00 flour is one of the best types of flour for pizza dough. But what exactly does 00 mean? And what is the best brand?
Here is everything you need to know about Caputo 00 flour.
What is 00 Flour?
First of all, let’s look at 00 flour. Flours milled in Italy are usually graded by a series of zeros. These indicate the coarseness or fineness of the flour. Very fine flour is a 000 flour. Coarser flour is a 0 flour.
So, 00 flour is somewhere in the middle. Meaning that it is still relatively coarse but isn’t fine or powdery either. 00 flour is the most common kind of flour you will find. If you pick up a bag of “plain flour” from the store, it will likely have a 00 consistency.
What is Caputo?
Rather than a type of flour, Caputo is a brand. Caputo has been making flour since 1924. They are considered by many to be the gold standard of flour. This is especially true for their 00 flour.
Caputo is an Italian brand that is based in Naples, which is the home of pizza. So, if you want a truly authentic pizza then you need to use Caputo. You can be sure that Caputo isn’t the sort of brand that only claims to be authentic and Italian in order to sell its products.
It is said that Caputo is the most popular flour in Naples. So, it’s a pizza flour made in Naples and loved by Neapolitan pizzerias. What else do you need to know? You simply cannot do better than Caputo.
What’s so Special About Caputo 00 Flour?
Caputo’s 00 flour is specifically called “00 Americana”. This has been specially designed for American style pizzas. So we recommend giving this a go alongside the Caputo Pizzeria. This will give you a much more authentic pizza dough.
But, that doesn’t mean the Caputo 00 Americana is a bad flour. It simply won’t be the same as the more classic Neapolitan pizza dough.
What’s the Difference?
So, how is the Caputo 00 Americana different from the Caputo Pizzeria? This mostly comes down to the milling process.
00 flour is the preferred choice for many American pizza chefs. 00 flour, as mentioned above, is a flour of medium coarseness. It is also high in protein. It is produced through a slow milling process that ensures the integrity and strength of the protein and starch molecules.
The Caputo Pizzeria is different as it is finer and not milled so gently. The Caputo Pizzeria flour is milled so as to retain hydration.
The Caputo 00 flour is much thicker and denser than the Caputo Pizzeria. So, the choice is yours. If you want a classically thin Neapolitan pizza or a thicker American pizza.
Both flours are made from Italian and/or European flour. So they both retain a great sense of authenticity. Plus, a lot of pizzas that are considered “American” were introduced to the States by Italian immigrants. So they still have a great authentic history.
US 00 Flour vs Italian 00 Flour/Pizza Flour
You might be wondering how there can be so much variation when it comes to flour. But one reason for the difference is that the US and Europe have different grading systems for flour.
In the US, flour is graded based on its protein content. Whereas in Europe, and specifically in Italy, flour is graded on how finely it has been milled.
This is why 00 flour in Italy and 00 flour in America can be different. But this is one of the reasons for buying Caputo 00 flour. You can have something that you know and understand, such as 00 Americana flour, but it will still have the taste and texture of an authentic Italian pizza.
00 Flour vs Bread Flour
Pizza is made using a kind of bread base, so why can’t you use normal bread flour? Bread flour has high levels of protein. This is similar to the Caputo 00 Americana flour. Bread flour is usually a 00 flour.
But you don’t want something quite so thick and dense for a pizza. Especially if you want to make an authentic Italian pizza with a thin base. Bread flour would be okay if you had no other option. But, if you have Caputo 00 flour to hand, there is no reason to use anything else.
Why Caputo 00 Flour is so Great for Pizza
Caputo is one of (if not the) best brands for all kinds of flour. So, it makes sense that their 00 flour that has been specifically designed for pizza is the best pizza flour. This is pretty much the truth.
But why is Caputo 00 flour so great for pizza? Well, one of the reasons is due to the gluten content.
When it comes to dough, gluten is one of the most important factors. Gluten is the reason that dough is kneaded. Kneading activates the gluten which then combines all of the ingredients together.
If you don’t knead the dough, the ingredients won’t be properly combined and attached to each other. So the dough will not rise or become thick and dense as you knead it to.
Even for a traditionally thin Italian pizza, you still need to knead. The dough has to be kneaded and then stretched. Otherwise, it won’t be smooth or crisp up properly.
So, when choosing a pizza flour, you want something that has a low gluten content. This can vary but should be around 12%. The gluten content of Caputo 00 flour is 12.5%. So, it is ideal for pizza as it won’t be too tough and chewy but also won’t fall apart.
How to Use Caputo 00 Flour
As Caputo 00 flour is a professional flour, you might have some difficulty using it in your standard recipe. You also might have some difficulty if you don’t have your own pizza oven.
Caputo 00 flour is designed to be used by professionals who have their own pizza ovens. If you’re so keen about making pizza that you have stumbled onto this particular article about a niche flour, then we’re guessing you’re something of a pizza making aficionado.
But, just in case, here are a couple of tips for using Caputo 00 flour. Both with a standard kitchen oven and a pizza oven.
- Water. Water is one of the most important ingredients when making pizza. This is because the water binds the dry ingredients together. So, if you already have a standard pizza recipe and are swapping in Caputo 00 flour for plain flour, you will also have to adjust the other ingredients.
Some 00 flour is very similar to the standard flour you would come across in the grocery store. But this can depend massively on where you live, the grocery store you use, and the brand you use. So, as a general rule, flour needs a hydration level of 65%. This is easy enough to work out in measurements as for every 100g of flour you use, you need 65ml of water. Or for every cup of flour, you need a third of a cup of water.
- Turn up the heat. When you’re cooking a pizza at home, it normally takes around 7 to 10 minutes. Or even longer if it has been frozen. But this isn’t how pizza is supposed to be cooked. Pizza is traditionally cooked in only 60 seconds or so. Pizza is traditionally very thin. Deep pan pizzas are a modern invention.
So, if you want to cook your pizza properly and traditionally, you need to cook it on a very high heat. This should be at least 800°. This is easily achieved in a pizza oven. But this is a very high temperature for a standard kitchen oven.
Chances are, your oven only goes up to around 450°. So, unless you’re willing to invest in a pizza oven (which, if you love pizza we definitely recommend!) you won’t be able to get that kind of heat.
It is a good idea to turn your oven up high and cook your pizza quickly. You might even be able to get it hotter if you have a gas oven with a fire at the back. You shouldn’t do this too often. But every once in a while is fine.
So, that’s just about everything there is to know about Caputo 00 flour. But, just to reiterate the main points: Caputo is the best, most authentic flour you can use for your pizza.
It is beloved by pizza chefs across the US but also in Italy, especially in Naples. With that in mind, we don’t know how you can choose any other.
So we recommend you go out and grab yourself a bag of it now.