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Richard Kilgore

Italian Flour - types and uses?

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I picked up a bag of Bel Aria Farina di grano tenero tipo "00". Can someone explain what kind of flour this is and what are its best uses. In what way is it different than flours generally available in the US?

And more generally, perhaps someone can explain the system of classifying flours in Italy.

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Just happen to have this handy-dandy chart bookmarked -- scroll down to Table IV.

Be sure to navigate back to the main page for additional reading... :cool:

Thanks for the references to the handy chart and interesting site.

I've previously ordered Italian Flour from King Arthur. I'm no baker, (except in name :biggrin: ), but I really couldn't tell any difference when I used it in the recipes I tried.

SB :wink:

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Thanks for the interesting chart. It looks like my bag of "00" is a low protein cake flour, right?

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00 is good for pasta.

Thanks, Linda. That's helpful. I can do something with that. Can you tell a difference when using "00" to make pasta vs using a US flour?

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I've used the KA Italian flour for homemade ravioli and it makes a much more tender dough, as you might expect. I'm not an expert on Itlain cooking but I believe you would use the 00 for filled pastas, not so much fettucine, linguine, etc.

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"00" Flour is used in making the fresh egg pastas of the North: tagliatelle, ravioli, etc. It's supposedly somewhere in between our cake flour and AP flour, protein-wise; substitutions for it often say 50-50 or 60-40 AP to cake. There's definitely a different texture to the dough when rolling it out, but to me it doesn't quite translate to a different texture and mouthfeel when cooked.

I've also read that it's used in making pizza dough, but the time I tried it, the pizzas came out unpleasantly crisp and crackly.

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I've used 00 for pizza dough and the dough was very tender and elastic for shaping, then grilled up beautifully.

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00 is good for pasta.

I bet you have solved the riddle by now, but just in case you have not: in Italy we classify flour by the extraction percentage: so you have wholewheat, then 2, then 1, then 0 and lastly 00, the more refined. This is what you would use for cakes, or pasta, but also fine bread and rolls. However, refining is one thing, proteins quite another, so there can be low gluten 00 and high gluten 00. The latter is what you would use for e.g. panettone and pandoro, that need a long fermentation times, while the former is what you would use for crostata and biscotti. If you want to be more precise, in Europe in general and in Italy in particular the thing to look for are the W and P/L ratios.I've expanded a bit more on these terms here. You should feel free to ask for the details, as any good "mulino" would send you the technical sheet for each of their flours.

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The lower gluten flours also absorb less liquids. Cookwise has a great chapter dedicated to doughs.

I sometimes use 00 for both pizza and pasta, and due to the low protein/gluten get much more tender dough, which is also easier to work. When I teach I start students with 00, and then go to the higher gluten dough.

Bakeries here get most of the hard wheat flour for bread, from Canada " Manitoba".

Usually the 00 is a low gluten , around 10 percent protein, unlike the hard wheat flour which is around 13.

PS I LOVE the thin crust crunchy pizza crust! better than a doughy thick crust for me in most places, although in Naples they have it down!

Most of the fab pizza places use Caputo flour which is 00

info on Caputo Pizza Flour "00"

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As mentioned by salutistagolosa "00" can be very high in gluten/protein. It isn't enough to say to use "00", the flour has to be matched by the purpose for which it is intended. It isn't such a problem in Italy where people know the system, but it is a problem outwith Italy were "00" has been equated with low gluten flour. I'm sure this has caused problems for some peoples cooking and baking. The is big difference between "Farina 00 per dolci soffici" and Farina 00 per pizza" for instance.

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true adam.. it is all very confusing. one must read the protein content of the flours, not trust the OO or O labeling.

When I want to make bread, I go to the bakery and buy bread flour as I cannot easily buy it in the stores.

in america to replace OO flour I usually suggest White lily from the south when making the pasta frolla.

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Simply because Italian flour does NOT exist.

Italian mills blend flours from alll over the world to to suit their needs for breads and pastas, mainly but these flours do not differ a lot from other countries produce.

What happens is some of these flours are sold in bulk and not available to the retail stores to people.

Just a bit of phone calls and leg work will produce good results for everyone.

Italian flour classification Tipo 0,00 and 000 coincides with other wheat producing countries like Argentina. You can verify Argentina wheat and milling classification charts they are available on internet.

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I'm not sure by what you mean by this? I'm not sure that anybody is suggesting that flour can only be "Italian" if it is made from Italian grain.

Ash content and extraction rate between flours (say Italian, French and German), but I'm not sure that this makes them the same. A single mill in Italy can produce a range of tipo 00 flours for different purposes for instance.

It might be true that different countries produce equivalent flours (one of the better 00 flours for pastry I used was Scottish), but in a practical sense for many it is easier and better to buy the Italian flours. In a typical Melbourne supermarket there is a range of flours sold, but the only flour that is a close match for the Italian tipo 00 flour is the imported Italian tipo 00 flour.

