Sticking pizza on peel


My pizza sticks to the peel when I try to transfer it to the stone. I noticed someone uses parchment paper. Does the pizza still have a crusty brown bottom if you use the parchment? Any other solutions?

badge posted by: kristerees on May 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm in Q & A
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reply by: Mike Nolan on May 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm
Mike Nolan

I use plenty of corn meal, making sure the pizza slides easily before adding sauce and toppings.

If you use parchment, you can remove it after a few minutes. (That's preferable in a really hot oven anyway, because the parchment tends to brown.)

reply by: rricord on May 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I confess, I use parchment. It works very well. I bake my pizzas on a stone in a blasting 500 degree plus gas oven. The parchment paper does brown, but so does the crust. I think it works just fine.
As Mike stated, cornmeal also works, and is the traditional method, but I don't like the mess.

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm
Mike Nolan

It's not just that the parchment browns, it's that it gets brittle and sometimes breaks, and parchment flakes aren't a great pizza topping.

reply by: HMB on May 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I like to use coarse-ground cornmeal because I love the crunch. However, you do end up having to smell the burning cornmeal that falls to the oven floor. But my husband doesn't like the coarse-ground cornmeal since he cracked a tooth once eating pizza. :-(
Parchment works well, and you don't have to leave it between the stone and the pizza -- pull it out with the peel.

reply by: sandra Alicante on May 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm
sandra Alicante

I'm with Mike on this one, I use cornmeal under pizzas to stop them sticking to anything. It is not particularly coarse meal but it works.

reply by: Gnancy on May 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

A quick spray of WD40 should help, no wait, that's a different forum.

Of course this made me curious so I had to do a little reading. Someone mentioned "the 'roadkill' description of pizza that wouldn't slide off the peel onto the baking stone", which I though was pretty funny. (this took me to an, ahem, interesting item about real(?) roadkill pizza; press release--

But, here are a few ideas for getting the pizza off of the peel: (can't vouch for any of them)

*Rice flour (rather using cornmeal) --this sounds like a good idea to me.

*Don't shape dough on peel; work quickly once dough is on peel.

*Using parchment--Trim so it's about pizza size so there won't be uncovered area to scorch.

*Use one of those thin, flexible cutting sheets to facilitate the transfer. I think they're pretty cheap; the person who mentioned it said the dollar store or Ikea have them, I have some from Walmart.

* "use both hands and gently lift up the edge of the pizza a couple inches, then gently blow underneath it until you see ripples vibrating through the pizza. Then carefully shake the peel to verify it's free of sticking, and slide it off onto the stone." --don't know if I'd do this if I was going to serve it to others, but maybe you could lift the edge and loosen it with a large spatula?

*Then, I read a hint to run a large knife under the pizza to loosen it. Or, dental floss.

*Also, I lost the details on this one, but read where someone had prepared the dough, brushed it with olive oil and Immediately put it in a hot oven for 1-2 minutes to start baking it, removed and finished the prep. They said that was enough to keep it from sticking and didn't affect the crust.

I think that's enough for now. That is all.

reply by: pjh on May 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

Parchment is my best friend! Even if you don't have a peel, just shape your pizza on parchment, let it rise, then trim the parchment to within a couple of inches of the edge of the pizza (not necessary, but it's a little cleaner transfer). Lay parchment/pizza on a peel (or the backside of a baking sheet), and sliiiiide it into the oven and onto the stone. I leave the parchment in place; doesn't seem to negatively affect the crust. But as others have said, you can slide it out after a couple of minutes of baking.

reply by: cwcdesign on May 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm


Thanks for the belly laugh today. I really needed it :-)

reply by: rricord on May 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

After reviewing all of the suggestions/comments I think it comes down to this: parchment vs cornmeal. Each of these has their pros and cons, so you shoulkd use whichever method makes your pizza making experience the most enjoyable. After all, that's what it is really all about isn't it?

reply by: RonB on May 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm
reply by: Gnancy on May 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I had to stop myself--I didn't want to be a know-it-all (or nothing at all). Have you ever used one? Seems kinda expensive, unless you make alotta pizzas.

reply by: Gnancy on May 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Anytime. (I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks I'm funny.)

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 27, 2011 at 12:38 am
Mike Nolan

I've looked at the super peel more than once, I just haven't been motivated enough to buy it.

An alternative to using corn meal as a lubricant is to use semolina, though personally I think it scorches more than corn meal. (This has to be true semolina, all of it tiny pebbles, often what you get is a mixture of semolina and durum flour.)

I use normal yellow corn meal, not the coarse ground kind.

When I do pizza on the gas grill, I often pre-bake it for about a minute, then remove it, flip it over, put the toppings on what used to be the bottom and throw it back on the grill. I think I get a more uniformly baked crust that way.

reply by: cwcdesign on May 27, 2011 at 6:27 am

It's one of the reasons I look forward to your postings. I'm one of those people who can't come up with a quip until it's too late, so I really appreciate people who can. You also find lots of wonderful, quirky ideas and places. But, my son had found PW a couple of years ago and I enjoy her blog -- we love her onion strings (talked about those on another thread).

reply by: cwcdesign on May 27, 2011 at 6:31 am

Taunton Press has a book "Pizza on the Grill" and they recommend the polenta grind. It may make it less sticky, but my family found it was too crunchy, so I switched to regular cornmeal. And based on their recommendations, I put the dough(which has been oiled) directly on the rack, cook one side, take it out, flip and then put on the filling, then you can use a peel or half sheet to move it in and out.

reply by: RonB on May 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

I was gifted with a SP when I got the baking bug. It really does work, but I have found that if the dough, (and that's any kind of dough), stays on the peel too long, it dampens the cloth and then the cloth sticks to the wooden peel. So I now do everything I'm going to do to the dough, (such as adding all the toppings to a pizza), before sliding the peel under the dough, and then transferring to the oven without delay.
I would suggest a little practice before working with a heavily laden pizza ~ Ron

reply by: Gnancy on May 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

I like the rice flour idea. Or, the one about using one of those thin, flexible cutting "board" sheets/mats sounds good. Or the Magic Dough Pastry Mat to peel, uh, slide the pizza off the peel.

reply by: Gnancy on May 27, 2011 at 9:40 am