What is Italian 00 flour? How is it different from English flour? A lot of non-Italians who are fans of Italian cuisine often ask a lot of questions about the Italian 00 flour. You have used English bread flour for making focaccia but you are not getting what you want. It is not the Italian bread you love to eat. Let’s see what’s wrong.
English And Italians Categorize Flour In Different Ways:
Italian flours are graded by color and marked 00 to 04. White flour is marked 00 and 04 flour is closer to the whole meal. On the other hand, English flour is graded by both gluten content and color. English flour is the white, brown or whole meal. And, the gluten content is plain, strong or extra strong. Stronger flour makes better bread. The bread has an evenly textured crumb and rises higher.
Different Flour Is Used For Baking Different Bread:
You have tried a recipe with strong white flour and 00 flour. And this is what you have – 00 loaf is flatter with crump having holes of different sizes. You have tried the same recipe with stone milled strong white flour and 00 flour. This time 00 loaf is more white. The stone ground one is a bit beige. After milling for wholemeal flour, the stone milling sieves it to separate the germ and the bran. So, in the end, you get white flour.
In the case of industrial flour, the germ and the bran are milled out in the early stage as industrial mills mile for white flour.
In addition to look and texture, there is one more big difference. Stone ground white flour has higher nutrients content. Before the germ and the bran are served off, the white flour absorbs nutrients from both. As both the germ and the bran are removed at a very early stage, these nutrients are missing in the industrial flour.
While it’s true that you cannot make a perfect Italian bread with English flour, you can get something that is better for you.
Let’s Make Focaccia:
For the dough
● 1 kg Italian 00 flour
● 10 g dry yeast
● 600 g warm water
● 10 g salt
● 2 tablespoons olive oil
For The Top
● Sea salt
● Olive oil
● Herbs like sage, rosemary
● Sun-dried tomatoes
● Thinly sliced shallots or onions and other options
● First of all, proof the yeast. Knead ingredients for 10-15 minutes.
● Keep the dough covered in a bowl for 1 to 2 hours.
● Turn it out and cut it into the preferred size. Make sure that you have baking trays/forms having sides 2 inches high.
● Now knead the pieces on a floured board. Flatten it into a baking tray and keep it covered with a damp cloth for 30 minutes.
● Dimple the dough vigorously.
● Keep it covered until its size is doubled. It will be 1.5-2 inches high. You will get a crispy oily top.
● Pre-heat your oven to 230°.
● Sprinkle salt and herbs on the top of the dough after brushing it with olive oil.
● Bake it for around 30 minutes. Make sure that it does not go dry or burn. However, it should not be doughy either. Your Focaccia is ready if it has a deep golden color. Don’t let the bottoms go all saggy. You can avoid this by turning out immediately on a drying rack. Now you can eat it straight away.
You cannot get the same results if you are using some other flour. There are online stores selling all types of Italian flour online. You can buy Italian 00 flour, Italian flour for pasta, Italian pizza flour, organic Italian flour or any other type of flour online.
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