problem, you don’t have a pizza peel. Don’t fret. This article will help you learn how to use a pizza stone without a pizza peel.
If you are accustomed to making homemade pizzas, chances are you are familiar with a pizza stone and pizza peel and how the two work together. As a pizza enthusiast, getting that chewy, perfectly baked crust is the goal. A properly heated baking stone will get you these results, but you are going to find a way to get the pizza on and off the heated stone.
How Can You Use a Pizza Stone without a Pizza Peel?
To every pizza lover, the ultimate goal is to make the perfect pizza with a tasty, crispy yet soft pizza crust. Interestingly, this is possible even without a pizza peel. Depending on the size of the pizza, getting it on and off the stone without a peel can be challenging, but it is by no means impossible.
In case you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use almost anything as a substitute for a pizza peel. But it is important to find a flat object with a similar shape to that of a pizza peel. There are various effective alternatives to pizza peel you can work with. Let’s explore a few alternatives that work well with pizza stones.
Pizza Peel Alternatives
a) Rimless Cookie Sheet
A rimless cookie sheet is a common household item and perhaps the best substitute for a pizza peel. Rimless cookie sheets are like any other but have the added benefit of being completely flat with one raised side, which aids lifting. In addition, its large flat surface makes it easy to slide off your pizzas onto a pizza stone.
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Additionally, the raised side gives you something sturdy to hold when transferring pizza onto and out of the pizza stone. Rimless cookies are available in several sizes and styles. So you can pick the option for your convenience.
b) Upside Down Rimmed Baking Sheet
Rimmed baking sheets have raised edges to ensure that oil doesn’t spill into the oven when cooking. Unfortunately, this makes it almost impossible to use it as a pizza peel substitute. The best way to use a rimmed baking sheet as a pizza peel is to turn it upside down so that the rimless side faces up, allowing you to slide the pizza onto the stone easily.
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To use this technique smoothly, you need to be more patient. First, place the pizza on the flipped-rimmed baking sheet and place the end of the sheet by the hot pizza stone. Then, slightly tilt the baking sheet and slowly pull it towards you to help the pizza land on the stone.
If you control the motion, be sure that no ingredients will fall off your pizza. If the flipped cooking sheet is higher than the pizza stone, despite the efforts, the pizza could still be at risk of its crust breaking. In this case, try to use the thinnest sheet you can find.
c) Parchment Paper
The parchment paper is a great substitute for pizza peel. This method is easy, cheap, and works just as well. After stretching your pizza dough, place the parchment paper on your working surface and slightly floor it to prevent your dough from sticking. Put the stretched dough on the parchment paper and shape it using a rolling pin.
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Once your dough is perfectly shaped, add some sauce and all other toppings of your choice. Next, place the parchment paper with the pizza onto the baking stone and bake the pizza while on the parchment paper.
The high temperatures don’t affect the paper because it is meant for baking. However, the parchment paper may become brittle when the oven heats up. To avoid your pizza falling from the brittle paper, use a pair of flat tongs to remove the cooked pizza.
It is important to differentiate between wax paper and parchment paper. They look similar, but the waxed paper isn’t meant for baking. It can’t withstand the high temperatures required to cook pizza on a pizza stone. Therefore it can melt once placed on a heated stone inside the oven.
It might sound strange, but cardboard is an ideal replacement for a pizza peel. It is thin hence making the transfer easy. If you have a large piece of stiff cardboard, you can cut it into the shape and size of your pizza and use it to slide off the pizza into the pizza stone.
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Things like delivery packaging and old pizza boxes work well. However, to improve your chances, ensure you use stiff cardboard that will withstand the weight and temperature of the pizza. Also, try not to let the pizza sauce and other toppings touch the cardboard. They can wet the cardboard, causing the dough to stick.
e) Cutting Board
Depending on the size of your cutting board, it can be a great pizza peel alternative if you don’t have a pizza peel at hand. Moreover, not all cutting boards are big and bulky; the thinner variants are becoming increasingly popular.
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So, if you have one, especially one with handles, it can effectively substitute for a pizza peel. In this scenario, it not only works like a pizza peel but also looks like one. Since most cutting boards are rectangular, you must adjust your pizza shape to fit. So all you need to do is stretch the pizza dough lengthwise to make it fit the board’s shape better.
