Flour differences


I've been using Caputo blue flour but read a lot about other flours. My go to recipe is 63% hydration and I use a little more than 0.5% yeast, for some reason I like the smell/flavor that some find off putting. Are there other flours that work better or taste better? Just wondering what the differences are.

Gregory McCarty
posted about 2 years ago

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Hi Gregory,

Most flours look the same (e.g. white powder), but the difference in the end result can be quite noticeable, all other things being equal. Flours typically fall into these categories: all purpose, 00, bread and high gluten.

For pizza making you can use all four types. The high gluten flours will be "stronger" and is typically used for New York style pizzas. All purpose tends to be used for deep dish pizzas and many other styles. It's lower in protein. Bread flour falls in between all purpose and high gluten as far as protein goes and is versatile. 00 flour is low in protein, finely milled and is very often associated with Neapolitan style pizzas.

Flour is a very important part of the equation, but there's also other variables that can affect "performance" and taste including oil, sugar, malt, eggs, etc...

Hope this helps.
-Raj

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted about 2 years ago


That is helpful because I thought 00 Caputo was a high gluten flour. I am aware of the different classifications of flour, clearly not where each one fits, but I'm more wanting to know the difference in their flavor and texture after they have been cooked. I do understand that would depend on recipe but are their base flavor/texture characteristics of each one?

Gregory McCarty
posted about 2 years ago


Caputo makes a variety of flours with different protein levels. I went to their website, and it looks like the blue bag ("pizzeria") flour is a fairly high protein flour; not on the level of Tony's 00 or Power Flour, but on the high end of the bread flour spectrum.

For what it's worth, 00 is a degree of milling rather than a particular type of flour, so it's not an especially relevant consideration in your question.

The flavor characteristics of a flour will be more a function of the wheat that's milled for the flour (what variety, when it is grown, where it is grown, how it is grown) than the protein content of the flour. The Pizza Bible has the best overview I've read of specific flours you'd use for pizzas and their characteristics, including the flavor profiles. I don't remember which page it's on, but it's just one of the many really helpful tables in the book.

I don't know what flavor you're aiming for, but the longer a dough ferments, the more likely it is to have a somewhat off/acidic scent; old whole wheat flour has a bitter and somewhat rancid flavor that many people find offputting, and I hope that's not what you're trying for.

A thought: After you make your poolish or starter, monitor how the smell changes as the poolish/starter ages.

Adam Sachs
posted about 2 years ago


Thanks. The flavor I'm going for would be a rich wheat flavor, not the bleached white bread taste that I really don't enjoy. Almost nutty to go along with the smoky char. I used to cook at a restaurant 15 or so years ago that had a sourdough starter that was over 70 years old and our bread was amazing. My starter is a few months old and has a nice acidity but still quite a fresh smell so I'm using that. It's only had Caputo blue in it.

Gregory McCarty
posted about 2 years ago


I associate what you call the white bread taste with overly yeasted short rise. I'd try a natural starter with a high hydration (100 percent or so) and I'd recommend a 2-3 day fermentation of the dough, and see how that flavor works. Tony has a great recipe for a bran starter in the book, and it makes a nice sweet flavorful starter.

Adam Sachs
posted about 2 years ago


And if you aren't already baking on a baking steel, make that adjustment--it makes an enormous difference in the flavor of the crust.

Adam Sachs
posted about 2 years ago


Another way to add the rich wheat flavor is to add other flours that are not just the endosperm. I recently made a batch of the basic dough with the starter, and added a bit of whole wheat and rye to just the tiga (1/2 All Trumps bromated, 1/4 whole wheat, and 1/4 rye IIRC). Just that small amount of whole wheat and rye gave it a much nuttier/wholesome flavor. I've used a similar technique on Ciabatta for years, but for some reason the difference was more pronounced on the pizza.

Mark S.
posted about 2 years ago


Awesome info, thanks. My starter is 100% hydration and I'll try the bran too. late night spontaneous flour purchasing about to happen.

Gregory McCarty
posted about 2 years ago


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