The word “perforated” means a surface covered with small holes. So a perforated pizza peel is a metal peel with a lot of small holes on the carrying surface. The purpose of the holes is to get rid of excess flour from the pizza dough to avoid that it burns in the oven. A perforated peel is also lighter and prevents the pizza from sticking to the peel.
The main purpose of a perforated pizza peel is to get rid of excess flour from the pizza base. But why do you want to get rid of the flour?
When you’re baking pizza on a hot pizza stone or steel, you don’t want flour on the baking surface because it burns. Fine wheat flours that you most commonly use for baking pizza, burns at fairly low temperatures. It’s this flour that causes trouble. Dusting your pizza peel with semolina, which can handle higher heat better, is not a problem!
Burnt wheat flour will make the oven smoky. The first time I used my pizza steel, I failed to remove the flour from the dough. And the result was an oven completely filled with dark, gray smoke. The next thing that happened was that the smoke detector went off when I tried to open it to save my pizza. A pretty unpleasant experience! In addition to smoke, the burnt flour will also add bad flavors to the pizza.
Burnt flour will result in more cleaning work when you’re done baking. The burnt flour tends to stick and can be a real pain to get rid of. Especially on an unglazed pizza stone. And if you’re not able to clean the stone properly, the flour can keep smoking next time you sue the stone.
Less Contact Surface – Less Sticking
A perforated peel has a smaller surface that is in contact with the pizza dough. This means pizza is less likely to stick to a perforated pizza peel. The reason is that the larger the contact surface is, the more friction there will be between the peel and the pizza. And more friction means it is more likely to stick.
A smaller contact surface also means that you’ll need less flour when you’re dusting the peel. Like I mentioned in the previous section, you want as little flour as possible in the hot oven. So in addition to removing more flour from the dough itself, the peel need less flour due to the holes.
One thing ting to be aware of is the size of the holes. I’ve tried a cheap, no-name pizza peel that had way too large holes. What happened was that the dough sank into the holes, making all of them hold on to the dough. This made it impossible to slide off the pizza. Needless to say, that pizza night was a total failure… I therefore can’t stress the importance of investing in a proper pizza peel. And it’s important to keep an eye on the size of the holes. You don’t want the holes to be too large, as this will make the dough sink into the hole and get stuck. Big holes will therefore be counterproductive, and you would’ve been better off just using a solid peel.
Perforated pizza peels are also lighter than solid pizza peels, due to less metal on the carrying surface. This will make it easier to use the peel.
Less Condensation – Crispier Pizza Crust
When you take a hot pizza out of the oven, you may have noticed that water sometimes is formed under the pizza. This moisture makes the pizza less crispy, or even soggy. Using a solid pizza peel may create condensation when the hot pizza meets the cold (room temperature) surface. This is mostly a problem with metal peels since hot air is trapped between the pizza crust and the smooth carrying surface. Condensation happens when this hot air is cooled down to a certain point (it’s dew point), and water drops are created. When you’re using a perforated pizza, on the other hand, you will experience less condensation. The reason is that the holes let’ the hot air escape through the peel.