Tips for Launching Pizza

What Is Pizza Launching?

Pizza launching is the act of getting your uncooked pizza safely from the countertop into your Fontana Forni USA pizza oven. This may sound simple—and with some practice and good guidance, it can be—but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can end up a total disaster when the pizza dough sticks to a surface. Follow these helpful tips to ensure that you make the perfect pizza every time.

Steps and Tips for Launching the Perfect Pizza

Chef kneads pizza dough

Before you start, you’ll need to make sure you have all the right tools for the job. Browse our fantastic selection of pizza oven accessories to ensure that you have what you need to make the perfect pizza.

Get Doughing

The first trick is to have the best pizza dough. You could try our easy go-to recipe or get creative with our beer pizza dough version. It’s perfect for Oktoberfest too when paired with grilled brats!

Make sure your dough is at room temperature before hand-stretching or rolling it out into the desired shape and thickness. Dough that is too cold will bounce back to a smaller shape after rolling, and dough that is too warm will sweat, creating unwanted moisture, and causing it to stick.

Once your dough has risen and is ready to be worked, turn your pizza oven on to start heating up—you want your pizzas to go into a hot oven with a pre-heated pizza stone.

Get the Peel Ready

We recommend having two pizza peels on hand at all times—one for transferring cold pizzas into the oven, and the other for moving hot pizzas around. One of the most common problems people have when making pizza is when the pizza dough sticks to the peel.

Be sure to keep the first peel at room temperature to ensure the pizza dough doesn’t stick to the peel. If you’re not sure how to use a pizza peel, read on for some useful tips.

Once your dough has been shaped and rolled out on a clean, floured surface, you will want to transfer it to the peel before adding the toppings, but be sure to flour the peel well before transferring the pizza dough to it.

Don’t Be Shy with the Flour

Some people recommend using plain flour, some use cornmeal, and some recommend a mixture of flour and semolina as the best choice for keeping your pizza dough from sticking to surfaces. Start experimenting and see which option you like best.

Use flour on your work surface, as well as the peel, but don’t put flour directly onto hot pizza stones, as this will burn and smolder, giving your pizza an unwanted flavor.

Holey Pizza!

Before you get on with the important task of adding toppings to your pizza, make sure there are no holes in the dough. If you do find any, just pinch them together with your fingers. Any pizza toppings that make their way through the holes will cause your pizza dough to stick to the peel or the pizza stone.

Keep It Simple and Keep It Moving

It’s time to start placing your toppings. Always remember that less is more. Adding too many toppings will make your pizza heavy, making it more difficult to slide off the peel, and you’ll run the risk of the toppings sliding off the pizza and causing it to stick.

While you are busy adding your toppings, give the peel a little shake every now and then to make sure it is not starting to stick. If it does, lift an edge and put a little more flour underneath.

T-Minus Pizza

Now your pizza is a go for launch, and this is the most important part. All your hard work will be for nothing if you don’t get the launch right.

If all has gone according to plan, you’ll have a pre-heated pizza oven and stone, your pizza will be sitting loosely on the peel with all its toppings, and you’ll be ready to cook the perfect pizza.

To get the pizza off the peel and safely into the oven, hold the peel at only a very slight angle, and give it a single quick shake to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone in one swift movement. If the pizza doesn’t land in the center of the oven, don’t worry about it now. Let the pizza cook a bit before trying to move it.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now, don’t worry! We don’t expect you to practice on the pizza dough you’ve worked so hard on—there are other ways to perfect your pizza launching skills. Simply put something on your pizza peel, like a folded-up kitchen towel, and practice sliding it off. Do this at the height of your pizza oven, or even into the oven when it is cold.