Make a Perforated Pizza Peel for Improved Pizza Making

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Introduction: Make a Perforated Pizza Peel for Improved Pizza Making

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This is originally from on my site, mikesenese.com/DOIT. If you like DIY projects, follow me on twitter @msenese.

And if you like it, make sure to vote! This writeup is currently in the Instructables Pizza Competition.
 
The idea behind a perforated peel is that it reduces the amount of flour that gets underneath the dough when placing it in the oven (too much flour will brown up and taste bitter), and helps keep things from sticking by reducing the amount of friction underneath the dough. I discovered the magic of the perforated pizza peel after getting to make pizza with Pizzahacker for an evening, and decided to make a DIY version for myself. These are the steps I took to make it.

Step 1: Materials Needed

-Aluminum pizza peel (I’m using a 12″x14″ peel that works well for my oven and pizza size)
-Drill press
-Small drill bit (about 1/16″)
-Slightly larger drill bit (~3/16″)
-Larger drill bit (3/8″ or 1/2″) or countersink drill bit
-Flat piece of cardboard (I used a cereal box)
-Two printed pages of the perforation template (PDF) (A grid I made that has the holes place every 1.5cm.)
-Flat piece of scrap wood to go underneath the peel when drilling
-Pencil, masking tape, ruler and scissors

Step 2: Step One: Prepare the Cardboard Guide

Trace the outline of your peel on the cardboard. Cut the coardboard to match the peel. Find the halfway point (left to right) on the cardboard and mark it with a line.

Step 3: Step Two: Align the Hole Guide Printout on Cardboard

Place the center dot of the template printout to match with the center line on the cardboard. The center dot is the seventh dot over. I decided to leave a small gap in the front of the peel, so my placement had the printout taped to the cardboard portrait orientation, with the larger margin on the top edge.

The paper won’t be wide enough for the cardboard, so cut a strip from the second printout for the left and right side, and line it up with the dots on the first piece. Tape in place, cut around the the cardboard and tape the whole thing to the peel.

Mark which holes you don’t want to drill – I crossed them out with a pencil to leave a margin on the top and sides.

Step 4: Step Three: Drill the Holes

Put the small bit into the drill press (if you don’t have a drill press, a hand drill will suffice but will add some tedium to the project). Place the scrap piece of wood underneath the peel to help minimize distortion. Slowly drill through each dot on the template.

With the 10″ drill press I was using, there was one small section in the center that I was unable to reach. I decided to leave this as-is, instead of doing it by hand. I don’t think it will make a big difference. Also, I used a small bucket as a riser for the handle of the peel, but make sure the level is pretty close – you want the surface to be as flat as possible so you don’t end up bending the aluminum.

Step 5: Step Four: Enlarge the Holes, and Create a Pattern

Using the middle sized drill bit, carefully enlarge each hole.

At this point I started to wonder if I was going to compromise too much of the peel’s strength so I opted for an alternating pattern of small holes and larger holes, with the front edge and both sides larger holes.

Step 6: Step Five: Deburr and Bevel the Drilled Holes

Remove the cardboard template. The top holes will look pretty good, but you’ll have a fair amount of flanging coming off the drilled holes. Using the largest of the three drill bits (make sure it has a very slightly tapered head), VERY slowly drill the excess off the peel. Bevel the edges by pressing just part way beyond the surface of the peel. Do this for all the holes, flip and repeat on the back side – this will give you a nice smooth surface.

One thing not to do: wire brush on a grinder or drill. This won’t take the flanging off the drilled holes, but will leave a roughed-up, pitted area.

That’s it! Perforated pizza peel ready for action.

To use it, add flour to the peel as normal, but give it a good shake to spread the flour and eliminate any extra. Slide pizza onto peel, place in oven and give a good jerk to remove the peel - you'll notice the uncooked dough will move smoother on this peel than a standard one. And the pies will have a lot less uncooked flour underneath, leaving a much improved flavor.

Remember if you like it, make sure to vote! This writeup is currently in the Instructables Pizza Competition.
 

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39 Comments

Great idea! Could you elaborate on the last step, as how to bevel and get rid of the flanging? Are you drilling into the holes again with the large bit?

Thanks Peter. That's exactly right. You can use the tip of a larger bit, or a one of those stubby, triangular countersink bits to taper the edges. Just be careful to not push too hard and blow right through the peel.

Thanks Mike! Wish me luck!

Nice work and for DIY folks, the instructions and other constructive comments are useful.

You can buy professional perforated peels at a reasonable price though if you're not inclined to drill hundreds of holes yourself. :-) see http://store.brickovenbaker.com/peels for some examples. The GI.Metal peels are made in Italy, are anodized aluminum, sturdy handles.

How do you think this peel performed as compared to the commercial perforated one??
Thanks

Here is a video of the GI.Metal peels being demonstrated at a show. Notice how a little flour on the peel, most of it falling through the holes... and the pizza slides on and off really nice.

Cornmeal is: 1) Yucky 2) Messy 3) Detracts from the flavor of the pizza and finally: 4) Cheating This peel is an awesome idea!

Whenever I try to drill thin metal I have major problems. Just as the bit is about to go through, it tends to yank the whole thing out of my hands, bend it up, and leave giant burrs. Any tips?