Introduction to Peelology
Getting Dough Into the Oven Safely
In this page, you'll learn how to get fully risen bread dough into your oven, safely. The easiest case is when you are making pan bread. Just put the pan in the oven. *doh* as my son and Homer Simpson might say.
But breads that have risen in bread forms are tougher. How do you get the bread out safely? The answer is, be gentle. We'll start using a plain peel, which you can get from cooking supply stores near you, and then move on to using a SuperPeel.
Start by removing the cling wrap from the top of the dough, then cover your dough with a piece of bakers parchment paper, and then cover the parchment paper with a peel. Some people use reuseable parchment, which works out very well. Our good friends at Mountain Tops Milling sell reuseable parchment paper.
Then flip the whole sandwich over, remove the banneton, and slash the dough, if desired. Many people dust the peel with corn meal, semolina or rice flour to act as a lubricant, and then they just drop the dough onto the peel. This has two little problems. All too often an over-risen dough will collapse when dropped into a peel from any height. Next, the corn meal, semolina or rice flour tend to stink up the kitchen as they burn. The bakers parchment paper will not burn, although it will scorch after two or three uses.
All this sounds a bit complex, but like riding a bicycle it is easier to do than to describe.
Perhaps the movie, with the link to the right, will make it clearer. A quick note about the movie - the sound track isn't quite clear at one spot. In it I say, "And then you flip the whole SANDWICH over" shortly after the movie starts.
The SuperPeel is a scaled down version of a bakeries oven loader, just right for a home baker. It allows you to easily pick up and put down pie crusts, dough, and more. It is a hit in every one of our baking classes - we've often thought we should start selling them! If you go to the SuperPeel web site you'll see more, and better, videos of how to use the SuperPeel. But, enough of our students want a quick overview of how to use the SuperPeel, we thought we should put this together. (A quick apology to Gary Caspar, the guy who invented the SuperPeel. Yeah, I really SHOULD wash my peel more often, it's easy and the clean up well. And I could put the decorative canvas you sent me on the SuperPeel and re-shoot the movie. And I will some day. I really should show the SuperPeel in a better light instead of just as the indispensable tool it is.)
The basics of using the SuperPeel are about the same as using a regular peel, only you don't need to use bakers parchment paper, corn meal, or other stuff. Start by uncovering the dough, then put the SuperPeel on top of the dough.
Next, flip the sandwich of SuperPeel, dough and banneton over. Then lift off the basket.
To the right is a link to a video hosted at Google that shows the process from start to finish. It seems I forgot to oil the plastic wrap that day, so the dough collapsed a bit as I removed the plastic wrap. If it was easy to do, everyone and their brother would upload poorly edited videos to YouTube. Oh, wait! It is and they do!