how do you keep the dough from sticking to the oven floor?
Hi Charles and welcome to the BrickWood forum.
Dough will stick to the peel that you use to make up your uncooked pie and load it into the oven. (Flour on the peel is good, and semolina flour is much better.)
As long as your oven floor is hot (above 600F at a bare minimum, and 700-750—and up—is what you want for baking pizza) you won’t have a problem with dough sticking to the oven floor. As soon as the dough starts to form a crust it will come up easily, slide, rotate, and pretty much do anything you ask it to do.
A well accepted technique is to insert the loaded peel with its front edge at the point where you want the far edge of the dough to land, tilt up, and use a second peel to help slide it onto the floor while you withdraw the first peel. With practice you won’t need the second peel, but the important thing is to do what works for you.
Let it sit on the floor for 45 seconds to a minute, then slide your banjo peel under the edge and try to move it. You will feel when it starts to move freely.
Hope this helps!
Hmm, I usually cook when the floor is under 600 otherwise it burns the bottom, maybe I’m using the wrong substrate under the dough? We’ve used flour, cornmeal, and semolina and they all seem to burn when the floor is too hot. I would love a bitter floor though, how can we get the pizza off the wood boards without using a burnable product under it?
Hi Ryan and welcome back!
Flour will burn and cornmeal will scorch. That being said, I’ve had good experience with both cornmeal and semolina. They are both meant for the peel, not while the pizza is baking. (Some will inevitably come along for the ride when your raw pie slides off the peel.)
Are you using a second peel to get your slide started? I know that highly experienced pizzaoli just flip that sucker into the oven, but I prefer the certainty of another tool.
Try this: use cornmeal or semolina on your building peel. When you’re ready to start baking the pie, use the second peel to flip up around the edges of the dough to break the suction holding it to the building peel, but do not scrape the dough from the peel. Just keep working the edges until the dough’s leading edge catches the floor of the oven, then wiggle back and forth while pulling back.
That technique minimizes the cornmeal/semolina going along with the dough into the oven. In my experience it takes about 45 seconds or so for the dough to start forming a crust on the bottom, and once that happens, you can rotate it with ease.