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I got a pizza peel that feels like it is just plain wood. How can I protect it? I thought I heard somewhere to use some sort of oil.

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Wood for culinary uses should be oiled with food grade vegetable oil

The olive oil from you pizza dough should be enough to keep it fine for many years

When not being used, make sure it is stored some where dark, dry, and not too warm. Make sure it is 100% clean and dry before you put it away

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Of all the possible oils to use, olive oil (especially EVOO) is probably one of the worst, since it oxidizes readily and will go rancid in a very short time. If you insist on using a vegetable oil for equipment seasoning then one of the refined types (e.g. Canola) would be a better choice. –  Aaronut Dec 30 '11 at 22:21
    
@Aaronut Most good wood oils don't go rancid; almond, linseed etc. Olive oil transferred from the pizza making process is transferred continuously, so should not become a problem. Unless you only make pizza a few times a year, but then why would you bother with a wooden peel etc? –  TFD Dec 31 '11 at 5:20
    
Linseed does go rancid, and very easily, unless it specifically has antioxidants added. Not altogether sure about almond. I'm not sure what you mean by "transferred continuously" but the gradual accumulation of rancid fat is as much of a problem for wood as it is for cast iron - that's one of the main reasons you're supposed to season them first. You can probably also eliminate that risk by washing with soap and water, but that's obviously not good for the wood. –  Aaronut Dec 31 '11 at 17:15
    
@Aaronut All vege oils go rancid. Trace amount stuck in the wood fibres and heated in a pizza oven on a regular basis tend to transform into polymers that do not go rancid. Use boiled linseed or tung oil if you are worried about it. These has been used for hundreds of years without problems! A busy peel wont need extra oil –  TFD Jan 3 '12 at 20:59

I don't do anything for my peels. I only wash them if they get sauce on them, and then only with hot water and a gentle sponging. Never soak them with water. If you want to add a bit of water resistance, you could use some cutting board oil (a.k.a. mineral oil) to add some protection.

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I didn't know if basic cleaning would ruin the unportected wood or not. –  Mike Wills Dec 29 '11 at 16:50
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"Ruin" is a very subjective thing :) But in my experience, as long as you don't put it in the dishwasher or soak it in the sink, an untreated peel should last you a very long time. It might not look as pretty as the day you bought it, but hey, it's a peel not an art piece. –  JoeFish Dec 29 '11 at 16:53
    
A note on mineral oil: if you need some, buy it at the drug store, not the kitchen store! Kitchen stores will sell it to you at 3 or more times the price that the drug store will charge, and it's the same product. –  Michael Kohne Dec 29 '11 at 20:49
    
Mineral oils should NOT be used in food preparation. Many are known human carcinogens –  TFD Dec 30 '11 at 21:44
    
@MichaelKohne: It is not the same product. "Mineral oil" is a generic name for many different oils and only some of them are safe for food preparation. –  Aaronut Dec 30 '11 at 22:16

Wood is actually a pretty good bacterial inhibitor. Wood will last a long time - but not forever. We have a pizza peel that is 5 years old and it is used every day. It still is just fine without mineral oil or any other wood pampering.

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Mineral oils should NOT be used in food preparation. Many are known human carcinogens –  TFD Dec 30 '11 at 21:44
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@TFD: The food-grade mineral oils (E905a) are fine. Just don't use mineral oil from the hardware store, get it from a culinary store or distributor that sells it specifically for seasoning chopping boards and other food equipment. Vegetable oil has its own problems, mainly rancidity. –  Aaronut Dec 30 '11 at 22:12

i use mineral oil, sometimes olive oil if i'm really out of everything else. if you happen to have an Ikea near you, a lifetime supply of mineral oil will cost you a couple bucks. i also clean it immediately after using it, so that nothing sits on the wood too long.

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Mineral oils should NOT be used in food preparation. Many are known human carcinogens –  TFD Dec 30 '11 at 21:44
    
@TFD: Many, but not all. Most types of white mineral oil are FDA approved for use in food, so it's definitely OK to use them on equipment. –  Aaronut Dec 30 '11 at 22:18

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