It’s typical to hear people call something that slips under food with the intention to turn or flip a spatula. To differentiate a culinary tool that does that from what “flip and turn” a pizza, we call the pizza spatula, a pizza peel. No need to worry about the naming as any correctly define its intended role.
History of pizza spatula
Although commonly credited to the Italians, pizza dates back in 1522, a time when even tomatoes were suspected to be poisonous by the New Worlds. Similarly, that is how far a pizza spatula goes back with its use remaining the same. Unlike the modern times, there was only one type of a pizza spatula, a wooden pizza spatula. The kitchen utensil was used to place flatbreads and hearth bread, what would later evolve to pizza, into old wood-burning ovens. It might sound challenging to the pizzaiolo, but nevertheless, the wooden pizza peel gracefully served its purpose.
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Pizza spatula design
As time progressed, there was the introduction of new pizza peel both in terms of material of make and shape of the blade.
Regarding the shape of the pizza spatula, the majority of the blade now resemble a ¾ of a circle contrary to the circular one seen from traditional spatulas. Others are made with sharp corners, to make the sliding under the peel easier. The square-headed pizza spatula is however recommended to those working on a grill or a single small oven.
Another feature that has evolved in the history of pizza spatula is the length and width of the spatula. This feature is where a buyer should take great keen as it’s possible to order a spatula that won’t fit in the door of your oven. A12” pizza paddle, for example, works well with a BGE14” stone. It can also be sued to retrieve pizza up to 16”.
Pizza spatula by their material of make
Under material category, we have three distinct type of pizza spatula: wooden peels, metal peels, and composite peels.
Wooden pizza spatula
A pizza peel made from wood has a share of merit and demerit. If you are planning on purchasing one, the pizza peel will serve you better in terms of easy sliding of the raw pizza dough which is critical to avoid disturbing the toppings, and you can use it to serve the pizza directly without damaging the knife or pizza wheel. Another undeniable fact is that amongst the pizza spatulas, those made from wood are pocket-friendly.
However, using a wooden pizza paddle has its downsizing. The pizza peel demands attention in maintenance, e.g., avoid placing it on dishwater and later allowing it to completely dry after washing. Wooden peels are also likely to develop burn marks diminishing their longevity. Also, pizza spatula made from wood are thick calling for more space of storage.
Besides their ability to catch fire easier than wood. The composite peel should not be considered as an alternative to wooden pizza paddle. They may be better in how they look. But a spatula should be more than just looks. So the fact that the majority come with short handles exposing one’s arm to the furnace.
Metal pizza peel
Metal pizza peels are by far the best pizza spatula for turning and retrieving a cooking pizza. You will find two types of pizza spatula under metal category: aluminum peel and stainless steel. Despite having to dig deeper to get a spatula made of metal, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Metal pizza peel maintenance is low, they are attractive, and they are thin and are long-lasting. The material is however extra precaution when placing raw pizza dough as it will most certainly stick.
Despite having to dig deeper to get a spatula made of metal, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Metal pizza paddle maintenance is low, they are attractive, and they are thin and are long-lasting. The material is however extra precaution when placing raw pizza dough as it will most certainly stick.
So a wood, metal or composite pizza peel? Do not let it become daunting. In the end, you need a large, flat tool to move the dough while keeping your hands a safe distance from the oven or grill.
If this article on pizza spatula helped you, then you should check out our other articles on our page about the pizza tools you will need.