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Decoding 00 Flour: Unraveling Its Distinctions from Bread Flour

Understanding 00 Flour: A guide to its uses and how it differs from bread flour

Flour is an essential ingredient in baking, and with the wide variety available on grocery store shelves, choosing the right type can be overwhelming. Among the many options, you may come across 00 flour, a specific type of flour commonly used in Italian cooking for thin-crust pizzas and homemade pasta. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at what exactly 00 flour is, its unique characteristics, and how it differs from bread flour.

What is 00 flour and its culinary applications?

00 flour, often referred to as doppio zero flour, is a finely milled wheat flour that is considered the gold standard in Italian cuisine. The “00” designation refers to the fineness of the grind, with 00 flour being the finest available. Imagine a handful of regular flour compared to a pile of baby powder-that’s the difference in texture between the two.
This European classification system differs from the American system, which classifies flours based on protein content. While protein content affects gluten formation, fineness of grind characterizes European flours. It’s worth noting, however, that different types of 00 flour can vary in protein content, although most 00 flour found in American stores has a protein content similar to that of all-purpose flour.

Caputo: The gold standard in 00 flour

When it comes to experiencing authentic Italian pizza, Caputo flour is highly regarded by pizzerias in Naples. Approximately 80% of these establishments use Caputo flour, which speaks to its quality and reputation. Caputo offers different types of 00 flour, each suitable for specific culinary purposes.
Caputo’s Blue 00 flour is the coarsest in their 00 line and is ideal for making pizzas with a thin center and thick edges. It serves as a versatile all-purpose pizza flour. The Red 00 flour, on the other hand, is better suited for thinner crust pizzas. If you’re planning a special Italian dinner and want to make dishes like gnocchi or ravioli, the Caputo flour in the brown bag is perfect for these delicacies.

The role of gluten in 00 flour

One of the main reasons 00 flour is preferred for pizza dough is its effect on gluten formation. Gluten is responsible for the crust’s chewiness. When bread flour is used for pizza dough, the higher gluten content makes the dough more springy and resistant to stretching. Bread flour typically contains up to 13 or 14 percent gluten.
In comparison, Caputo 00 flour has a slightly lower gluten content, around 12 percent. This lower gluten content provides a balance that results in a chewy crust without becoming rubbery. In addition, dough made with Caputo 00 flour develops nice puffs and bubbles during baking, which enhances the overall texture and flavor of the pizza.

Adjusting water content for 00 flour

If you decide to substitute 00 flour for your favorite pizza dough recipe, it’s important to consider the water content. Water content plays a critical role in achieving the desired consistency. Too little water can result in a dry, dense crust, while too much water makes the dough sticky and difficult to work with.
Most standard recipes account for these variations, but if you’re substituting 00 flour for bread flour, adjustments will be necessary. Moisture is measured by ratios, such as the amount of water relative to the weight of flour. Because 00 flour is finely ground, the standard amount of water called for in a recipe may make the dough too runny. It’s wise to find a recipe specifically for 00 flour or be prepared for some trial and error to find the perfect proportions.

The importance of oven temperature for 00 flour pizza dough

Perfecting a pizza crust can be a complex endeavor, and the type of oven you have plays a significant role. While 00 flour is considered the authentic choice for Neapolitan-style pizza, it requires a super-hot oven to achieve optimal results.
Jeff Varasano, owner of Varasano’s Pizzeria, suggests that 00 flour works best in ovens that reach temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. At cooler temperatures, the desired browning and texture may not be achieved. For slightly lower temperatures, such as 720 degrees, a blend of flours, primarily bread flour, may be a suitable alternative.
It’s worth noting that other flours with higher sugar content tend to burn at extreme temperatures. However, 00 flour, with its low sugar content, cooks perfectly and gives the pizza crust the desired characteristics.

00 flour compared to bread flour

While 00 flour is excellent for thin crust pizza and homemade pasta, it’s important to recognize that bread flour can also be used for these applications. Bread flour, with its higher protein content, provides a chewier texture and a more substantial crust. It’s a popular choice for those who prefer a heartier pizza or pasta dough.
When deciding between 00 flour and bread flour, consider the specific result you want. If you’re looking for a thin, delicate crust or homemade pasta with a soft and tender texture, 00 flour is the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer a chewier, more substantial crust or a pasta with a bit more bite, bread flour can deliver those results.
Ultimately, the choice between 00 flour and bread flour comes down to personal preference and the specific recipe you’re working with. Experimentation and taste testing can help you determine which flour best suits your culinary goals.

Availability of 00 flour

Finding 00 flour in your local grocery store can be a challenge, especially if you’re not in an area with a significant Italian culinary influence. However, with the rise in popularity of artisan and specialty food stores, as well as online shopping options, sourcing 00 flour has become more accessible than ever.
Specialty food stores, gourmet markets, and online retailers often carry a variety of 00 flour brands, including the revered Caputo brand. Additionally, if you have access to a local Italian market or bakery, they may carry 00 flour or be able to point you in the right direction.
Remember to check the protein content and specific characteristics of the 00 flour you choose, as these can vary from brand to brand. Experimenting with different brands can also bring interesting flavor profiles and textures to your culinary creations.


Understanding the differences between 00 flour and bread flour is essential to achieving the desired results in your Italian culinary endeavors. While 00 flour is prized for its fine texture, delicate crumb and chewy yet tender consistency, bread flour offers a heartier, chewier crust and pasta dough.
Consider the specific application and desired result when choosing between 00 flour and bread flour. Experimentation, recipe adjustments, and personal taste preferences will guide you in finding the perfect flour for your pizza, pasta, or other Italian culinary creations.
Although 00 flour may require some hunting, the availability of specialty stores and online shopping options has made it more accessible. Embrace the culinary adventure, explore different brands of 00 flour, and enjoy the flavors and textures it brings to your homemade Italian dishes.


What is 00 flour and how is it different from bread flour?

00 flour is a finely milled wheat flour commonly used in Italian cuisine, especially for thin crust pizzas and homemade pasta. Its main difference from bread flour is that it is finely ground and has a lower gluten content, resulting in a softer and more delicate texture.

Can I replace bread flour with 00 flour in my recipes?

Yes, you can substitute 00 flour for bread flour in certain recipes, especially those that call for a softer and more delicate texture. However, it’s important to note that the lower gluten content of 00 flour may affect the texture and chewiness of the final product. Adjustments to hydration levels and baking techniques may be necessary for optimal results.

Where can I find 00 flour?

While 00 flour is not readily available in all grocery stores, it can often be found in specialty food stores, gourmet markets, or online retailers. Italian markets or bakeries may also carry 00 flour or have recommendations on where to find it.

Is Caputo flour the only 00 flour brand available?

No, Caputo flour is a well known brand of 00 flour, especially known for its quality in Italian cuisine. However, there are other brands on the market that offer different variations of 00 flour. Exploring different brands can provide unique flavor profiles and textures in your culinary creations.

What adjustments should I make when using 00 flour for pizza dough?

When using 00 flour for pizza dough, it’s important to consider the water content. Due to its fine texture, 00 flour absorbs less water than bread flour. Adjust the water content by gradually adding water until the desired consistency is achieved. It’s recommended to follow a recipe specifically designed for 00 flour or be prepared to experiment to find the perfect proportions.

Can I use 00 flour for other baking purposes?

While 00 flour is commonly associated with Italian cuisine, it can be used for other baking purposes. Its finely ground texture and lower gluten content make it suitable for delicate pastries, cakes and cookies. Keep in mind, however, that the specific characteristics of 00 flour can affect the final texture and structure of the baked goods, so recipe adjustments and experimentation may be necessary.

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