A pizza peel or pizza paddle is a shovel-like tool used by bakers to slide loaves of bread, pizzas, pastries, and other baked goods into and out of an oven. It is usually made of wood, with a flat carrying surface (like the blade of a shovel) for holding the baked goods and a handle extending from one side of that surface. Alternatively, the carrying surface may be made of sheet metal which is attached to a wooden handle.
A peel's intended functions are to:
- Carefully transfer delicate breads, pastries, et cetera, into an oven where transferring them directly by hand could deform/damage their delicate structure.
- Allow food to be placed further towards the back of an oven than could normally be reached by the baker.
- Keep the baker's hands out of the hottest part of an oven, or to prevent the baker from burning his/her hands on the hot baked goods.
There are peels of many sizes, with the length of the handle suited to the depth of the oven, and the size of the carrying surface suited to the size of the food it is meant to carry (for instance, slightly larger than the diameter of a pizza).
Non-stick oven tray as a pizza peel
We make an awful lot of homemade pizzas and I think I've found a better alternative to a pizza peel. Unless you have a wood-burning pizza oven, you probably don't need a handle as it just makes it awkward to store.
Teflon coated oven trays work really well. They are cheap, non-stick, easy to clean, easy to store and the biggest benefit is that with 2 trays you can be making one pizza whilst you prepare another.
The Morrisons oven trays pictured even have a lip on one side that makes it easy to grip, flat on the other edges to make it easy to slide under a pizza.