I haven't heard of an Italian tipo 000 flour, this is an Argentinian classification isn't it.

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I'm not sure by what you mean by this? I'm not sure that anybody is suggesting that flour can only be "Italian" if it is made from Italian grain.

Ash content and extraction rate between flours (say Italian, French and German), but I'm not sure that this makes them the same. A single mill in Italy can produce a range of tipo 00 flours for different purposes for instance.

It might be true that different countries produce equivalent flours (one of the better 00 flours for pastry I used was Scottish), but in a practical sense for many it is easier and better to buy the Italian flours. In a typical Melbourne supermarket there is a range of flours sold, but the only flour that is a close match for the Italian tipo 00 flour is the imported Italian tipo 00 flour.

I haven't heard of an Italian tipo 000 flour, this is an Argentinian classification isn't it.

It is amazing how many people actually believe in true Italian flours strnagely enough not the Italians he!he!

French is slightly different perhaps German bakers use similar since they do lots of pastry cooking but the ones prefer by Turkish bakers is the same.

Unfortunately we do not have in Melbourne the choice of flours available off the shelves so I buy bulk far cheaper these days.

Yes Argentinean classification has a tipo 000 grade as well.

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What I mean is that I never seen mention of tipo 000 flour in the Italian classification system.

So if we get away from the strict definiton that Italian flour doesn't exist as it isn't made from totally Italian produced grain and that while Italian mills produce a huge range of flours for specific uses there may be a similar product somewhere else in the world, the it would seem that for many people (say Australia and the UK) then the only real option for buying flour of a quality that is the same as Italian flour - is in fact to buy Italian flour.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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What I mean is that I never seen mention of tipo 000 flour in the Italian classification system.

So if we get away from the strict definiton that Italian flour doesn't exist as it isn't made from totally Italian produced grain and that while Italian mills produce a huge range of flours for specific uses there may be a similar product somewhere else in the world, the it would seem that for many people (say Australia and the UK) then the only real option for buying flour of a quality that is the same as Italian flour - is in fact to buy Italian flour.

Not so you can buy very good or excellent type 00 in Australia try Centurion 25kg farina tipo 00 made in Australia you'll be surprised how good it is.

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What I mean is that I never seen mention of tipo 000 flour in the Italian classification system.

So if we get away from the strict definiton that Italian flour doesn't exist as it isn't made from totally Italian produced grain and that while Italian mills produce a huge range of flours for specific uses there may be a similar product somewhere else in the world, the it would seem that for many people (say Australia and the UK) then the only real option for buying flour of a quality that is the same as Italian flour - is in fact to buy Italian flour.

Not so you can buy very good or excellent type 00 in Australia try Centurion 25kg farina tipo 00 made in Australia you'll be surprised how good it is.

I'm sure you are correct, but there is no chance of me using 25 kg of flour in a year, so not practical for me.

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I recently picked up some Farina di Farro from Umbria in a local Italian market here in NY. I've used whole farro before for salads, "farrotto", etc., but not the flour, which I would probably use to make pasta, presumably mixing it with some "00". Anybody use this product before, and if to use for pasta, in what kind of ratios? Thanks.

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Farro is the Italian word for "spelt". You basically use it as any other flour, just remember that farina di farro is normally quite low in gluten, so you might have to add a stronger flour, depending on what you're preparing (pasta, bread or else)

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Grazie mille. I will experiment with different ratios of the farro, "00" and maybe some fine semolina, mixed with egg, etc.

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Actually, farro is the general-purpose Italian word that can cover three different grains in the wheat family. There is farro piccolo, farro medio, and farro grande (also known as farro monococco, farro dicocco, and farro spelta). When someone says simply farro, they are referring to farro medio (aka emmer wheat), which is not the same thing as spelt. Spelt is typically called spelta. This is a constant source of confusion for non-Italian culinary types, as farro and spelt do not have similar cooking properties. Try making zuppa di farro or a "risotto" di farro with spelt grains instead of farro grains, and you will see what I mean.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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Actually, farro is the general-purpose Italian word that can cover three different grains in the wheat family.  There is farro piccolo, farro medio, and farro grande (also known as farro monococco, farro dicocco, and farro spelta).  When someone says simply farro, they are referring to farro medio (aka emmer wheat), which is not the same thing as spelt.  Spelt is typically called spelta.  This is a constant source of confusion for non-Italian culinary types, as farro and spelt do not have similar cooking properties.  Try making zuppa di farro or a "risotto" di farro with spelt grains instead of farro grains, and you will see what I mean.

The emmer is ancient, but the rise in emmer farro popularity is relatively recent, which can be seen in the 1996 date for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) of Farro della Garfagnana. I first was introduce to farro at around this date and even in Tuscany some products known simply as "farro" were actual spelt, not emmer.

Now it is this doesn't really happen, in fact the last few batches I've bought not only have the region where the emmer is grown, but also the species name on label

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