Italian Tipo 00 Pizza Flour
The Italians and Americans use different terms to describe their flours, which can cause some confusion. While the American baker is accustomed to seeing gluten % on the flour package, the Italian producers often don't publish gluten, but rather use Tipo 0 and Tipo 00 to describe how finely the flour is milled. Tipo 00, which is more fine, can be used to make different types of bread, cookies and pastries -- as well as pizza. In fact, the glutting % in Tipo 00 flour ranges from 6% - 12%, and it can be used for everything form biscotti, to ciabatta, to pugliese to pizza.
One misunderstanding is that Tipo 00 is pizza flour -- which is not right. If you are looking for Italian Tipo 00 flour for pizza, make sure you find Tipo 00 pizza flour, not pastry flour, which can be very light light and have gluten as low as 5%-7%. The best Italian pizza flour comes from Molino Caputo, has 11.5%-12.5% high quality gluten, and is selected and milled to make perfect Pizza Napoletana.
For more details, read our Using Caputo Tipo 00 Pizza Flour Instruction Sheet.
To get a good pizza dough using domestic flour, try a blend of high quality bread flour, with 14%-15% glutting, and general purpose flour.
Bread flour gives pizza dough a chewier texture and gives the dough the ability to stretch and capture more air bubbles, but if it is handled too roughly can result in a tough pizza. General purpose flour gives you a dough that is lighter and more delicate, which can give you a pizza that is soft, and even saggy. You might miss the crunch of the crust and the richer texture.
That said, if you only have one or the other in the house, personally, we wouldn't take a special trip to the store to buy the other. Save the time, and enjoy trying a different type of pizza dough.
One word on different qualities of flour. We think that there is a real difference between high quality, stone milled flour and the mass produced flours. Stone milled flour is ground more slowly using real stones, which do not become hot and damage the texture and flavor of the flour.
For some background on how flour was ground before the modern stone or steel mill, check out our Wind Mill Flour Photo Journal.
If you don't want put buy Caputo Tipo 00 flour from Forno Bravo, check out the best flour your local stores have. It's worth the effort.
Tips and Hints
Buy a large glass or plastic jar for your flour, and always leave a one cup measuring cup in it. This will save you a lot of time having it right there.
Buy a small glass jar for you yeast, and always leave a teaspoon measuring spoon in the jar. Again, it saves a lot of time not having to look for the measuring spoon every time you use your yeast.
Buy your yeast in bulk at Costco. They carry a good national brand at a great price, and you will use it up. Store it in the refrigerator.
Keep lots of flour on your work surfaces and peels when you are making pizza. It makes all the difference.