October 14, 2013

Italian 00 Flour Pizza

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When I joined a baking community a few years ago, a lot of bakers recommended Italian 00 flour which has a lower gluten content and is finer in texture than American all-purpose flour. They promised the pizzas and breads made with this flour would be more flavorful and fragrant. This type of flour though was not available at the time but King Arthur started selling a similar flour although some bakers said the pizzas they baked with it didn't have the same aroma and flavor. How can they tell with all the toppings on the pizza? Texture, maybe, and bite too but I'm not sure about the "fragrance" of the dough. I bought a small bag of imported Italian 00 flour from our local grocery store, Giant, so probably they will start appearing in most stores. One thing for sure with this flour, it makes perfect Neapolitan style pizza with its signature crispy tender crust. I have to bake another batch with minimal toppings using this flour and ordinary all-purpose flour for a taste and aroma test.

Italian 00 flour makes crispy, airy, and tender Napoletana pizza crust 

The following recipe is from a previous Pizza post. Substitute Italian Tipo 00 Flour for the all-purpose flour.

Peter's notes:
The dough does not need "lip", but one inevitably occurs because the edge is usually thicker than the center and it doesn't have any sauce to hold it down. Do not try to build up the edges by crimping because you want it to bubble up on its own and create a light, airy crumb.
Neapolitan-style Pizza 
adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
4½ cups [20.25 ounces] unbleached all purpose flour, chilled
1¾ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1¾ cups [14 ounces] ice cold water (40°F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 zipper freezer bags

  • Sift together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir in the water until all the flour is absorbed, and mix for about 5 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for up to 7 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and registers 50° to 55°F.
  • Sprinkle flour on a work surface. Using a metal scraper, cut the dough into 5 equal pieces. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and form into balls. Place the oil in a bowl and roll each ball in the oil and place in separate bags. Place the bags in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or place some in the freezer for up to 3 months (transfer the frozen doughs in the refrigerator one day before you plan to bake them).
  • On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired amount of dough balls from the refrigerator.
  • Dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about ½ inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours.
  • At least 45 minutes before baking, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest heat setting [my oven's highest is 525°F]. (The tiles stay permanently on the bottom-most rack of my oven for convenience.)
  • Place a large sheet of parchment on your peel or generously dust with semolina flour. Make the pizza one at a time. Dip your hands including the back and knuckles in flour and gently lift one piece of dough with the help of a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion, giving it a stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick, lay it down on the floured surface and reflour your hands, then continue shaping. If you are brave enough, toss the dough up in the air.
sauteed green and orange sweet peppers, onions, cherry tomato confit
sliced black olives,  marinated baby artichokes halves, turkey pepperoni
Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella

cherry tomato confit, sauteed onions and mushrooms, sliced black olives
sliced pickled caperberries, sweet red bell peppers, marinated artichoke halves
Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella
  • When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction, lay it on the paper-lined or semolina dusted peel. Lightly top it with your toppings and slide the pizza, including parchment, on the stone and close the door. 
For pizza and other rustic breads I use 6-inch unglazed quarry tiles (33 cents each). 
They get really hot and do a great job of searing the bottom better than a pizza stone. 
They are also conveniently mobile and can easily be moved from oven to the outdoor grill.
  • The pizza should take about 10 to 12 minutes to bake. Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 minutes before slicing and serving to allow the cheese to set slightly.


Winnie said...

!st - the pizza looks FANTASTIC !!!
I just want to grab a slice :)

2nd - any recipe of Peter Reinhart is a recipe I need to try

Anonymous said...

May I know where you purchased your 00 flour in singapore ?

Oggi said...

I'm in the USA, not in Singapore. Sorry.

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