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texassourdough 03-01-2009 06:30 PM

KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
I bought some KA Italian flour and have been anxiously waiting to try it. Kim's comments on Caputo flour pushed me over the edge and I went ahead and mixed it up even though I didn't use my WFO tonight.

First a little background. I usually make either Napolitana dough usind KA AP flour or Neo Neopolitan dough using KA bread flour following Peter Reighhart's recipes in American Pie so they are my references.

I usually mix my pizza dough in a Kitchenaid mixer so I did that last night - following Peter's recipe for Napolitana dough in a mixer. I was a bit nervous for the protein in the Italian flour is 8.5% vs. 11.7% for the AP. I was afraid it would be unmanagably wet and sticky... but I was wrong. It was wet and it was a bit sticky, but well within my handling abilities. But it was like silk. The best window pane test result I have ever had. Very flexible and promising. So I put it in a bowl to spend the night and today...

When I took it out 2 hours before use, I was stunned. It seemed REALLY firm. Still wettish and a bit sticky but really firm. I formed balls (about 175 grams)l, oiled them and put them on parchment to warm and rise for two hours. At an hour and a half they were still a bit cold and stiff so I moved them to a warmer location and let them rise another hour (total 2 1/2 hours).

The dough was amazing! The 175 gram balls easily streched to 13+ inches in diameter, yielding a very thin crust with no threat of tears or trouble. Just plain easy!

The pizzas were sparsely topped and baked in a 500 degree electric oven with a Hearthkit insert for approximately four to four and a half minutes. The result was a (for me) shockingly crisp crust (almost cracker-like, closer to a Roman crust than a Neopolitan) that was unlike any I have made before. And with great flavor from the good flour and extended or delayed rise.

My wife got excited simply watching me make the pizzas. She KNEW this was going to be different from the way the dough behaved. The crispness was the real surprise. Her comment was that I should order more flour because it was easily the best crust yet.

My assessment was that the KA Italian is superb. I now MUST order or obtain some Caputo (I think I can get some here in San Antonio) so I can do a direct comparison. And...I need to try the KA Italian in my WFO but...I doubt there will be any problems there.

It is my impression that the KA Italian has had some mixed reviews in the past, but this review is all positive. No negatives! But a growing curiousity about other flours!

And as a qualifier to all of this...different styles tend to need different doughs and flours. I tend to be a sparse topping, thin crust person and the KA Italian worked well for me in that format. I have no comments about its use for thicker crusts!

Hope you find this useful!

Ken524 03-02-2009 07:55 PM

Re: KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
Hi Jay,

I'm curious about this and really want to try it. Could you clarify for me the flour you used? Is it "King Arthur Italian-Style Flour"?

My kids were commenting just a few nights ago that they wanted extra crispy crust pizza!

texassourdough 03-04-2009 06:23 AM

Re: KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
Hi Ken!

Yes! What I used is properly known as King Arthur Italian-Style Flour which they say "Bakes like Italian 00" or something close to that. I have not been able to find the flour locally so ordered it from KA when they had a "Free Shipping" offer early this year.

As an aside, my wife continues to rave over the thinness and crispness of the crust from this flour. (And a Napoletana dough this had NO oil to help make it crisp!)

It was simply the silkiest, smoothest dough I have experienced - which is why I need to try the Caputo!

As another aside, the balls were exceptionally soft when warm and risen and IMO needed careful, gentle handling and lots of support compared to the active, unsupported stretching so often used on stronger doughs.

Good Luck!

Ken524 03-05-2009 10:33 AM

Re: KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
Thanks Jay!
There are several stores here in Louisville that stock KA products. I'm hoping that one of the specialty markets has the Italian-Style so I can save on shipping (KA or Caputo).

texassourdough 03-06-2009 12:43 PM

Re: KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
Hi Ken!

I sympathize on shipping. KA did offer free shipping for orders over ??? ($50?? or maybe $100) earlier this year which is when I ordered my flour (and got multiple bags of Pastry, Artisanal European Style, and Italian to test). So, if you can't find it, perhaps, if you call them and order several bags they MIGHT ship them free???

I have Caputo ordered from FB and will test it in about two weeks. Will also be going to my favorite commercial pizzeria tomorrow. I know he uses Italian flour. Will find out what he is using.... So more soon.

Good Luck!

acbova 03-06-2009 09:05 PM

Re: KA Italian Flour and Pizza...
I'm going to Pittsburgh tomorrow and go to PennMac and buy this Caputo Pizzaria Flour 5# bag repackaged Caputo. The question is how much? I get my daughter from college in May, so maybe 2 packages. That might hold me till then.

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