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Richard Kilgore

Italian Flour - types and uses?

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Adam, yes, you're right. I thought all 3 species were called spelt in English. I guess my English is needs constant improvment ;)

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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.
Count me among the confused.

Having just purchased an oven after six months, I'm anxious to get about baking. I read through this and related threads on Italian flour, went to the store, and spent 15 minutes trying to make sense of the variety of flours (and other baking items, which I'll post about later). I came home with:

* Lo Conte's "farina '0' Manitoba", which the packaging claims is good for babà, pizza and pan brioches.

* Lo Conte's "farina '00' per pane in casa", which the packaging claims is good for tutto pane.

I opened both packages, and the '0' was much finer than the '00', almost like starch. After some head-scratching, I studied the packaging more closely. Both had, in small lettering above the farina descriptor the wording "mix a base di". On to the ingredients and nutritional labels:

* the farina '0' Manitoba is composed of "farina di grano tenero tipo '0' 80%, farina '00', farina di malto", plus the E300 preservative. Its protein content is 12.5 g.

* the farina '00' is composed of "farina '00' (88%), semola di grano duro rimancinata, fecola di patate, farina di lino (2.4%), lievito madre naturale disidratato, destrosio, farina di malto", plus the E300. Its protein content is 13.0 g.

My questions:

1. What is the relationship between gluten and protein? Does lower gluten necessarily mean higher protein? How do these factors relate in hard wheat vs. soft wheat? This article in wiki confused me still further.

2. Bearing in mind Judy's comment, when people here refer to refinement or extraction in conjunction with protein and gluten content, doesn't that mean that the most refined -- i.e., '00', I assume -- should be the finest, i.e., least granular. Does that make it higher in gluten than less refined? Higher in protein? The chart linked to above had '00' as the lowest in gluten.

3. If the '0' is 80% '0' and the '00' is 88% '00', why is the '0' so much finer than the '00'?

4. Is there such a thing as, and can one buy, pure '0' Manitoba? If so, who manufactures it (other than the nice-looking flour milled by Rieper, linked to above, which I probably can't get down here)?

5. Same question for pure '00'.

6. As for the '00', I assumed that the "per pane in casa" meant that it's the correct flour for bread-making, since I also found flours that advertised prominently that they contained yeast, ready to mix and bake, it seems. I rejected those since I want to control that part myself. I only discovered that Lo Conte's did, too, after reading the label, and that it contained a bunch of other stuff I don't want. Any idea why the back-of-the-package bread recipe would have explicit instructions on how to add the yeast when there is already yeast in the packaged flour? That just seems crazy to me. (They also note that it's preferable to use fresh yeast, but I have yet to find that here in my neck of the woods.)

edited in effort at clarity


Edited by cinghiale (log)

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I can't answer many of the questions as they are specific to a brand I don't have access to.

First, flour doesn't contain gluten. It contains glutenin and gliadin proteins that combine to form gluten when water is added. However, it is usual to refer to "gluten" content which can be a measure of how much of these proteins are present and the quality of the gluten produced. Most flour will just mention % protein, and gluten content is typically 80% of total protein.

However, protein content varies hugely even in a single strain due to environmental conditions (dry v wet years), durum can have 9-18% protein content depending on where it is grown.

If you want to control the flour you are producing then you have to account for this natural variation, hence flours are usually blends from different sources. For different products you produce a different flour, so a single mill might produce four types of 00 flour.

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Cingiale.. wanna talk?

I make bread all the time! fresh yeast is near the cheese in the fridge!

lievito fresco... ask! I usually keep the dry yeast in the house. again you can ask your baker to buy yeast and often even dough!

I have skype..if you want to talk!

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