What Flour Makes Great Pizza Flour?
When it comes to making pizza dough there is a lot to know. But it doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Here is some nice data about pizza flour.
Let’s start with the wheat kernel. It has three main parts. The germ is the smallest portion of the kernel and is filled with fat, vitamins, and minerals. That’s really the good stuff, but the germ is removed from white flour in the milling process. The bran comprises 14.5 percent of the kernel. This tough, protective outer coating is removed during the milling process for white flour but retained for whole-wheat flour. Bran gives wheat a lot of its fiber. The endosperm makes up about 82 percent of the kernel. It is primarily made up of starches and protein and provides the gluten that is used for the structure in baked goods and that’s what we get!. Home baking pizza recipes usually call for all purpose flour.
Understanding Pizza Flour All-Purpose
All-purpose flour is by far the most common flour found in the United States. It is a combination of hard and soft wheat. All-purpose flour usually contains about 8 to 11 percent gluten, the predominant protein in wheat flour. All-purpose flour is usually bleached or unbleached. Bleached flour is chemically treated and contains less protein than unbleached flour. Bleached flour is ideal for pie crusts, cookies, pancakes, quick bread and waffles. Unbleached flour is typically used for yeast bread and pastries such as puff pastries, éclairs, strudel and cream puffs and yes, home baked pizza! That is to say “home baked” It’s more softer and due to a lower protein level makes a softer dough. The funny thing is that most grocery stores only have this flour and not High Gluten. All-purpose flour also makes a nice Sicilian style pizza with a softer mouth feel. So don’t feel neglected if that the only flour you can find!
Understanding Pizza Flour High-Gluten
High-gluten flours are typically used for bread making. They typically contain 12 to 15 percent gluten. High-gluten flour is not as common as all-purpose flour and much harder to find at local grocery stores. It is often used for diabetic bread and artisan breads or mixed with other low-protein or low-gluten flours.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat flour. Gluten is what helps give the baked goods structure. Bakers use high-gluten flours because the higher gluten content gives pasta and bagels their complex, chewy structure. Artisan bread, especially those that are free form — such as French bread, baked without a bread pan — hold their structure in large part because of the gluten. Gluten powder can also be added to flour to make it more suitable for baking. So high-gluten flour is what I use for all my pizza. I like to keep it hydrated about 60% water to flour weight ratio. I also like to let my dough rise slow and give it three days to ferment in the refrigerator. This makes my dough have great cell structure and keeps it crispy!
There is also Italian Flour Known as 00 flour. Fine milled and used for Neapolitan Pizza. It produces soft pizza dough and is usually very hydrated that is to say wet and soft. It needs to be that way for the pizza is cooked at 900 f and that causes the dough to blister and burn so lots of water is needed. The Gluten level is usually about 11% and can make some great pizza too! So give all the flours a try you can’t go wrong. Then you can truly say what flour makes the best pizza!
Love Life, Love Flour, and Get Cooking!