How to Pick the Right Pizza Peel
It can somehow end up as an afterthought, but the pizza peel is an essential part of the pizza-making process. Without one, your dough would never make it into the oven — and even if you did figure out an alternative method to launch your pizza, there’s virtually no other way to get it back out once it’s scorching hot. You wouldn’t be able to turn your pizza mid-bake to ensure all of the edges are uniformly puffed and leopard-spotted. And while it is technically only needed to get your pizza into and out of the oven, it’s also a great platform for stretching and topping your dough. But you may not know where to start when it comes to choosing the right peel for you.
First things first: Size matters! The size of the peel you use to launch should correspond to the size of the oven you have, and then to the size of pizza you want to make. For example, a 12-inch peel works with a 12-inch oven, and 12-inch, 14-inch or 16-inch peels all work with a 16-inch oven.
Secondly, all peels are not created equal. Each Ooni peel is built with a specific purpose. The form of the peel follows its function, which is why the Ooni Pizza Turning Peel is small, nimble, and circular, while the Ooni Bamboo Peel is hefty, moisture resistant, and aesthetically at home on a dining table.
Here’s a quick primer on each of our peels: What they’re meant to do, and how they can help you throughout your pizza-making process.
The Pizza Peel (12”, 14”, 16”)If you’re a beginner or just someone who wants an all-purpose peel for stretching, topping, turning, and retrieving, our classic pizza peel made of lightweight aluminum is the one for you. It is excellent as a tool for preparing and topping pizzas, and works moderately well (but not as expertly as a turning peel) for rotating your pizzas mid-bake.
The Perforated Peel (12”, 14”)Our perforated peels are designed for durability, smooth launches and crisp pizza bases. An anodized finish makes the aluminum peel non-stick and more resistant to wear and tear and the perforations help to reduce excess flour on your pizzas.
After stretching, your dough will most likely have a bit of extra flour or semolina on the bottom, which is fine, but not ideal. When you launch your pizza from a perforated peel, that flour and semolina fall away through its holes. This means less burnt residue on your stone, which reduces the risk of bitterness in your finished pizza. When rotating or retrieving your pie, the perforations also allow steam to evaporate quickly, keeping the crust nice and crisp.
The Bamboo Peel (12”, 14”, 16”)Beautiful and functional, the bamboo peel is great for the pizzaiolo who loves to entertain. To help prevent dough from sticking during launch, we used bamboo designed to be moisture resistant. This workhorse peel is great for stretching and launching (though we’d recommend metal for retrieval), it also makes for a great serving board and is a favorite at Ooni HQ pizza lunches.
The Turning Peel The unsung hero of the pizza peel world. This small, round, perforated peel allows you to easily rotate your pizza without removing it from the oven. That means you can be more nimble with your rotations, and your pizza spends less time outside and away from your oven’s heat. Recommended for pizza makers of any skill level, this peel is a great addition once you have a bamboo, perforated, or aluminum peel for actual launching.
For both beginners and advanced pizza-makers using an Ooni oven for the first time, we recommend two peels: a perforated one for launching and retrieving, and a turning peel. Since we do have a wide variety of pizza peels to suit the needs and tastes of a vast range of pizza-makers, we suggest mixing and matching to find your go-to lineup.