Tipo 00 Flour — Worth Paying For Shipping

fig jam, caramelized onion and blue cheese pizza

A series of fortuitous events in the past few months have led to a number of wonderful discoveries: an ingredient — Tipo 00 flour; a technique — minimal handling of dough; and a reward — the best pizza I have ever made at home.

Let’s start from the beginning. Five trips in three weeks to 2Amys Pizzeria in NW Washington DC (over an hour drive from my house) convinced me it was finally time to get my hands on some Tipo 00 flour, a soft-grain flour requisite in the production of D.O.C. Neapolitan pizza, an ingredient I’ve been thinking about for five years now.

I hate to admit it and in retrospect it pains me, but a $7.25 shipping charge has been the sole barrier between me and Tipo 00 flour for about a year now. Am I wrong to expect everything to ship for free and arrive the next day? (I know, so bratty! Sorry.) Anyway, to soften the blow, I ordered 10 bags, which made the total price per bag $4.22, a nominal fee especially when each bag yields six pizzas.

About the time that my flour arrived, I received a text message from a friend who had been experimenting with the Jim Lahey pizza dough. The message read: “Help!” While she had been having great success flavor-wise with the Lahey recipe, her pies were less than picturesque. (Click on the link…it will make you chuckle. I love you, Bates.)

I had to come to my friend’s rescue. She had requested video guidance, which I was certain was out there and which I was determined to find for her. My quest for her, however, may have proven to help me equally as well. A video and a note published on Serious Eats made me realize that for all these years that I have been making homemade pizza, I have been majorly overhandling my dough, at least for the sort of pizza I strive to make.

The note from Lahey read as follows:

While I’m not picky about the flour — either bread flour or all-purpose is fine — what does concern me is how the dough is handled. Treat it gently so the dough holds its character, its texture. When you get around to shaping the disk for a pie, go easy as you stretch it to allow it to retain a bit of bumpiness (I think of it as blistering), so not all of the gas is smashed out of the fermented dough.

Having just spent $42 on 10 bags of flour, I sort of wished Lahey felt more strongly about the type of flour he used, but ultimately I agree that the handling of the dough is more important than the type of flour used. As soon as I began really paying attention to how I shaped my pizza rounds — gently/minimally — I noticed a difference in the finished product. The air pockets pervading the unbaked round (video/photo below) really affect the flavor and texture of the baked pizza.

I’ve made the Lahey dough many times now, and it is always delicious, regardless if I use bread flour or Tipo 00 flour. I do feel strongly, however, that the Tipo 00 flour produces a superior product, especially in texture. The unbaked dough is softer, more delicate and easier to shape — it doesn’t resist the shaping as much as the dough made with bread flour. The crust of the baked pizza, too, is a bit more tender, and the outer edge has a bit more chew.

Again, regardless of the flour, with the Lahey method, I’ve finally been able to achieve that quintessensial Neopolitan ballooned and blistered outer edge. I think I’m ready for my wood-burning oven. Santa, I hope you’re reading.

Finally, Readers, as you might imagine, I have a few extra bags of Tipo 00 flour on hand. Since you won’t be able to find this product without paying for shipping, I’d love to share my remaining bags with a few of you. Leave a comment if you’re interested. Just tell me you’re favorite thing to eat or you’re most valued kitchen tool (one of mine is commercial-grade plastic wrap, see below) or what’s next on your to-make list. Thanks so much for reading.

fig jam, caramelized onion and blue cheese pizza

fig jam, caramelized onion and blue cheese pizza

2Amys Pizzeria serves D.O.C. Neapolitan pizza, which means they follow the strict requirements outlined by the Italian government for producing authentic Neapolitan pizza. The guidelines cover all the bases: the oven (wood-burning); the shaping (by hand); the final size (no larger than 11 inches); the ingredients (dough must be made with tipo 00 flour, fresh yeast, water and salt and the toppings extend to Italian plum tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil and dried oregano).

2Amys Menu

If you’re looking for more information on Tipo 00 flour, this link on Forno Bravo is helpful.
Antimo Caputo tipo 00 flour

dough rising

Jim Lahey dough, ready to be divided

dough, divided

dough balls

I know it is terribly ungreen of me, but one thing I cannot live without is heavy duty plastic wrap. Nothing makes me want to tear my hair out more than a box of super market cling wrap. If you’re OK with having a hideously large shape sitting out in your kitchen for all to see, this product might just change your life.

commercial grade plastic wrap and dough balls

I made this video for my friend, Bates, who was struggling with shaping her dough. I advise watching the one on Serious Eats first. My main goal with this video was to capture the air pockets that pervade the dough when it is handled minimally — the presence of these air pockets make a difference in the final product.

dough with tape measure

pizza, just out of the oven

fig jam, caramelized onions & blue cheese pizza

Fig Jam, Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Pizza with Jim Lahey Dough
Pizza Dough Source: Bon Appetit vis Jim Lahey’s book: My Pizza.

