What Is Pizza Flour & Is It The Best Flour For Pizza?
If you’re used to making pizza made with all-purpose or bread flour, you may be surprised to learn that “pizza flour” is actually a thing. But what is it and is it the best flour for making pizza?
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Pizza flour is a very finely milled, highly refined type of flour. This type of flour is made specifically for pizza to help provide the proper texture and structure that a quality pizza needs while still making a very light, airy, and crispy crust. In Italy, this type of flour is referred to as “tipo 00” but lots of other types of flour work great for making pizza as well.
My favorite kind of pizza flour is Caputo’s “Chef’s Flour” line of Italian tipo 00 pizza flour. This flour is relatively cheap, available online and widely considered the best flour for making pizza among pizza makers around the world. Want to know more? Let me help explain what pizza flour is and why it’s better for making
Caputo’s “Chefs Flour” 00 Pizza Flour
Pizza Flour Is Great, But Make Sure To Read The Label
Many people claim that a particular type of flour is best for pizza, but the truth is all flours are different even if they are marketed specifically for pizza.
On the spectrum of flours, there are a couple of attributes you want to be aware of – namely, how finely milled and absorptive the grains are and the protein level which affects the gluten.
Finely milled grains will generally produce a lighter and airier crust as compared to a rougher whole grain. Italian tipo 00 flour is generally the most highly refined flour available and because of this it is widely used to make pizza.
Another factor that’s very important is protein. The more protein present in the flour the stronger the gluten bonds will become – sort of like the way muscles can be built up stronger if you eat a lot of protein. In general, you want a flour protein level above 10% or your dough will be very weak and tear easily.
Finally, you have water absorbability. This basically refers to the amount of water the grains of flour can absorb before the dough become completely saturated and tears. The higher the absorbability the flour, the more water you can add to the recipe and the better and more moist the crust will taste. If you can, try to aim for a flour with an absorption rate of 13% or higher.
So make sure you read the label on whatever kind of pizza flour you buy, because not all of them meet the criteria above. Even some tipo 00 “Italian style” flours are too weak and don’t absorb enough water to make a truly great pizza.
What Is Pizza Flour Made Of?
Pizza flour is made of finely ground durum wheat grains and is usually referred to as “Tipo 00” flour.
That being said, pizza can be made of literally anything depending on what kind of pizza you’re looking for. Some people don’t use flour at all and instead opt for something gluten free like almond flour or eggs. But the results won’t be at all like a traditional pizza.
For the best traditional style pizza, look for a wheat based pizza flour with a high protein content, lots of water absorbability and a finely milled grain. This will ensure your pizza is light and fluffy while also being strong and supporting a high hydration level for home oven cooking.
Is Pizza Flour The Same As Plain Flour
Plain flour is not the same thing as pizza flour, but it can be used in place of pizza flour if it meets the right criteria for absorbability, protein and fineness of the grain.
Pizza flour is very similar to all-purpose (or plain) flour in a lot of ways. In fact, if you can find a plain flour that has a protein content above 10% and an absorbability of 13% or above, you can absolutely use it to make a delicious pizza.
Plain flour tends to contain a less refined, rougher grain, however, so it won’t be as light or fluffy as pizza flour. This means plain flour isn’t the most ideal type of flour for something like Neapolitan style pizza, but it can still work and for most other styles of pizza it should pose no problems.
What Is the Difference Between All Purpose and 00 flour
Tipo 00 flour refers to a kind of flour produced in Italy that is highly refined and ideal for making light and fluffy crusts typical of Neapolitan and Roman style pizza.
All-purpose, on the other hand, is the most common type of flour found in countries like the United States and Canada. This kind of flour is commonly used to make all kinds of doughs from pizza to bread and desserts.
The biggest differences between tipo 00 flour and all-purpose flour is the fineness of the grind and the type of gluten each contains. Tipo 00 has a super refined grain and is made from durum wheat which contains a strong but inelastic gluten, making for a strong but delicate crust. All-purpose flour has a rougher grain and is made from red wheat which contains a gluten that is strong and elastic, making for a stronger and chewier crust.
Pizza Flour Vs Bread Flour
Bread flour is made from hard, high-protein wheat that has a stronger gluten than ordinary all-purpose flour. Bread flour is perfect for yeast-leavened breads because it allows the dough to stretch while still remaining rich and dense.
Pizza flour is made from soft, high protein durum wheat that has a less elastic gluten than bread flour. It’s preferred for pizza and other yeast-leavened flatbreads because the lack of elasticity in the gluten makes for a dough that is strong but easy to stretch out without snapping back like pizza dough made from bread flour.
