How a Pizza Paddle Complements Your Stone

Most mainstream restaurant owners and professional pizza makers know for a fact that cutting-edge equipment is necessary to bring the art of pizza making to the next level. The good news is that today you can also bake phenomenal pizzas in the comfort of your home using the same tools the pros use.

 

You probably already know about the importance of using the right type of baking stone in order to attain that crisp, well-charred crust, but you may be missing out if you haven’t invested yet in a good pizza paddle.

How the Right Paddle Adds Pizzazz to your Kitchen

Also known as a pizza peel, a paddle is a “shovel-like” tool that aids professional pizza makers in cooking their pizzas to perfection in their piping hot ovens. The paddle simply functions as a means of transportation to slide pizza, bread, pastries and other baked delicacies in and out of the oven. If you’re using a pizza stone, your paddle will be used to deposit your pizza from your counter-top to the heated baking stone, and then, once cooked, from the stone to the tray without disturbing those precious toppings. The paddle can also be used to rotate your piping hot pizza so it cooks evenly without getting burnt.

Matching Yourself With the Right Paddle

As with choosing good pizza stones, picking a good pizza paddle requires some research so you can make an informed decision. There are several types of paddles on the market nowadays so you will need to narrow down your choices by looking for some characteristics based on your personal needs.

Choosing the Right Shape

The shape of your pizza paddle can really make a difference. For instance, if you have a large, wood-burning oven, consider that a round peel compared to a square-shaped one makes it easier to rotate your pizzas from any angle so they can cook evenly. On the other hand, if you own a smaller oven and all you need to do is get the pizza in and out, a square peel can easily help you retrieve your pizza head-on.

Choosing the Right Material

When it comes to material, the most common pizza peels are made out of wood. While aesthetically pleasing to look at and effective in preventing raw dough from sticking, one disadvantage of a wood peel is its thickness which makes pizza retrieval a bit difficult. Metal paddles, on the other hand, are easier to clean and also thinner, a quality that makes them easier to slide under the pizza; however, their main drawback is that raw pizza dough is more likely to attach to metal than wood. This can be easily remedied by dusting the surface of the paddle with some semolina flour, milled wheat bran or cornmeal before use or by simply lining it with some parchment paper. Recently, more and more paddles are made out of perforated metal which prevents excess flour from making it to the stone. This ultimately yields a marked improvement in the overall quality of the pizza’s crust.

Choosing the Right Handle

Look for a paddle with a long handle if you have a deep oven that can accommodate multiple pizzas. This way, you can deliberately move around the pizzas as needed. While many modern pizza peels are made of metal as we have seen, the handle should always be made of wood as wood offers the advantage of not becoming excessively hot enough to burn your hands. When purchasing a paddle, always consider the depth of your oven so you choose the length of the handle accordingly.

Choosing the Right Size

The size of the paddle can also make a difference. Choose a larger paddle if you are planning to bake very large pizzas. Consider that the paddle should always be slightly larger than the diameter of the pizza you’re planning to bake. Also, look for a paddle that is sturdy but also lightweight so you can effortlessly move it as needed.

The Bottom Line

Appropriate pizza stones and pizza peels can really make a difference when it comes to the art of pizza making. Best of all, when your family gathers to enjoy your work of art, you can also use the paddle as a surface to cut your pizza in slices using a knife or a pizza wheel. Easy as pie!