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First off, I live in Canada, so I really can't help you much with US sources. However, a Sicilian friend of mine brought me some flours he found in one of the many Italian sections of Toronto. Not one is Caputo (not imported here, apparently), but they are similar if not as good, I think. Here they are: 1, Molini Pizzuti, farina tipo 00, "All purpose italian wheat flour," 2. Divella Farina, di grano tenero, tipo 00, "superfine soft wheat flour," 3. Divella Farina, di grano tenero tipo 00, "consigliata per pizze e pasta sfoglia; superfine soft wheat flour." Divella is made by F. Divella S.p.A, Rutigliano (BA) Italy, www.divella.it, email: email@example.com. Molini is made by Molini Pizzuti s.r.l., Bellizzi (Sa), Italy, www.molinipizzuti.it. Haven't used any of these yet, but I assume #2 is an all purpose flour like #1, and both would be good for bread, while #3 is pizza specific.
I'm pretty sure Caputo does make bread flours as well as pizza blends.
Maybe you could check out these sites and find out who the US importer is, then find out where it's distributed. A bit complicated, but it'll probably work. I've gotten exactly nowhere searching "Italian flour" on the web.
"Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827
The Italian method for describing bread is very different from how we do it in the states. Tipo 00, Tipo 0, etc. describes primarily how finely milled the flour is. There some minimum glutin level, which doesn't tell you anything. They use the "W" scale to describe the strength of the flour -- how hard it is to work, how elastic it is, how long it takes to rise, etc. For example, a W of 170 is for cookies and pastry, 180-260 is for bread and some pizza (55%-65% hydration), 280-350 is for egg pasta, and some breads (65%-75% hydration).
The Tipo 00 you find in a market, unless it specifically says "for pizza" or "special" has a W of between 150-200 -- very low, very light. To make pizza or bread, you are supposed to mix the light flour with a very high W specialty flour to get the strength you want.
That's why buying Italian flour can be a challenge.
The nice thing about the specific Caputo flour that we get is that it is pre-blended for pizza, so you don't have to do any mixing. It's also good for focaccia and light bread, like Ciabatta.
Caputo makes a whole product line of flours, but we only get the pizza flour here in the states. That is their specialty, and what they are so well-known for.
There is a good description in Wikipedia. It's in Italian, but you get the drift pretty easily.
I'm a baker and I tested last week Molino Quaglia bread flour. I had it by a friend who has a pizzeria and some bakery. He use them for both.
I would like to have some infos about their Petra flour. Someone of you knows?
I have recently used Caputo 00 pizza flour (blue bag) 80 % hydration and produced the best opened crumb bread I have ever made.
I used to bake bread with American bread flour using a much lower hydration adding flour until the ball came off the sides of the bowl. I want to try this bread flour at 80% hydration and will then be able to compare.
I bake in a wood burning oven.
Any other thoughts?
Italy’s average wheat production is 7,478 TMT.
Average consumption is 11,256 TMT,
Italy is the third largest importer of wheat in the world, importing an average of 6,371 TMT.
Italy’s average wheat exports are 2,718 TMT, ranking Italy as the ninth largest exporter of wheat in the world.
The Italian flour you are buying is probably not even Italian