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December 9, 2020

Case Study: Which is the Best Flour for Pizza?

With more options available, it’s harder than ever before to know what ingredients to use in order to make the best pizza. There are hundreds of variations of sauces and toppings, but what truly makes a great pizza is the crust.

Whether you are an at-home pizza lover, a restaurant owner, or someone who is simply curious about ingredients, it’s a great idea to learn more about what goes into making a great pizza crust. More specifically, what flour should you use in your pizza crust dough?

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What Type of Flour Should You Use to Make Pizza?

Despite the long list of flours to choose from, there is only one that stands out as the best for making pizza: Caputo tipo 00 flour.

While there’s no doubt that you can successfully make a tasty pizza using other types of flour, Caputo 00 is the superior choice for pizza dough. It is finely ground, has a lower gluten content than most other flours, and is made from a selection of the finest grains by the Caputo family. To make a life-changing, authentic, shockingly delicious homemade pizza, you will want to start with Caputo Tipo 00 flour.  

You may be surprised to discover that there is a lot more to flour than meets the eye. There are many different types of flour and each of them should be treated differently. Before we get into deciding which flour is best for making pizza, let’s take a closer look at the different flours you have to choose from.

American vs. Italian Flour

In America, as well as Canada, flours are categorized by the amount of protein they contain. In Italy, as well as other parts of Europe, flour is categorized by how finely it has been ground. A type “2” flour is the coarsest and type “00” flour is the finest.

How they are categorized is only one, albeit notable, difference between American and Italian flour. To truly understand what places Italian flour into a category all its own, we’ll have to take a more in-depth look at Italian flours.

A Guide to Italian Flour

Italians don’t mess around when it comes to food. They take their food, and more specifically their flour, so seriously, that they passed a law in 2001 to regulate how flour is made and graded.

Italian flours are graded based on their ash content, or how much of the full wheat kernel is in the flour. To determine the ash content, a test sample of the flour is burnt in a lab and the ash that remains is measured. When more of the whole wheat grain is used to make the flour, more ash will be left behind. The more ash that is left behind, the higher the ash content of the flour.

Grano Duro Flour

Grano duro, or “hard grain”, flours are made from hard wheat. They are also called “semola” flours. Grano duro flours have a slight yellow hue and are more granular. They are most commonly used for pasta and some types of bread.

The table below, as seen in the Presidential decree #187, shows the difference between several grano duro flours.

Flour ProductHumidity (max.)Ash (min.)Ash (max.)Protein (min.)
Semola14.5%-.90%10.5%
Semolato14.5%.90%1.35%11.5%
Semola integrale di grano duro14.5%1.4%1.8%11.5%
Farina di grano duro14.5%1.36%1.7%11.5%

Grano Tenero Flour

“Grano tenero” which means “tender grain” refers to flours made from soft wheat. Grano tenero flours are white, powdery flours commonly used in pastries and bread. Soft wheat flour is the flour used most often in Italy.

Based on the most recent laws governing flour, the table below shows how the different types of soft wheat flour are classified and how they compare to flours from the US.

Flour Product (Italy)HumidityAsh (Min.)Ash (Max.)ProteinFlour Product (USA)
Soft wheat flour tipo 0014.5%-0.55%9%Pastry flour
Soft wheat flour tipo 014.5%-0.65%11%All-purpose flour
Soft wheat flour tipo 114.5%-0.8%12%High-gluten flour
Soft wheat flour tipo 214.5%-0.95%12%First clear flour
Soft wheat whole grain14.5%1.3%1.7%12%White whole wheat

Tipo 00 Flour

Tipo 00 Italian flours, also known as double-zero flours, are the softest, finest Italian flours. They are ground into a fine powder and are white. Compared to other Italian flours, tipo 00 flours are the most refined and have the least fiber left. “Grano tenero” 00 flours contain very little gluten.

Although tipo 00 flour is a very specific type of flour, there are different blends available. Tipo 00 flours can be purely soft wheat or they can be blended with some hard wheat. They can also contain as much as 9% protein.

Caputo Pizzeria Tipo 00 Flour

When it comes to quality, you truly can’t beat Caputo Tipo 00 Pizza Flour. Caputo 00 flour is a very unique type of flour made by the Naples-based company Antimo Caputo. Caputo is known around the world for its high-quality pizza flours that use mostly locally-produced wheat. Antimo Caputo is one of the “approved suppliers” by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (AVPN). While Antimo Caputo makes several types of flours, they are best-known for their Tipo 00 pizza flours.

Caputo Pizzeria is typically advertised as a pizza flour for professionals, but it’s perfectly suited to home chefs. Whether you’re making a homemade pizza in your kitchen oven or trying your new outdoor pizza stove, Caputo Tipo 00 flour is worth every penny.

Cento Anna Napoletana Tipo 00 Extra Fine Flour

While Caputo reigns supreme when making pizza, Cento Anna Napoletana 00 Extra Fine Flour is the superior choice when making pasta. Its overall quality and consistency make Cento Anna flour a must-have ingredient for soft, delicate pasta like authentic Italian ravioli.

Despite shining brightest when used in a homemade pasta recipe, Cento Anna is also a more affordable option for pizza chefs looking for a high-quality double zero flour.

Molini Grassi 00 Flour

If your restaurant promises all-organic ingredients or you simply prefer to go the organic route within your home, Molini Grassi makes a high-quality organic 00 flour. Molini Grassi’s USDA Organic Italian 00 Soft Wheat Flour is 100% Italian and contains zero GMOs. It is produced by a family-owned mill run by the fourth generation of an Italian family in Parma, Italy. This organic 00 flour has the powdery texture you want in an authentic Italian pizza and is great for making delicate, flaky pastries.

Types of American Flour

There are many types of American flour, each with their own intended purposes. But the flours mentioned below are the ones most commonly used to make homemade pizza dough.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is an American flour made of a blend of hard and soft wheat. It can be bleached or unbleached and contains 8% to 11% protein. Flour that has been naturally bleached as it ages is labeled “unbleached,” while flour that has been chemically treated is labeled “bleached.” Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached flour.

Bleached flour is best-used to make pie crusts, quick breads, waffles, pancakes, and cookies. Unbleached flour is best for yeast breads, puff pastry, Danish pastry, strudel, lairs, popovers, Yorkshire pudding, and cream puffs.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is white flour that is made from hard, high-protein wheat. It contains more gluten and protein than all-purpose flour. It contains 12% to 14% protein. Bread flour is unbleached and will sometimes be treated with ascorbic acid to increase its volume and improve its texture.

Bread flour is best to use when making yeast products.

Cake Flour

Cake flour is a soft-wheat flour with a fine texture and a high-starch content. Of all wheat flours, cake flour has the lowest protein content (8% to 10%). Cake flour is chlorinated, which adds a slightly acidic component, that helps the cake set faster and distribute fat more evenly for improved overall texture.

Cake flour is a good option when making baked goods that contain a lot of sugar, since it can maintain its shape better than other flours. Cake flour is often used to make quick breads, cookies, and muffins.

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour, also known as graham flour, is made from the whole kernel of wheat. It contains more dietary fiber and is more nutrient-dense than white flours. It doesn’t have as much gluten as other flours, so it is often mixed with all-purpose or bread flour when making yeast breads.

Jessica
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