Here are my notes from the meeting with Caputo.
In a way, I think Caputo is set up like a winery or a perfume company. They get the best flour from around the world, they know how to select what is best, the know how to mill it and blend it to make the perfect pizza flour. It reminds me of the Burgundy wine model, or even the French perfume industry in Grasse.
They have a lab where they are constantly testing flour from around the world for the characteristics that work for pizza dough. They test for:
The pressure required to expand the dough, the distance the dough stretches before it breaks, how quickly you can stretch it without breaking it, and the dough's extensibility. They were quick to point out that dough should be extensible -- not elastic, which snaps back. There are computer generated time-stamped line graphs and pieces of test equipment all over the place, and something like 30 different grains being tested all the time.
Their goal is to make the perfect pizza flour that behaves the same way every time, without forcing you (or the restaurant) to do their own blending, and without having to change processes when the flour changes. They say their flour doesn't change.
They were quick note that their flour is 100% natural, without any additives. For example, mills can add bulk glutine to hit the 14%-15% they want for bread flour -- and they don't do that. I heard "it isn't the quantity of glutine, but the quality of glutine that matters." Back to fast extensibility.
The mill was running when I was there, and it's pretty fun to watch the process.
Caputo pizza flour is 11%-12% glutine. Their view is that more that and your pizza gets too heavy, both on the plate and in your stomach. The characteristic of Pizza Napoletana is a thin middle of the pizza, and a rim that balloons up in the oven.
Is it really that good? I have been talking with Peter Reinhart about various things, and he said that Caputo made the best pizza of anyone at their booth at the NY Pizza Show last year. For me, that's a reliable source. :-)
I'm going to read Wally posting on flour again, and try to get to grips with "W".
Perhaps folks can share the blends they are using and how they work.
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