What To Do When Dough Sticks

By tank

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One of the most frustrating things that can happen while making a pizza is for the dough to stick to the pizza peel. After stretching the dough and assembling the ingredients on the dough to form the deliciousness that will become your pizza, you go to put it in the oven, and it refuses to slide off the peel. Disappointment sets in as you see your perfect creation slip away and hope to salvage this situation and come out with something that still resembles a pizza. You wonder to yourself, how did this happen? If it's your first time you wonder what you did wrong, and if not your first time, you wonder how it managed to happen again?

Here are some tips to help prevent this from happening to you.

Don't let the dough sit on the peel too long

Once you get your dough stretched and start putting ingredients down, you're on the clock, and it's ticking. The longer the dough sits on the peel, the greater the chance of it sticking. So make efforts to move quickly and reduce the time the dough sits.

Prep ingredients before stretching the dough

One of the best ways to reduce the time your dough sits is to have your ingredients chopped, prepped, nearby, and ready to apply. Have your veggies ready, cheese sliced/chunked/shredded, olive oil close by, sausage/pepperoni chunked/sliced, before the dough is set. Sauce is often the first ingredient on the dough. As it sits, it causes the dough under it to moisten and soon stick. Once the sauce is down, you wanna be able to get your ingredients down and slide the pizza into the oven shortly after

Use fewer ingredients

Less really is more and better when it comes to homemade pizza. Using fewer ingredients allows the individual ingredients to shine through and not get muddled with too many competing flavors. More importantly, it weighs the dough down less.  If you plan to make a pizza with 3 or more ingredients (not including cheese and sauce), increase the thickness of your dough.  Thin dough + many ingredients = a much greater chance your dough will get sticky when you try to get it in the oven.

Don't use warm sauce

Use cold or cooled down pizza sauce when making your pizza.  Warm and hot pizza sauce will warm the dough under it and cause the dough to get sticky.  This is tricky when you're making pizza sauce on the stove before you make your pizza.  If you do this, give the sauce ample time to cool down before attempting to use it on a pizza, or you may find yourself in a sticky situation.

Apply ample cornmeal/flour between the peel and the dough

Make sure to have ample flour or cornmeal down on your peel before placing your dough.  I use a mixture of flour and cornmeal.  Don't be shy about putting enough down.

Use a wood peel (if you have one)

Pizza slides off a wooden pizza peel easier than a stainless steel.  Steel pizza peels are thinner and better for taking a pizza out.  If you have neither, it's probably good to start off with a wooden peel.

Try using parchment paper

Prepare your pizza on parchment paper, slide it on the pizza peel then onto the pizza stone, and after a few minutes, you'll be able to pull the parchment paper from between the stone and the pizza.