You’ve mixed your wet and dry ingredients, proofed, and shaped your dough, chopped, and placed your toppings — now you are ready to launch! Perfecting your pizza launch is incredibly essential to creating a glorious pizza. It’s the crucial, final, transitional step that takes you from pizza prep to baking. Do it wrong and end up with misshapen crust and toppings strewn across your oven — oh the humanity.
We’ve done the hard work of making and launching tons of pizza for our own — ahem — research to provide our Versa owners with the best tips, tricks, and tools for launching their pizzas, giving them a beautiful pizza from start to finish.
Pick the right peel
Your launchpad is an essential, key player in your pizza making process. In our experience, having both a wooden and metal peel is key! With wooden peels, your raw pizza dough doesn’t stick quite as much as it would to a metal peel. The wood grain helps to diminish friction and absorb dough moisture, and its room temperature keeps the dough from softening or sticking. Metal pizza peels tend to be stickier, but its thin design is ideal for getting under the base of your pizza. If you do decide to go with a metal peel for launching, be sure to use a generous amount of your dusting ingredients. Also, check that the temperature isn’t too hot to ensure it won’t stick to the surface.
The Shake Test
After placing your pizza on the peel, give it a shake to test its fluidity and make sure the dough hasn’t stuck to the surface. This part is important, because as you start to load on toppings, the weight can make it more difficult to unstick your pie from the peel. As a general rule, give your pizza a shake about every 30 seconds as you add your sauce and toppings. If you notice the dough starting to stick, pick up the dough from those spots and sprinkle more of your flour/cornmeal mixture between your dough and peel.
Type and amount of flour for dusting
To have the perfect launch, you’ve got to use the best flour for the job. We suggest a combination of 00 flour and Semolina flour. When crafting your pizza dough, grab your 00 flour. Its refinery gives you a dough that is more malleable and avoids being too dry or sticky. Allowing you to easily launch a lighter, fluffier pizza into your Versa 16. A dough made with 00 gives you a true launch consistency, which is incredibly important when you’re making multiple pizzas.
Even the absolute best peel on the market requires a generous peel dusting. When you’ve moved on to placing your dough on the peel, sprinkle your launchpad with either Semolina flour or a mixture of cornmeal and 00 flour. Don’t be modest with it! This will allow your pizza to become much more mobile and ensure it won’t stick to your peel. Semolina flour has the right consistency to prevent sticking, but it can be on the pricier side. Using flour alone on your peel can lead to it being absorbed by the dough, and only cornmeal won’t cover your entire surface. A mixture of the two is the perfect balance of texture to safely launch your precious pie.
Be sure to stop the stone
You’ve worked hard on your pizza to bring it to fresh baked fruition, so don’t forget this crucial step before launching into your Versa! Be sure to stop the stone by simply pushing the rotating button on the front of the oven. This will help you avoid it folding in on itself. Once your pizza is on the stone, hit the button again to get your stone rotating and ensure an even cook.
Pick, practice and master your technique
There are a few diverse ways to launch your pizza off the peel and onto your pizza stone. The most common strategy is to place your peel at a 45-degree angle at the front of the stone. Then steadily shake your pizza off the peel and slide it onto the center of the stone. The other option, a technique adapted by our product designer, is just a twist on the original. Simply place the front of your pizza peel at the back of the stone, scooch your peel so that your pizza slides off and secures itself safely onto the stone. This strategy can keep toppings from sliding off the front and into the flames!
Remember, practice is what makes the perfect pizza launch! Even on our best days, we’ve had our share of tousled toppings and wrinkled dough, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Find the best tools and techniques for you and keep your pizza crafting confidence high. Browse our collection of outdoor cooking recipes that you and your family will love.