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Placing Peel

A placing peel is the peel you use to slide a pizza into your pizza oven. It can be made out of wood or anodized aluminum, and less often stainless steel, and it’s typically rectangular—though professional pizzaiolos can choose a round placing peel that gives them more control over placing pizzas closely together in a commercial oven.

The size of the head of a placing peel is dictated by the size of the pizza you want to make, with typical sizes range from 12-16″ wide and 14-18″ deep.

Anodized aluminum is the best choice of chefs who want to make their pizzas on a flat, cold work surface, such as stainless steel, marble, or another stone material, because it is slippery and the front edge can be easily beveled to easily slide under a freshly made pizza without sticking. Stainless steel is very sticky, making it an optional typically only for the very experiences commercial pizzaiolo who wants a durable, reliable oven tool.

Wood is a good choice for chefs who don’t want the risk of making their pizzas on a flat surface, and then sliding a peel underneath them. Or chefs who don’t have a large flat surface. In those cases, it’s easy to simply build a fresh pizza directly on the wood placing peels and slide it into the pizza oven.

This logic breaks down somewhat when you are working with a larger oven, where you need a long handle to place a pizza in the middle of the oven, without burning your had. There are long-handled wood placing peels for this purpose, but we aware that working on top of a long-handled wood peel and be clumsy, and the long handle tends to get in the way. If you have a mid-size or larger oven, it might be a good idea to practice making your pizzas on a flat surface and using an aluminum planing peel.

Aluminum placing peels can be perforated, which is a good idea, as the holes allow excess flour to fall from the bottom of the pizza before you place it in the oven, where it will be quickly burned.

Perforated wood peels are also available, which again is a good idea, though they tend to be more expensive.

Optimally, the handle of a placing peel should be a rectangular tube in anodized aluminum. Aluminum is lighter than steels, making the tool easier to work with, and the rectangular shape, as opposed to round, make the larger head easier to manage.