Pizza flour is typically used to refer to tipo 00 flour, or other similar soft wheat flours used to make pizza. Pizza flour is preferred by most people because the resulting crust is lighter and fluffier than other flours.
00 Flour Substitute
Tipo 00 flour is a type of flour that is used in Italian baking. Those who have never used it may find it difficult to know what flour substitute to use if they don’t have 00 flour available to them. By understanding the nature of 00 flour, you’ll have a better idea of what it does and what you can use in its place.
Tipo 00 flour is a very finely ground and high in a type of gluten that is strong but still holds its shape without snapping back. This makes it the perfect kind of flour for shaping into a pizza crust that’s light and fluffy and easy to shape.
If you don’t have 00 flour available, I recommend using all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is readily available, has a relatively finer grind (compared to bread or whole wheat flour) and usually has an average gluten content so the dough should be strong enough to shape but still bake into a soft crust.
The type of gluten in all-purpose flour is different, however, than Tipo 00. All-purpose flour is usually milled from red wheat, at least in the US and Canada, which means the gluten is strong but elastic. This works well for baking a loaf of bread, but for something like pizza that needs to be shaped by hand it can be cumbersome.
When using all-purpose flour you may find the dough is quite elastic, meaning when you stretch it out it snaps right back into a ball. For this reason, I recommend using a highly hydrated pizza dough recipe when using all-purpose – at least 70% hydration or more for best results. This will weaken the gluten and make it easier to shape.
Be sure to let the dough proof at room temperature for several hours before using to help the gluten relax even more.
And if you need a high-hydration pizza dough recipe, check mine out here.
Can Pizza Flour Be Used For Baking?
You can use 00 pizza flour in place of all-purpose or bread flour for baking, but in most cases you probably wouldn’t want to simply because 00 flour is harder to find and more expensive. At least in North America.
With that being said, there are certainly lots of use cases where 00 might add a nice and soft texture to whatever you’re baking.
For example, soft, fluffy dinner rolls will work out very well if made with 00 flour. I’ve even made cinnamon rolls with left over 00 pizza dough that turned out fantastic and light.
On the other hand, something like sandwich bread which requires a firmer texture probably isn’t going to work using pizza flour.
To put it simply, pizza flour is good for soft and light baking, while not so good for anything you want to be crusty and chewy.
Can Pizza Flour Be Used For Pasta?
Pizza flour can absolutely be used to make pasta, assuming that you’re referring to tipo 00 flour. In fact, 00 flour is one of the preferred flour types for making pasta in Italy, along with semola flour.
Tipo 00 pizza flour is soft and finely ground, making it perfect for making pasta that has strength to the bite while also being delicate and with a subtle flavor. This is exactly the kind of qualities you want to have in a pasta paired with a delicious sauce.
Where To Buy 00 Flour
If you live in or around a medium to large sized city, chances are there are plenty of shops that are fully stocked with all kinds of pizza flour – both imported and domestic.
In my experience, the stores most likely to stock pizza flour are the smaller markets focused on organic foods. For example, my local big box supermarket doesn’t carry pizza flour while my local Whole Foods type market has lots of choices ranging from imported Italian tipo 00 to locally milled organic pizza flour.
Your best bet is to call and ask if your local market carries pizza flour and, if not, what other stores might stock it.
Thankfully, if you can’t find pizza flour or you live in a smaller town with fewer markets, you can always order it online. Amazon is a great choice for this as they have lots of options including several Caputo brand flours which are widely considered to be among the best in the world for making pizza.
My current favorite is Caputo’s “Chef’s Flour” line of Tipo 00 pizza flour that’s perfect for long fermentations due to it’s stronger grains and high water absorption.
Caputo’s “Chefs Flour” 00 Pizza Flour
Pizza flour is another term for tipo 00 flour, but don’t get too caught up in the names because other kinds of flours can make good pizza as well.
The best kind of flour for pizza is a soft wheat flour with a high amount of gluten that’s strong but not super elastic. This means your dough will be strong but easily pliable and bake into a crust that’s chewy but not tough.
But while many types of flour can make a good pizza, the best kind of pizza flour is tipo 00 flour, in particular something like Caputo’s “Chef’s Flour” line of tipo 00 flour. This is because this kind of flour has the perfect combination of protein, water absorbability and finely ground grains. So if you have this kind of flour available to you, I highly recommend it over all-purpose or bread flour.