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Italian flour

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  • Italian flour

    Hi William and hi everybody.
    The idea to keep track of the stores and ingredients is GREAT.
    I hope we could have a dedicated space on the forum where there are the links or contact informations divided for example by city areas etc...I say this because this could help me a lot in San Diego area.
    Anyway since I'm new in the forum , please let me know if could keep track or have other information from the users about the flours.
    As you know not all flours are identical and each one has a different water absorption and "volume increase time", elasticyty , strength etc, gluten..
    One of the main index is W but there are also many others, anyway speaking of W, let me ask if does anyone know the various brands of flour*having a high gluten and a high W (320 to 400) or anyway where I can find this information on the brands available in USA (CA area).

    Tnx everybody

  • #2
    The W factor is the most important thing to know about to achieve
    the proper fermentation time. The higher it is usually, the more
    fermentation time you have, but if it's too high, then you're
    approaching "bread-type" of flour and it's a bit heavier on the

    Most North American flour manufacturers don't publish the W factor;
    it's a European thing, but if you asked them, they could provide it.
    Here, they use the falling number- which is somehow similar in
    characteristics, but not exactly the same.

    Anyways- in my experience, here are some guidelines- under W260, 4-6
    hours of fermentation, W260-320: 6-8 hours, Over W320: 8-16 hours.
    If you start with a low W for e.g. 210 for a basic 00, you could add
    a bit of harder/Manitoba type flour to increase its W. The lower W's
    is usually easier to knead, they say in Italy it's for "weak hands",
    the higher the W, the more stiff the dough becomes when you knead
    it, but with 00, it's never as stiff as an American bread flour.

    William M


    • #3
      Thanks for the infos William,
      so in USA I must ask for the W because it is not widely used. Good to know. yes, in Europe is instead widely used. But let me ask if there is some table of flour for the most sold in the USA supermarkets. For example here in Italy there are 3 or 4 flours in the main italian supermarkets and we have "discovered" the W. Now I do not know USA market, but anyway I think that there are supermarkets "chains" that I can find as in New York and as in Los Angeles or San maybe they have the same brands and quality.
      I know the question is stupid because probably USA is so big that each supermarket has his own brand flour, while Italy is so small that everywhere you can find the same brands...

      I do not totally agree about fermentation time and W, there are too many other factors involved in the time and W is just one of the things involved. Water, temperature, yeast, season, humidity, salt are so important that they could drammatically change all the fermentation time table.
      Lot of people in Italy with W280 stays nearly 24 hours and an high W doesn't mean at all hard to digest in the stomach. You can eat a "stone" for the stomach*also at W220. To stay away from stomach stones you need more water, more fermentation time and even with a W400 you are Ok.
      Try 1.7 kilos hard flour, 1 liter water, 2 grams dry yeast, 50 grams salt*and 12 hours outside and 12 hours freezer at 4 degrees
      24 hours(totally) fermentation and let me know.
      A stiff dough has been worked too much in the mixer.



      • #4
        Dear Wally,
        I have found that Tipo "00" flour that kneading the dough too long seemed to make my pizza crust too hard. I know the DOC standards for "00" flour calls for a 30 min. knead, but it was too much for my dough. I used a mixer to do the kneading, about half that much seems to be more of what I'm looking for in a dough, so if that is what you meant, Wally, I agree with you. Dough is a " living" thing that you can feel the texture when you get your hands into it.


        • #5
          Hi Perry and hi everybody,
          yep dough is a living thing.
          You should try if possible to discover for your flour, the W and the P/L numbers, there also other numbers but it is not necessary to go so deep, we are just trying to do our weekly pizzas, not to open a Research lab.

          The higher is W and the less flour you need keeping 1 liter of water as the basic unit of measuring for everything.
          1.7 kilos of flour for a hard flour is a good result,anyway lot of people is also happy with 1.9 kilos flour for 1 liter,*and when you will arrive to 1,55 Kilos of flour for 1 liter of water, I will take an airplane and I will come to your home to eat this good pizza !
          The more oxygen enters in the flour and the less flour you need for 1 liter of water. Someone arrives near 1:1 but it is another planet !
          When you put the flour in the mixer machine you must be not so fast or not much oxygen will enter inside the dough but also not so slow or you will get a stiff dough. Just as it rains flour !
          This is basically a thing of just experience, everybody just trying can learn this, from USA to New Zealand. Try try and try. A good dough will look like a very soft butter.
          To stay in the middle of everything and to do your first trials , the best thing to do is to find a W 280 or W 300 flour. This will make everything easier and you shoudl easily arrive at the target of 1,55 or 1,6 kilos flour per liter.(also 1,7Kg is not bad). 50 grams salt. If you add some oil*(E.V or mais seed,*in the dough at the end )maybe you need some more flour...
          I think you use an "hook" for the mixer and it is Ok. Mixing time depends by your experience.
          After 10 or 12 hours at home temperature (fixed 20-21 Celsius degrees !) try to do your small round balls for each pizza and each one must be 200 grams. Then other 12 hours in the freezer at 3 to 4 Celsius degrees.
          The small round balls must stay in a big plastic container with a plastic cover , to close, or they will loose too much water. Sometimes just go to open the plastic cover, so new air will enter inside.
          After you eat this pizza, let me know.

          Some Manitoba flours here in Italy have the W between 320 and 330. To arrive to 300 or 280 you need to put some (but not much) of the normal "00" flour that normally is W160-180.

          Bye everybody from Wally


          • #6
            Hi Wally,
            I really appreciate your sending the DOC on making Pizza. Fornobravo also has a listing on it. I will have to check the "W" on my flour.*I have a question. 50 g. of sea salt for 1800g of flour? I was afraid to add that much salt. I know the DOC standards call for that, in my measurements, around*3 1/2 *tablespoons of salt for 4 lbs (1800g) of flour. I use "00". I guess I will have to increase my salt to try it. Has anyone else? Before, my measurements were 4 cups water, just slightly less than 1 liter with one tablespoon salt. Wally, I will try what you suggested and see, and, maybe I'll reach 1.55 Kilos of flour per 1 liter of water. Come on over.


            • #7
              Yep Perry, keep going

              Yep Perry, and sorry if I reply in so big delay.
              Keep going with 50 grams salt per liter and not only, now that summer is arriving go to 60 grams per liter of water.
              But when I say 1 liter it must be 1 liter. You can go more or less with flour etc...because you will understand with your eyes if to increase or not, but if you begin to change the basics you will never be able to reply the "experiment" many times.

              Sorry if I go fast in this moment, but quite busy. I will check next to see how is going.
              Anyway temperature for cooking is too much important. It makes the difference between a biscuit and a pizza.
              HOTTER AND HOTTER is better.