Type 00 Flour (Another of Italy’s Gifts to the World)
In my flour series, I’ve explained Why I Use the “Good” Flour (’cause I care), talked about Flour in Germany (Mehl) (what do all those numbers even mean?), and even told you How to Make Your Own Cake Flour (saves you a dime or two). This time I’ll try to describe the indescribable goodness of Italy’s Type 00 (double-zero) flour.
When researching the German flour types, whose numbers indicate how much whole grain the flour contains (the higher the number, the more whole wheat bran and germ is in there), I ran across Type 00 flour.
The label was in Italian, and I was intrigued. Turns out, this silky marvel is the finest grind of flour EVER! The “00” doesn’t indicate the same thing as the German numbers. Instead, Italy’s flour grading system has types 2, 1, 0, and 00. Type 2 is the coarsest and closest to whole wheat flour. Type 1 is finer, and type 0 is finer yet. Type 00 is ground about as fine as you can grind flour. And none of the bran or germ is left in. It’s very, very, very refined.
It should come as no surprise that 00 is best used in pizza and pasta. They use it almost exclusively in Napoli, Italy, the reputed birthplace of pizza. Although you can substitute American AP flour (or German 405) in recipes calling for 00, the texture will be much chewier.
Because I’d never encountered type 00 before living in Germany, I wondered if I would be able to find it in the States. I even considered bringing some back with me when we moved. But I shouldn’t have worried. Caputo Type 00 is readily available in the USA.
I got mine at Whole Foods, and sometimes my local supermarket has it. You can order it on Amazon, too. It’s more expensive than most of the other flours on the shelf, but it’s worth it. I buy it when I see it and keep it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it.
In addition to pizza and pasta, you can bake other things with type 00, too, such as cakes. Italian apple cake springs to mind, and I’ll be sharing that recipe with you in the very near future!