Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

November 3, 2009


Baking With “00″ Flour

Calling all bakers-I need help! What’s up with “00” flour- the flour used in Italy to make their delicate pasta and spectacular baked goods? I keep seeing recipes calling for this flour and it’s not easy to find here. The last time I was up at the amazing restaurant supply store Surfas in Los Angeles, I decided to purchase a large container of it. I had fantasies of the delectable Italian specialties that I’d be baking, now that I had the proper flour. I could barely wait to get into the kitchen and get baking.

The first time I tried the “00” flour I made a pizza dough which I promptly threw in the trash. I figured it was the recipe. Next time I used it for pasta dough for ravioli. I’ve made homemade pasta many times so I figured these would be the ravioli of my dreams-not. I could tell while I was kneading the dough that something was different and in the end, I also tossed this dough.

Yesterday I decided to make a stuffed foccacia that I saw in “Taste of Italia”. The fillings were sauteed escarole, onions and sharp provolone topped with tomatoes, roasted peppers and oregano. I started early in the day making the dough and once I again I thought “what is up with this stuff?”. It didn’t seem smooth and elastic and it took forever to rise. I should have gone with my initial instinct and started over with regular unbleached flour. No, I went ahead with my “00” experiment and in the end was once again disappointed!

It doesn’t look too bad, and J. was a willing taster and proclaimed that he liked it. I thought it was tough and made a decision right then that I’ll be re-making this over the weekend, using regular flour and another dough recipe.

What am I missing with the use of “00” flour?


8 thoughts on “Baking With “00″ Flour

  1. I hoard up OO flour every time I go to Italy, because it is cheap (79 cents a bag vs. $8 in a specialty shop here). I probably have 5 bags in my pantry.

    The next time you use it, try half regular flour, and half OO. It makes fabulous Babbo’s breadsticks from Dolce Italiano.

  2. 00 flour does sometimes come under other names – over here it is often sold as pasta flour or pizza/ciabatta flour. I think it is a finer grind than our plain flour, but I have to say we always use it for pizzas and ciabattas – we don’t make our own pasta (yet!). I find that the pizzas get closer to the authentic with 00, less doughy/bready, but maybe it is a matter of taste. And maybe our alternatives are different from yours. I know that north American wheats are harder, and more suited to commercial breadmaking (higher gluten content) than UK wheats, which in recent history have been used more for feed and biscuit making, so perhaps you are expecting it to rise more because of what you are used to. Perhaps you need more/less yeast? The gluten content might well be different from what you have used before – or it is always possible that it was an old batch, and that is the reason for failure, not you or the recipe!

    Pomona x

  3. Pomona and Palma-thanks for the info, although I do feel like a baking failure! Palma-I am going to make those bread sticks this weekend. Do you use it for pasta? Pomona-I’m going to read up on using this flour and see what I can deduce.

  4. I still use regular flour for pasta. Maybe my next batch I will try it half and half with 00. The only other thing I have used the 00 for is half and half for Gina’s taralli. YUM!

  5. 00 flour is more refined than regular “all purpose” flour that we have here in the States. It has a higher level of protein in it with the exception of the King Arthur flour which has a lower protein content. Go Figure! Because it is so fine, sometimes one can add too much flour because it comes out rather sticky.

    I have tried it in certain pie dough recipes but did find it a bit more difficult to work with than the all purpose flour we have here in the States. I used the one from Italy as opposed to the King Arthur’s which I can’t get here where I live.

    Just a note, even though is it soft like pastry flour, the two are NOT interchangeable. Good luck with the experiments and let us know how they go!

  6. Not to worry Panini Girl I have 00 coming for you. I’ll bring it to the shop as soon as it arrives. I can’t wait to try something you bake with it.

  7. I am sympathetic with you. I have tried to make pizza with “00” flour and it doesn’t rise. I first mad it with some of this flour that was possibly “old” and it took forever to first rise and died on the second rise. I therefore purchased new “00” flour and new active dry yeast and it still takes forever to rise. Does it need more yeast than American bread flour?

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