Baking and cooking can be an art form and the more knowledge you have about the different ingredients used, the better! Understanding the differences between All Purpose and 00 Flour will help you improve your pasta and pizza dough recipes!
It’s no secret that baking and cooking requires skill and patience, but it also requires knowledge. It’s helpful to know what each ingredient in your dish does and the most common substitutes to ensure your recipes come out perfectly every time!
One ingredient that can be confusing is flour. It is one of the most common ingredients in the kitchen, but most people stick to what they know and don’t explore how different varieties can affect their cooking. There are dozens of different types of flour and each one is designed for a specific purpose.
In general, for cakes, cookies, and all-around use, All Purpose Flour is the most common type of flour. If you really want to become an expert at making pasta and authentic pizza, then 00 Flour is an ingredient you should become acquainted with. The best pizza and pasta begin with the best flour!
What is Flour Made Of?
Before we jump into a description of 00 Flour and All Purpose Flour, it’s important to know where flour comes from.
There are several kinds of flour made from different ingredients (like oat flour, rice flour, chickpea flour, almond flour, and other seeds and plants), but most wheat and white flours are made from different parts of wheat.
Wheat kernels are made of three parts: The germ, the bran, and the endosperm. The germ is the core of the kernel, containing the fats and oils. The endosperm is the next layer inside of the kernel and contains the most starch and protein. The endosperm is the largest portion of the kernel. The bran is the tough exterior of the kernel which carries fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Whole wheat flour is the result of grinding the entire kernel. Less bran makes for a whiter, fluffier flour. There are many different Italian flours given a number grade to describe how finely it has been ground. 0 is very fine and 2 is the coarsest grain.
Different types of wheat are used for different types of flours and each contains different amounts of protein and a different amount of gluten. Some strains of wheat can also be mixed to create flours that are just right for their intended purpose.
What is 00 Flour?
00 Flour, or doppio zero flour, is an Italian flour made from only the interior of the wheat kernel that has been ground extra fine. It has only refined grains and does not contain any bran or germ.
In addition to leaving out the bran and the germ, the endosperm is milled into an incredibly fine powder, making it even finer than a 0-grade flour.
Double zero flour is made from durum wheat, a hard wheat, which also has a lower gluten content and higher protein, which makes it great for stretching and rolling and producing a crisp pizza crust. It is often called pizza flour for this reason.
What is All Purpose Flour?
All Purpose Flour is a plain flour, designed to be good enough for all different kinds of recipes.
It’s a white flour made up of a mixture of different types of wheat, with a medium amount of protein and gluten. This makes it suitable for making cookies, cakes, bread, pasta and more. While it CAN be used for all these different dishes, it may not necessarily be the best for all these dishes.
When you compare All Purpose Flour and 00 Flour you can see the difference in texture. 00 Flour is very fine flour, with a texture like baby powder.
The finer the texture of the flour, the less water is needed for the recipe. The fine texture of 00 Flour makes for a smooth and elastic dough that requires less liquid to come together. It stretches easily and when baked, creates a texture that is light and crispy and perfect for thin-crust pizzas.
All Purpose Flour is less fine and when mixed into a dough it makes a dough that is more spongy.
Dough made with all-purpose flour will not be as easy to stretch or work with. Pizza crust may tear more easily.
Protein and Gluten
Both of these flours contain gluten and protein, but how it reacts with liquid and stretching is the main difference.
Most 00 Flours have a slightly higher protein content of 12 to 13 percent, which results in a dough that is dense and with a chewy crust. Less protein will create a lighter texture.
All Purpose Flour has less protein, making it slightly fluffier. Cake flour has even less protein, which makes it a good choice for sponge cake and other baked desserts.
Both of these flours have a high gluten content. The gluten in 00 Flour is more elastic, meaning when you stretch your dough it will keep its shape better. All Purpose Flour has strong gluten which can make a dough harder to work with.
All flour should be stored in a cool, dry place.
All Purpose Flour can be stored for 6 to 8 months, while 00 Flour has a slightly shorter shelf life of just six months.
Flour should be stored in an airtight container to keep it away from bugs and pests.
Whether or not 00 Flour is a good substitute for all-purpose flour depends on the recipe you are making. For the perfect pizza and pasta, you can substitute 00 Flour for all-purpose flour in most recipes. You may need to use less liquid than in regular flour recipes.
For cakes, cookies, and other baked goods 00 Flour may not be a good substitute because it is more dense than all-purpose flour.
It is not typical to find 00 Flour on most grocery store shelves. You can place an order for it online but if you are looking for a substitute close to home, bread flour may be the best substitute.
Bread flour has a similar protein content to 00 Flour so it creates a similar density, but it may require a bit more liquid than your recipe calls for because it is not ground as fine as 00.
00 Flour is good for pizza dough because the fine texture requires less hydration to work with and the high protein creates a chewy texture, with just the right crisp around the edges like a traditional Neapolitan pizza. The low gluten development also makes the dough more elastic, making it perfect for stretching to a thin crust.
It is absolutely possible to make homemade pasta from all-purpose flour, but if you are interested in taking your pasta-making game to the next level, 00 Flour is recommended.
00 Flour creates a dough that is easier to work with and holds its shape well which is perfect for pasta.
Most experts recommend cooking pizza dough made with 00 Flour at a high temperature for the perfect, crispy crust. It performs well in wood-fired ovens. However, 00 Flour does not require being cooked at a very high temperature.
00 Flour starts with very high-quality wheat and is refined and then milled several times to create the very best texture. The fine grind takes time and precision, which makes it a more expensive flour than standard flour. Once you try working with this flour you can be the judge of whether or not it is worth it!
00 Flour is not sold in the flour aisle of most grocery stores so it can be a bit hard to purchase. You may find it in specialty baking stores but your best bet is to purchase it online on Amazon or through a specialty flour producer.
00 Flour is not gluten-free. It is made with wheat kernels and produces gluten. It may have less gluten than other types of flours or the gluten may behave differently, but it should not be eaten by anyone who is celiac or has a gluten intolerance.