So you’ve got your new pizza oven and are soon to be an Italian pizzaiolo. Now you just need some new tools to get creating delicious hot pizzas at home.
A wood fired pizza oven needs a different pizza peel than one you would use in a regular oven. The oven is much larger, and hotter, so many of the peels recommended elsewhere are not so suitable for use with a pizza oven.
This article has some recommendations on the best pizza peels for wood fired ovens from an avid pizza lover. Check out the things to consider before purchasing your peel, then there are some best picks, best on a budget and where to buy them.
What Type Of Peel Do You Need?
You need to get a long handled peel so that you can reach the cooking area without burning your hand or arm. These are usually longer than standard peels for a home oven.
This is the fairly obvious difference between a home oven and a wood fired oven. It’s extremely hot, and has much more depth. Different pizza oven sizes vary – some can take multiple pizzas and some just the one. So be realistic in the size that you need.
Different types of peels are used for different actions. Keep in mind that you will have to load the pizza inside the oven, but then also turn the pizza while cooking and then retrieve the pizza.
- A wooden peel is much easier to slide the pizza off from as it doesn’t stick.
- A small, circular metal peel is easiest to use to turn the pizza.
- A metal peel is easiest to get underneath the pizza to get it out.
If you can afford both a wooden peel and a circular metal peel then you should. You will thank yourself for being able to get the pizza in the oven easily without it sticking, and also to turn the pizza easily once in the middle of the oven.
The wooden peel absorbs moisture when you put the dough on top. This stops the pizza sticking, and allows it to slide off very easily. You can put some cornmeal or semolina on the peel to help stop the sticking, but I always finds it gets stuck to the metal peels anyway. Best for beginners, where you aren’t so fast in prepping your pizzas quickly.
Wooden peels are great to load the pizza into the oven, but they are harder to use to take the pizza out. They are not very thin and so can’t get under the pizza again easily. You end up just nudging your pizza down your oven as you struggle to do so. A metal peel is much better for retrieval.
Wooden peels are usually not waterproof so will absorb water. This can lead to warping, or cracking because the material expands and weak points become apparent. So do not leave wood peels outside. They will get rained on, and the temperature changes will cause more damage than needed.
The metal peel makes the dough condense to it and stick. I’ve ruined a fair few good pizzas this way. But it is good at getting under the pizza to get it out. You can get a solid metal peel, which are usually the cheaper ones, or you can get a perforated peel. They come as full width, rectangular peels, or small and circular which are used to turn the pizza around while cooking.
Metal peels will last longer than wooden peels as the material can withstand moisture and heat better. They can be cleaned more easily, and don’t have the chance of growing mold.
A perforated peel has small holes in the surface to allow excess flour to fall away. This stops the flour burning in the oven and causing a bitter taste on the bottom. The less surface area stops sticking compared to a solid one. So if you are more experienced and faster at prepping pizza, you can move up to a perforated peel for sliding the pizza in.
The smaller, circular headed peels are used to spin the pizzas around once they are cooking. You will need to spin the pizza so that each side of the crust cooks evenly, and you don’t get burnt areas.
These smaller headed peels can be used to get the pizza out of the oven as the pizza has firmed up now it has cooked.
Another use these peels can be used for is cleaning. They are small enough to wrap a wet cloth around the head. This can be moved around the oven floor to clean the smaller amounts of ash after it has been swept out. This can be done after, or while the fire is still burning.
You need a peel long enough that can touch the end of your pizza oven, but still have a bit extra so that you’re not putting your hand in the oven. Get a measuring tape out and measure the inside oven, and add 4-5 inches to the length.
If you get a longer handled peel then you can easily use two hands on the handle to transfer the pizza to the oven. Good when making larger pizzas.
Paddle Length And Width
Keep in mind the size of the paddle which is ultimately the maximum size pizza you will be able to create. Some come in at 12 inches which is a little bit too small for me. A pizza for one person is typically 11-12 inches and a pizza to share is about 14 inches or more.
So even if you plan to only make small pizzas, I would still recommend getting a 14 inch peel, as otherwise you are right up to the edge. You can get problems where the end of the dough falls off, then you get sauce on your peel and you get into a sticky mess!
I would buy a wooden peel and a smaller metal peel. You can then load the pizza without any sticking problems. You don’t want to throw the pizza off and end up throwing all the toppings off, leaving the base stuck to the peel. You then have the metal peel for turning and retrieving, as the wooden peel can’t do this.
If you only have money for one peel then you will have to make a compromise and go for an all rounder. A long handled metal peel is the best all rounder, as you will be able to load the pizza, but also able to retrieve it. You will have to pull the pizza out fully and spin it with your hands to rotate it while cooking. That’s why I’ve put the metal peel as the peel for on a budget – the others can’t really be used as an all rounder. Perforated peels are best, but they are expensive – so I’ve included just a regular one.
