Mineral oils are not all alike, nor are all the best for use on a pizza peel. We see all over on the web where people suggest using “drug store variety” USP Mineral Oil
for protecting a wooden peel. Most often this recommendation is based merely on cost considerations, as the drug store oil is definitely less expensive, and is followed by the statement that: “this is exactly the same as more expensive Cutting Board or Peel Oils. However, this is not exactly true!
While all mineral oils are similarly derived from petroleum, the drug store variety and [generally] those which are sold specifically for cutting board oils can be of very different viscosities. For a butcher block or cutting board, just about any oil will be fine. For this use a heavier (higher viscosity) oil may actually be a better choice, as it will remain within the wood better when the board is washed. However, for a peel you really do not want a heavy/high viscosity oil, e.g. drug store variety. A lighter weight/lower viscosity cutting board oil, specifically sold for this purpose, will generally be a better choice. These penetrate more readily into the wood and leave less oil on the surface of your peel. You may need to reapply more often if you wash your peel between uses, but when you are flouring your peel you will be happier with a less oily surface residue.
At EXO/Super Peel, we use a specially blended very low viscosity oil. This assures that the oil will penetrate deeply and the peel surface will not remain oily and a “flour trap”. You can purchase the exact oil that we use – on Amazon at a very good price for a 12 oz. bottle. There are many other good products to choose from, but you will be happier with the right stuff.
Always remember NEVER to use vegetable oils to condition your peel. These can ALL (yes, even olive oil) turn rancid over time. Walnut oil is another option that can be safely used, as are food grade waxes. These will also not turn rancid.
You can also leave your wooden peel untreated, however sealing it will reduce water and moisture movement into and out of the wood. Your peel will generally last longer, stay flatter and can definitely look better with a proper sealant applied. Case in point our Cherry Peels
Finally shipping to Amazon this Thursday. So, please watch for them by early next week.
More to come about Properly Caring for your Peel! There is a lot of junky “journalism” and misinformation out there. So, I will do my best to help debunk it.
Sorry, forgot to add the video link for this post the other day.
Here is a short video for a basic Margherita Pizza. At there is a tip for how to finish off the pie for extra crispness! If you have ever noticed how nice a reheated pizzeria slice can be, this tip will tell you, and will improve your home pizza baking tremendously. So, watch/go to the end of this video for the scoop!
This is an old video, and now I generally use a broiler preheat and bake method to shorten bake time and also produce more char on the top of the pizza. However, as you will see you can get fantastic results with just the baking stone(s) you have! Check out the bottom of the crust in this video – very nicely browned in just 5 minutes!!! You don’t need to spend more bucks on a Baking Steel to achieve these results. A lot of the pictures you see of pies baked on steel, with the nice char on top, this is not a result of the steel. Rather, it is the result of baking or finishing under the broiler. You can do this with just the pizza stone you already, have and get the very same results.
For best results in pizza baking, there is no one method or precise baking time. It is about learning to balance the heat above and below your pizza. High heat is better in our opinion, but each have their preferences as to what a pie should be. Just work on adjustments to balance the heat, and you will be improving your pizza making. And, remember……..Practicing pizza making can be a delicious experience!!! While you are making and eating all these pizzas, get yourself the one tool that will make it so much easier – a Super Peel!
I wrote to tell you about these a few weeks back, at which time I said they would be here this week. Sorry, there has been a very slight delay. Sort of the old “measure twice – cut once” thing. A very minor adjustment to the processing was necessary to be sure we would maintain quality on these once they started running. Love the attention to detail these folks at Essex Industries give to everything they do!! These peels will be without equal!!!
We now are expecting the first shipment to leave the manufacturer early next week. That would put them at Amazon for sale the first week of November.
Please check them out!! A nice gift for the Holidays for that Pizza Maker in your life.
Any questions, and you can always contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another “Tiny” Quick Peak!!!! We also expect to have our new 16″ Aluminum Super Peel with Cherry Handle available in time for Cyber Monday!! Of course, don’t hold me to the date precisely (see above!!) This is our current time commitment. These might even be available package with a 16″ round maple cutting/serving board we are having made with our manufacturing friends at Halfmoon Works.
That is one cool oven!! And, WOW! 9 rolls all at once. Good work Eric!! See “full/short” video here (click on the Product Reviews).
I am currently selling these at cost. Reviews from those who have them have been fabulous. But, the cost of manufacture was just too high. So, I have redesigned them to require far less labor, while still keep them locally made. These are made for us at Halfmoon Works, right in the next town over from my home town of Clifton Park, NY, just south of Saratoga Springs. This is a pretty cool place that trains young adults with development disabilities in the art of quality woodworking. Going local to the max. These guys are currently working on a 16″ round maple pizza cutting/serving board, and a 16″ Super Peel!!! That last item is long over due!!
With some luck and hard work, we will have more of these for on an ongoing basis at the current lower price and still have them be profitable. But, you can have one now at the reduced price! Everyone is shipped fully assembled and ready to go. I personally do the final adjustments and pack and ship these.
Here is a brief video of where this all started – An Extra Large Version for Jeff’s wood fired oven: First WFO Super Peel. A lot of refinement has taken place to get this to its final for. Joe at Halfmoon Works had some suggestions, which we implemented on the first run, and I came back with some more changes to help get the costs down some more. It is always a challenge, not just to invent, but to reinvent as many times as necessary to get a product to a marketable point.
