Know Your Flour

From a culinary sense, flour is a powder which can be made from many different cereal grains.  Wheat flour is the primary ingredient in pizza crust.  Wheat flour is produced from grinding the wheat berry (the seed) that is formed when a wheat plant is mature.  The type of wheat and the other ingredients determine the characteristics of the finished product.  Wheat is classified according to the bran color, the growing season, and the kernel hardness.

HIGH GLUTEN FLOUR – Milled from high protein spring wheat, making it high in gluten.  Creates a crispy NY style pizza with a wonderful chew.  Protein levels are typically 13-14%.

H&R or ALL PURPOSE FLOUR – Made from a blend of hard wheat flours.  It is called all-purpose flour because it is intended for most baking needs for general household use, not commercial use.  Typically this flour contains a protein level of 9-11%.

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR – Flour milled from the whole grain, it contains all of the bran and germ from the wheat and berry.  It is used for breads, rolls and some pastries.  Because it contains the germ and bran, it retains vital nutrients.  Typical protein levels range from 11.5-14% and most whole wheat flours are enriched (contains vital nutrients).

BREAD FLOUR – A flour that typically has higher protein content than all-purpose flour, capable of producing breads and rolls of excellent quality.  Protein levels vary from 10.5-12%.  The flour is usually malted, enriched and can be unbleached or bleached.  Common applications include breads, pizza crusts and specialty baked goods.

SEMOLINA – A flour is made from the finest durum wheat.  The main difference is that semolina is more coarse in texture than traditional flour.  Most commonly, semolina flour is used to make pasta, but can also be used for other baking by blending with wheat flour.

00 FLOUR – Double 0 flour has the most refined texture and is silky soft.  These flours have an ash content of less than .5%.  For pizza these are usually “grano duro” from hard wheat with up to 11% protein but typically 9-9.5%.

PATENT FLOUR – The purest and highest-quality commercial what flour available.  A blend of winter and spring wheat, makes for terrific hand-tossed pizza with softer bite and nice stretch.  Perfect also for Italian breads.  Typically 11-12.5% protein.

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