Many are terrified of the dreaded failed pizza launch. We feel your pain. It is the hardest and most stressful part of the entire pizza making process. Once mastered, your days of disastrous pizza launches will be over for good. Let us be your guide to launching successfully.
First things first, you need a pizza peel. I prefer wood. Wood peels tend to whisk away the moisture more than metal pizza peel, allowing you to transfer in the the oven a little easier. Next you need to lubricate the peel. I like to use both semolina and standard bread flour. A lot of folks use corn meal. I dont' like corn meal because it tends to burn very easily on a hot Baking Steel. So toss the corn meal aside for your pizza making, i explain my dislike for cornmeal in this post. Lightly dust your pizza peel with both flours before you place your dough on top. Carefully stretch out your dough, then place it on your peel. Before you place anything on top of your dough, give it a little "jimmy". You need to be confident that dough is going slide on top. And most importantly, continue to "jimmy" your dough as you distribute your toppings. Sauce it, give it a jimmy, cheese, give it a jimmy you get the picture?
Be mindful as you load on your pizza ingredients. After you sauce your pizza, give it a shake. Add your cheese, give it a shake. You get the picture? You need that dough to be loose throughout your pizza making process. The video below is a great example of how to lubricate and top your pizza successfully..
Follow these steps for a successful pizza launch into your home oven.
1. Cover your peel with flour and Semolina, a light dusting.
2. Once you peel is covered with the flour, lightly knock the side of the peel onto the table or, for less mess, into the sink. As you can see in the vine, a good amount of flour falls off but the base of the peel is still coated.
3. Place your pizza dough on the peel. Once it is on, holding the handle of your peel, give it a few shakes. Make sure that the dough moves around. This helps prevent the dough from sticking to your peel.
4. Add your pizza toppings. You don't want to wait too long between adding your toppings and launching your pizza. The longer your leave the dough on the peel, the higher the chance it will stick.
5. Shake the peel again, make sure the dough is still moving. This is super important because if you got a little heavy-handed with your toppings, your pizza is considerably heavier than it was before you loaded all of that on.
6. Open the oven door & touch the peel down at the back of the Baking Steel. Again, this step is obvious, but we did want to mention the Baking Steel, so that seemed like the obvious time ;)
7. Give your peel a slight jimmy (be gentle). Shuffle the peel out slowly as the pie settles onto your Baking Steel.
This accomplishment definitely justifies a few extra celebration slices ;) If you have any questions, please comment below.
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1. Can i use parchment paper on my Baking Steel? Yes, parchment paper is a clean way to launch. However, do not use your broiler with parchment paper. The paper will catch on fire. We know from experience..
2. Can i use rice flour as my lubricant? Yes, rice flour will work on your pizza peel. We prefer semolina flour and bread flour for those ingredients are more readily available to most pizza makers at home.
3. Can i use my metal peel to launch? Yes, but with metal peels the dough tends to stick. Metal peels are generally used in professional kitchens with very experienced pizzaiola.
4. What is your favorite brand of semolina flour? I love Bob's Red Mill
5. What kind of flour do i use? I use the same flour that i used in my pizza dough recipe.