Tuesday, September 7, 2010

00 Flour for Pizza

Pear and Walnut
As I mentioned last week, Anna picked up some of the famed "00" flour imported from Italy for Neapolitan pizza making in Maine this past weekend. What is 00 flour?  It's pretty well explained here... but in short, the numbers just mean the fineness of the grind (of which 00 is the finest)... and has nothing to do with the protein content that American bakers are concerned with... a 00 flour could be anything from 6%-14%. However, as long as you are buying flour labeled for bread or pizza, it's going to be pretty high protein... the equivalent of our bread flour. The difference is that the type of wheat used in Italian flours (durum), allegedly doesn't produce gluten with the same chewiness that our own red summer wheat does. So when American pizza makers try to make a Neapolitan style pizza without Italian flour they end up using lower gluten flours (like all purpose) to lower the chew or soften a bread flour dough with olive oil (Reinhart).

So how did it go? Not well enough to fully review the flour. I didn't let the pizza stone heat up enough, so the bottom of the crust was not well browned by the time the toppings were starting to burn... so while the crust was noticeably softer, I can't rule out that this was caused by it being slightly underdone. It's funny how used I am to baking bread/pizzas in my crappy apartment oven, that using a really fancy nice one threw me off my game so badly.

I think what I'll do is make a batch of 00 pizza dough to freeze with the standard Reinhart dough we already have...  and then do some side by side comparisons.

Oh, and for the vegans out there...  we tried Daiya mozzarella style shreds on some of the pizzas, and while I'm no fan of vegan "cheese" in general, this stuff was pretty good.