Best Peel For Loading Pizza
Update International 14″ x 16″ Wooden Pizza Peel
Update International do a set of wooden pizza peels with long handles of various lengths. They are made from rubber tree wood, and are sheet laminated for extra strength in the oven. The paddle is tapered at the end so that the pizzas can slide off easily.
The handle has a hole at tip to allow you to hang it on the wall. This is useful for long handled peels as they aren’t the easiest to store. They make a great decoration when hung on the wall in your home, and the long handle looks extra impressive.
The Update International brand do a few options for sizes, so you can get the perfectly sized one for your oven and budget. This is based on length of the whole peel and then the size of the paddle’s width and length.
These are the most popular sizes (but there are more variations):
|Peel Length||Paddle Size||Where To Buy|
|22″||12″ X 14″||Check Amazon Price|
|36″ (Recommended)||14″ X 16″||Check Amazon Price|
|42″||12″ X 14″||Check Amazon Price|
|42″||14″ X 16″||Check Amazon Price|
|42″||18″ X 18″||Check Amazon Price|
|42″||20″ X 21″||Check Amazon Price|
You can also buy them in a set of 3, 6 or 12 if you need to buy multiple peels.
Best Peel For Turning Pizza
GI Metal 47″ Turning Pizza Peel
GI Metal do a whole range of great peels. This one has a smaller 8 inch aluminated head and a galvanized steel handle.
It has a 47 or 59 inch handle so will reach inside a large oven easily. The turning peels tend to come in larger lengths so you can reach all around the oven.
It has a sliding plastic handle so you can manoeuvre the pizzas easily once inside. The peel is strong enough to move and bank the wooden logs in the fire if you need to while it is burning. And a wet cloth can be wrapped around the head for cleaning the oven floor.
|Peel Length||Where To Buy|
|47 Inch (Recommended)||Check Amazon Price|
|59 Inch||Check Amazon Price|
Best On A Budget
If you only want to get one peel, then you need to make a compromise.
- A wooden peel is too thick to retrieve pizza.
- A small round headed peel is too small to load raw pizza (only 8″).
- A metal peel has a tendency to stick raw dough.
So while metal isn’t great for building a pizza on top of – it’s the only one which can do all 3 jobs of loading, spinning and retrieving.
American Metalcraft 37″ Aluminum Pizza Peel with 14″ x 16″ Blade
American Metalcraft make a large variety of peels for an outstanding budget price. They are simple yet well made. With an aluminum blade, a wooden handle and a three rivet join.
Easy to clean, and likely to last a long time. These peels come in a few size lengths, with a number of variation of paddle sizes.
Here are some popular sizes, and there are more paddle sizes available:
|Peel Length||Paddle Size||Where To Buy|
|28″||14″ X 16″||Check Amazon Price|
|37″ (Recommended)||14″ X 16″||Check Amazon Price|
|54″||14″ X 16″||Check Amazon Price|
|30″||16″ X 18″||Check Amazon Price|
|40″||16″ X 18″||Check Amazon Price|
|56″||16″ X 18″||Check Amazon Price|
Tips For Use and Maintenance
Once you’ve got your peel, here are some tips on using and maintaining it for a long life. If you want some more help using it correctly then check out my post How To Use A Pizza Peel Properly: No More Sticking.
How To Use
- Use a mixture of flour and semolina or cornmeal to stop sticking.
- Stretch the dough on the worktop then transfer to the peel and top it quickly.
- Don’t add too many toppings!
Looking After The Peel
- You can rub food safe mineral oil into a wooden peel to make it last longer by preventing warping and cracks (or just don’t get it wet).
- Do not cut on the peel – it will stop your dough sliding easily.
- Do not soak a wooden peel – it will warp and crack.
- Do not leave outside – again this will damage a wooden or metal peel.
- To clean – scrub with a brush and wipe with damp cloth (but don’t get a wooden peel too wet).
Other Tools For Your Pizza Oven
- An ash rake for removing debris
- Long handled oven brush for cleaning
- Infrared Thermometer for oven readiness
- Wood moisture meter for checking logs
- Tuscan grill for cooking steak in the pizza oven
Hopefully now you know a bit more about the different pizza peels and can make a better decision when buying a peel for your pizza oven. Just remember to get a long enough handle, the right material for the job, and a paddle size which can fit your pizza width.
We’ve gone over the best peels for pizza ovens. Also highlighting some of the best budget peels, which still offer quality at the best prices.
Happy shopping. Check out some of my other articles on pizza ovens for more inspiration – Pizza Oven Articles.