The current version is also just fine, and [I think] even better than our standard short handled Super Peels around the kitchen and your standard oven, if you have some room. The reach is great and allows better visibility, and they are also easier to master, since they automatically track straight.
Be well, Bake better!!
Hard to believe, but it has been 2 years that we have not had our fabulous American Black Cherry Peels in stock. But, this is about to end. Final production steps are running this week and these will be available on Amazon sometime the week of October 20th!! YAY!!! 14″ X 24″, fully tapered for perfect weight, feel and balance. And, these are even better quality than the ones we offered previously, thanks to the dedication of our primary partner and supplier Essex Industries in Mineville, NY. Essex is a place where the busy hands of many special people make some pretty awesome things from wood – including our wooden Super Peels. I need to take this opportunity to give a shout out and very special thanks to Preston for making these peels happen!!
You won’t find a finer peel anywhere, and these make an impressive gift (even if it is for yourself). They will only be a few buck more than they were 2 years ago, but the quality is just outstanding. Yes, you do get what you pay for. So, then get this!!!!!!! You will definitely be getting what you paid for!!!
Watch for them – Coming in just two weeks!!
the continuing trials of an oven builder…………..
Back on the job, as I wanted to get this oven done this day so that we could make pizzas that evening. I toiled away (OK, I lied) while others flew the ridge at Susquehanna Flight Park. Anyway, this work was especially a chore, as the little ridge here is not often soarable. But, it was this day, which was actually a very rare second time in the same week!!!
After a few hours, the job completed and it looked great!!!
The new Turning Peel, across the top (ours was made from a scrap piece of aluminum and an old aluminum ski pole, so cost nothing) is an indispensable tool to have on hand for your wood fired oven. It is not for loading the oven, but the pizzas need to be rotated several times to bake evenly. And, a smaller sized round metal peel is just the ticket to get underneath and rotate them. Takes a bit of a knack to do it efficiently, but not that much of a learning curve. Just don’t try to move a pizza too soon after placing it in the oven, as it can be easy to shred a pie that has not yet set up. Our turning peel is about 9″ in diameter, and has a 48″ handle, which seems just about the right size.
So, the fire was built and lit to burn-in and preheat the oven. Nice big fire!! – Go Big or Go Home!!, as they say. This was roaring within 10 minutes and really getting hot. All seemed well, and then all of a sudden the first hint of a problem was heard – SNAP – CRACK!!!! And, a fist sized piece of hot brick literally flew out of the oven. Oh well, just some moisture trapped in the bricks we mused. It will surely settle down…………It did not quickly, and continued to spit chunks and shrapnel of brick. It did eventually pretty much stop, so we figured it was time to let the fire die down and load it up with the first pie!
The coals were moved to the back, and Using our Long Handled Super Peel the pizza was loaded. Within less than a minute, the sounds of snapping and popping bricks were heard again, apparently now coming off the back oven wall which receiving more heat. The pizza was being literally “peppered” with brick shards. It was rendered completely inedible! But, it smelled and looked so yummy!!
Through some follow up research since, we have learned a lot about bricks and specifically that some of the brick we used were so called “clinker bricks“. These result from over-firing where the brick actually start to melt. Clinkers used to be discarded, as they were thought to be inferior. but later the were determined to be suitable for use in construction, and were even used as accent pieces because of their darker color. I read in several places that clinkers were the better bricks for a wood fired oven, but further investigation leads me to a more informed conclusion that red bricks – “Reds”:
are better for a wood fired oven. For one thing, the red bricks are lower density than the clinkers, so they insulate better. Additionally, the clinkers are the ones that failed, and my conclusion is that this is because they were basically so glassified/vitrified from the intense heat when fired. I believe that they ended up spalling and shattering because they are so hard and dense that they could not expand evenly with the oven’s heating. Anyway, stay away from the clinkers:
They are darker in color and very hard, and you can even see areas that were totally melted. We also found it impossible to drill them, even with a carbide bit, while drilling the reds was easy. So, that is another giveaway.
So, I am now tearing down the oven, saving the “Reds”, and searching for some more to replace the clinkers. Still hope to have this job completed before the snow flies this winter, and flying season comes to a close. Actually, we flew all of last winter at Ellenville, NY, from a launch ramp at an overlook along Rt. 52.
I will keep you posted!!!
As promised, I spent the day pondering over what to make as a pizza tonight. Taking from my 3 daughters’ idea that “Everything makes a taco!”, I was thinking something maybe pulled pork. That was not so easy to find or make in a hurry, so settled for a roasted chicken from the market. Nice and juicy one!! Deboned and pulled apart a leg and some breast meat which I tossed with some andoulle sausage and a little spicy sauce.
Assembly was, from bottom up:
Very wet GF crust with EVOO on a well floured surface.
Meat Combo, topped with some roasted poblano peppers.
Then a layer of smoked mozzarella and some fresh cracked pepper.
All slipped nicely onto my Super Peel Pro and then off-loaded onto the 750F Broiler Heated Stone.
Two and a half minutes under the broiler and it was perfectly done, nicely browned on the top and bottom. Balance is the key. This setup works for me, and I have described it elsewhere. Also, the crust was my Mock Whole Wheat (see recipes section).
Topped with coleslaw and a large bouquet of cilantro!!
All in all this worked well. Next time there will be some pulled pork to use. So, what did you eat today?