Also note that cutting boards generally come in two types, wooden and plastic. But plastic cutting boards are not safe because they can melt if they come into contact with a heated pizza stone.
f) Serving Platter
A serving platter can work in place of a pizza peel, provided you have one with the right size and thickness. Much like a cutting board, a thin wooden serving platter can be easily slid between a pizza and a pizza stone.
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Some serving platters are round, making them compatible with the traditional pizza shape. The serving platters without rims work well to easily slide the pizza onto a pizza stone, especially if they have handles.
How to Prevent Pizza Dough from Sticking on the Pizza Peel Substitutes’ Surface
Ingenuity is required to avoid the pizza dough sticking to the surface when using the baking sheet, cookie sheet, cardboard, cutting board, or serving platter. A blend of fine semolina and all-purpose flour is the best thing to use.
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Here are tips to stop pizza dough from sticking to the ‘peel’s’ surface.
- Sprinkle the entire surface with the blended flour, but do not spread too much flour.
- Stretch or roll the pizza dough on the worktop, then transfer it to the pizza peel substitute.
- Add your toppings fast because the dough will absorb the flour and stick to the surface.
- While adding toppings, now and then, shake the ‘pizza peel’ to ensure the dough is not sticking.
- If the dough begins to stick, raise the edges, add some flour, then shake to free it.
How to Use a Pizza Stone
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1. Preheat Your Stone
To preheat your pizza stone, place it in the oven at(450-500 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, leave it for about an hour to allow it to absorb as much heat as possible.
2. Assemble Your Pizza
Sprinkle a bit of the baking flour or semolina flour to enable the pizza to slide right off your pizza peel without sticking. Then, assemble your pizza on top of the pizza peel or an alternative like a rimless cookie sheet or a flipped, rimmed baking sheet.
3. Place Your Pizza on the Pizza Stone
After your pizza baking stone has preheated for an hour, carefully slide your pizza onto the hot stone using a pizza peel, paddle, or alternative method to transfer the pizza to the hot oven.
4. Cook Your Pizza
Baking times vary depending on your pizza’s size and thickness, but pizzas usually take between six to ten minutes to cook on a pizza stone.
5. Take out Your Pizza
Once the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, turn off the oven, then use your pizza peel or other kitchen tools to remove the pizza from the stone.
6. Brush Your Stone
After removing your pizza and the stone cools, brush it with a stone-safe scouring pad.
Frequently Asked Questions on Using a Pizza Stone without a Pizza Peel
1. Is a pizza peel necessary?
You can prepare homemade pizza without a pizza peel. But for an authentic pizza-making experience, a pizza peel is the easiest and simplest way to transfer the pizza on and out of a heated baking stone. Also, when using a wood-fired oven, you need a pizza peel.
2. What can I work with in place of pizza peels?
There are several great alternatives to the pizza peel, from parchment paper to rimless cookie sheets, flipped-rimmed baking sheets, serving platters, cutting boards, and cardboard. Ensure the tool is flat and thin to enable the effortless transfer of pizza to a baking stone
3. Can I use a pizza stone without a pizza peel?
If you don’t have a pizza peel, there are other alternatives you can use to transfer the pizza onto and out of a pizza stone. Most importantly, ensure you use an object with a flatsurface that can easily slide off the pizza onto the baking stone. A good example is a rimless cookie sheet.
4. Do pizza peel substitutes work?
Any pizza peel substitute will work to some extent. However, a pizza peel is the best solution, especially when you frequently bake pizza at home.
As you can see, it is possible to use a baking stone without a pizza peel. Whether you are a home-cook pizza chef hobbyist or a pizza lover, a pizza peel is a great tool, but you don’t need it to use a baking stone still. The most important thing is to find an object with a flat surface and a handle.
Luckily there are several reliable alternatives to choose from. Also, remember that the goal is to get the pizza on and off the hot baking stone without destroying it. So be careful to avoid the dough sticking to the surface or the pizza falling off the ‘peel.’ Finally, note that unless it’s frozen dough, do not put pizza dough on a cold pizza stone.
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