Note: If you buy Tipo 00 flour, this recipe comes together in seconds — each bag conveniently weighs 1000g, which is what the recipe calls for.

For this pizza you’ll need:

caramelized onions
fig jam, thinned out with a little bit of water for easy spreading
blue cheese, any type you like
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Jim Lahey Pizza Dough (recipe below)

7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).

2. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.

3. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for about an hour or two before shaping.

4. To Make the Pizzas: During the last hour of dough’s resting, preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10″–12″ disk handling it as minimally as possible. Arrange dough disk on parchment-lined baking sheet; top minimally with desired toppings: to make this pizza, first spoon some of the thinned out fig jam over top, then top with caramelized onions, the blue cheese, and finally the Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

Shots from our lunch at 2Amys a few weeks ago:
Green tomato, ramp, Grana & egg pizza:
green tomato, ramp, Grana & egg pizza at 2Amys

The margherita pizza at 2Amys is just about the ideal — pizza, food, meal, everything. It is so unbelievably delicious.
margherita pizza at 2Amys

Norcia pizza:
Norcia pizza at 2Amys

120 Comments

  1. You call me brave! I call myself foolhardy… anyway it did not turn out the way yours did for sure… I am pretty sure I know where I screwed up. … it was step 1.

    1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball.

    “Well incorporated” =??? and
    “Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. ”

    I translated these statements as best as I could into practice but i had to add more water else the ball wouldnt come together…

    THe pizza didnt rise as much in the end….
    I looked at Leahy’s directions but I couldnt find pictures for that crucial first step anywhere on the web..

    THe toppings turned out to be real nice :-)

    Reply
    • Oh I am so sorry to hear this :( That is never fun.

      I don’t know how to analyze exactly, but I have never had to add more or less water — I always add the three cups of water to the 1000g flour. Did you measure the flour by weight?

      Interestingly, I made a batch of the Lahey dough (a half batch actually) using a new brand of tipo 00 flour, and I found that the dough was much stiffer than when I use the Antimo Caputo. The texture of the new brand was almost as fine as whey protein powder, and I think that I probably could have used a little more water. The dough did rise during the 18 hours but not as much as when I use the Antimo Caputo flour. The dough still ended up making good pizza, but I don’t think it was as tasty as when I use the AC.

      Also, you might be able to see how the dough looks in the first step if you can get the video on this Serious Eats post to open: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/03/jim-laheys-no-knead-pizza-dough-recipe.html I can’t on my ipad at the moment.

      So sorry the pizzas didn’t go as planned. Glad to hear the toppings turned out nice:)

      Reply
  2. What is your water to flour ratio for this recipe? I use type 00 flour as well with 70% hydration and my dough is super sticky… There’s no way I could pat it down and touch it like you did in your video without it sticking to my paws… :/

    Reply
    • Hey! ok, I just weighed 3.5 cups of water, and it came out to be 810 grams. And since the flour weighs 1000g, it looks as though it’s about an 80% hydration — is that right? I’m not sure I’m calculating the hydration properly. In any case, the dough is always super sticky when you mix it, and it is super sticky even after the 18-hour rise, but when you go to shape it, as long as you use enough flour on your hands and work surface, it really isn’t too hard to work with. And it is SO good. I am obsessed with this recipe.

      Reply
  3. I buy the red bag of Antimo Caputo flour locally and just want to warn anyone trusting an exact 1000 grams of flour. I weigh each bag as is when I get home and they always come in 960 – 970 grams. I weigh out 500 grams per batch. If you are going to weigh out all the other ingredients then you want the flour to be exact as well.

    Reply
  4. Welcome to the Capital District of NY! I’ve been enjoying your site and just had to tell you I made the pizza dough and it was fantastic! I too bought 10 bags of the 00 flour, 9 of which are in my freezer. Just had to tell you that I had every intention of making focaccia with the leftovers but never got around to it. So, I froze the remaining four dough pieces (wrapped them in plastic as you suggested and put the wrapped pieces in a large zip top bag). Well, we made pizza with the frozen dough this week-end and it was fantastic. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    Reply
    • Karen, hi! And thank you for the warm welcome. I am so sorry for the delay here — I’ve been in WI for a week, returning tomorrow night. So happy to hear the pizza dough worked out for you! My freezer is stashed with the flour, too. I think it truly makes a difference in the taste and textuer of the dough. I have two rounds of the dough frozen, too, actually — first time — and I am relieved to hear that it works well after freezing. It will be pizza dinner Thursday night!

      Reply

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