My family loves homemade pizza. Whether it be from scratch or using a pre-made crust. We learned quickly that there are a few items that make the process more efficient and enjoyable. These are a good cutter, the largest pizza stone your oven will accept and a pizza peel.
For the latter we chose the Epicurean 23 x 14 Inch Pizza Peel. It is the Natural color (Eucalyptus/Pine mix). There are both cheaper and more expensive options out there, and peels that have a more aesthetic appearance, but here is why we made and stand by our choice.
• Very lightweight (only 2 lbs.) compared to many competitors • Ergonomic design makes it easy to handle • Attractive natural wood appearance when stored hanging on the wall of our kitchen • The smooth surface makes it easier to slide off raw dough than with many traditional wooden peels • It isn't metal so doesn't need the maintenance and more careful handling required of steel or aluminum models • The surface is knife-friendly so cutting the pizza directly on the peel is not a problem • Dishwasher safe (if you can fit it) and bacteria resistant • Durable - it has been in heavy use for over a year and still looks like-new
Some owners mention a chemical odor emanating from the pressed wood fiber and resin material of the Epicurean peel. When we first purchased ours, it did have a slight odor. We washed it several times and even put it in the oven at the lowest heat settings for a about 10 minutes. After that, the odor has been minimal to non-existent. It never effected the flavor of the pizza and is NSF certified to be safe in any event.
The Epicurean peel makes pizza prep easy. If you have a pre-made crust (we like Mama Mary's - they're a better deal than Boboli) you can prep the pie right on the peel. We like to make our own dough though, and add a bit of coarse corn meal on the bottom so there is little chance of it sticking - a great trick! Don't use oil on the peel or it will stick. Pre-heat the oven on 550˚ F before lowering the temperature to around 450˚ F and putting the pie in. Some people like to crisp the crust before adding toppings and the peel makes it easy to take in and out. Just angle it slightly over the top of the pizza stone and pull it out in short, jerky motions. The pizza should slide right onto it. To remove, just get the thin edge of the peel under the crust and work it under. Let it cool a few minutes, cut, serve and enjoy!