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  • Writer's pictureScott Rotella

Wood-Fired Oven Tools: What do you need?

Whether you're a seasoned pizzaiolo or just starting out, having the right tools can make all the difference in creating delicious pizzas. Here are some of the essential tools you'll need for pizza making. I am a fan of the tools created by a small US company called Pizza Ornate. I especially like that they offer sets geared to specific ovens or you can buy components where you can choose the size of both your peel and corresponding handle.

This peel is a long, flat tool with a handle that is used to transfer pizzas in and out of the oven. There are two main types of pizza peels: wooden and metal. Wooden peels are more traditional, but they can be more difficult to use with wet dough. Metal peels are more versatile and can be used with both wet and dry dough.

I prefer a peel with perforations that will help release excess flour pror to launching the pizza. Purchase a placement peel that is slightly larger than your intended pizza diameter. As an example, if you plan on12 inch pizzas, use a 13 inch peel. This helps to be consistent on the size of the pizza as you can adjust the size once it is on the peel.

Use this peel to turn your pizza in the oven. You will need to turn the pizza about 3-4 times during the cook to ensure the side facing the fire does not burn. Additionally, I often use this to place logs on the fire and to move logs and embers.

This allows for pushing embers and ash. I use this when moving the wood from the center to the side to prepare for cooking. I also use this when cleaning the oven.

Aids in cleaning of the oven. I primarily use this when removing cold ash from the oven. I keep a small metal trash can where I can dump the ash. If you can do this days from the fire, then you can put it into a trash bag, which makes for easy disposal.

Aids in cleaning of the oven. After I move the coals to the side for a cook, I then use the brush to get the majority of the finer ash moved.

Choosing your handle length

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the handle size for your wood fired oven pizza peel:

  • The size of your oven. The size of the handle should be long enough to allow you to comfortably reach into the oven and remove the pizza without burning yourself. A good rule of thumb is to choose a handle that is at least as long as the depth of your oven.

  • The size of your pizzas. If you typically make large pizzas, you will need a longer handle to accommodate the size of the pizza.

  • Your personal preferences. Some people prefer longer handles for more leverage, while others prefer shorter handles for better maneuverability. Ultimately, the best handle size for you is a matter of personal preference.

Here are some general recommendations for handle sizes:

  • For small ovens and pizzas: 12-18 inches

  • For medium ovens and pizzas: 18-24 inches

  • For large ovens and pizzas: 24-36 inches

If you are unsure of what size handle to choose, it is always better to err on the side of caution and choose a longer handle. Remember that the tool attached to the end adds length, so a good rule of thumb is to use a handle that is similar to the width / depth of your oven. That will keep your hands out of the oven.

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