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Caputo 00: What is it?

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  • Caputo 00: What is it?

    What wheat is Caputo 00? I think it is winter. Is it soft or hard, red or white? I am in a conversation with a local miller who is interested in supplying local bakers (me). But, of course, I have my specifics. I would like to tell him just what I'm after. So, what, specifically, is Caputo 00? And while I am sure the miller knows, I don't know what the 00 refers to.

  • #2
    Re: Caputo 00: What is it?


    In general, European wheats are softer than ours because of the climate. I'm sure we'd all like to know how Caputo is made, but so far as I know it's a closely guarded formula. I do know that they blend their wheats, which might come from anywhere in the world, to get the sort of protein percentages, ash content, extensibility, etc. that they want. Their flour does not correspond to our AP that's made from softer winter wheats. I'm not sure what strains they use either, but probably our red or white don't apply either. Tipo 00 refers to the fineness of the grind. King Aurthur Flour offers something similar, but they're not telling either.

    "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


    • #3
      Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

      Well that adds to the mystery, mystique and size of treasure at the end of the scavenger hunt. So when I meet with the miller I mentioned, what sort of guidelines should I ask for provided I'm not getting any European wheat? The goal of this miller is to work with local grains and so far he's doing a pretty good job of it. So, excluding any importing, I imagine I'd need at least a winter wheat and about 11%-12% gluten. But what about ash, protein, soft, red or white? Would it matter if we come close? And is the 00 a matter of a selection of the grind, the way coffee grinders do? I suppose if we're also talking blends and secrets there's a matter of rolling dice on this one. Should I just suggest the softest wheat in the US if ours are not as soft to begin with?

      King Arthur suggested to me their European Style Artisan Bread Flour. Or did I read that? All I know is that for breads I'd heard Dan Leader (Bread Alone) say to use one of their flours (I don't remember right now which) and when I telephoned KA they couldn't even find the flour he'd mentioned but they tried to come close by suggesting their European Style Artisan. Hmmm...

      I'd like to stay as close as possible to true Neapolitan taste (I lived in Naples when I was a kid, 1960-'63) but I also want very much to work with local ingredients because of all that local support thing. So - and let's just keep this between us - I'm willing to go local over imported so long as the compromise is not huge. I'm a purist but this too causes trouble when I get behind something that conflicts. Italian or New York flour? Politics or taste buds? Life was easier when I lived in Naples and all I had to do was go get the pizza.


      • #4
        Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

        like the US, we down under here in Australia have a large range of wheats and obviously flours from them.
        We do not (to my knowledge or observations), have 00 flour, only some sold by a large retail outlet and that could have come from anywhere in the world (only available in 1Kg bags).
        My in-laws were on the land on the Eyre Peninsula (you might like to check out an atlas for these locations in South Australia) growing wheat and wool mainly in very marginal lands.
        I used to visit them and drive the grain to the silo over the Christmas break and attend to all the mechanical breakdowns but when the wheat was tested as 'hard', it got a premium price and was sent to Cummins (also on the Eyre Peninsular) where it was ground into flour. Most of Australia's Hard wheat comes from this district.
        I am also of the opinion that soft wheat produces inferior flour. But what inferior means, I assume that it is simply not 'as good' (for whatever reasons) as flour from hard wheat, and possibly some one elses opinion.
        I have used some of the 00 flour and to my simple tastes, could not taste any real difference, but then again I am a simple person with simple basic likes and tastes.
        It would be interesting to see what members of the forum, using whatever resources and contacts we/they have, find out what makes 00 flours different or better than others on the market, without trying to pirate trade secrets.

        Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

        The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

        Neillís Pompeiii #1
        Neillís kitchen underway


        • #5
          Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

          I used the Forno Bravo 00 for pizza dough last time I made it. It's a whole different animal from the bread or AP flour. Shaping a pizza is much easier and getting the thickness even is a lot easier.

          KA's catalog has a 00 clone flour on offer. In the catalog it's called "italian-style flour" , they list the protein at 8.5% and the item number is 3338, $5.95 for 3 lb. I haven't used it, so I can't tell you whether it's really a clone or not!


          • #6
            Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

            Hey Kim,

            There is a lot going on here. Tipo 00 refers to how the Italians describe their flour, and it has mostly to do with how fine the grain is milled and other things, including ash content, etc. It's a government standard. Tipo 00 is a very finely milled flour and the highest quality level. That said, there is a great deal of variation within the classification Tipo 00.

            Molino Caputo is a different story. They are a family owned company that specializes in very high quality flours and they are best know for the Pizzeria and Rosso flours that are used by a majority of the pizzerias in Naples and almost all of the Vera Pizza Napoletana restaurants outside of Naples -- Italy, the U.S., Japan, etc. The Vera Pizza Napoletana association specifically recommends Caputo flour. Molina Caputo is a great business. Recently, they have been putting more attention into building their "Brand" in the U.S. and around the world -- which is one reason they have recently introduced their Caputo Rosso pizza flour to the U.S. in the small bags for the home baking market. Of course FB helps with this. :-)

            They have an extensive lab at the mill in Naples, and they purchase flour from all around the world. They are constantly in test mode, looking at potential grains to purchase, and they mix and they blend and the produce a continuous stream of perfect pizza flour. Don't forget that their primary market is still pizzerias in Naples, where the pizzaiolo expects to use the exact same recipe and technique day after day, season after season, and they don't want to have to mess around changing things when the flour changes.

            Peter Reinhart knows the flour and the company very well, and he uses it for his pizza making classes. It turns out that a majority of the pizzerias highlighted in his book American Pie use Caputo flour.

            Caputo Rosso is design to be used 100%, non-blended with other flours, to make perfect Vera Pizza Napoletana. If your taste buds remember pizza from Naples, they remember Caputo -- they've been going for three generations.

            There are a few more details here:

            Italian Pizza Ingredients | Italian Gourmet Food
            Caputo Pizza Flour | Italian Flour | Tipo 00 Flour
            Caputo Flour | User Comments

            Hope this helps.
            Pizza Ovens
            Outdoor Fireplaces


            • #7
              Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

              Kim, I'm not as acomplished a baker and pizzaiolo as many here but you stated you want to buy local and support your local industry. Very laudable, however, if you want is a particular taste etc of something that is made elsewhere you are really going to have to work hard to duplicate it. If your goal is to duplicate that exact taste etc. better you buy it from them.

              And now for the heretic view..... you know the characteristics in regard to extensiblity etc that you are looking for, invite your miller friend over for pizza and let him play with the making of the dough using the "good stuff". Let him take the extra flour home. So it's a couple of bucks in flour, he's a miller because that's what he wants to do, trust that he will do his best in blending to get the desired properties. Forget the stuff elsewhere or at least trying to duplicate the exact taste etc. Go instead for your local taste, who knows you might like it better. You're lucky in having a miller who wants to please, who wants your business. Think of wine, each area makes it's own and depending upon the variables each can be very good or not. Don't try to duplicate another wine, make your wine.



              • #8
                Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

                Good thoughts by Wiley. Master the local products. No great wine maker inports their grapes from the other side of the world, much less the other side of a country. Local cuisine is born from local produce. That's the wonder of going to Napoli and enjoying a great pizza. They did it from produce grown there, not elsewhere. I think the idea should be to try to exceed their success in using an almost perfect climate and culture to produce an incredible food, developed tofor the masses.

                Caputo flour helps us capture the original feel and taste of that perfected meal, created in that environment. It shouldn't limit experimentation with local flours in an attempt to improve. (good luck!)
                Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



                • #9
                  Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

                  I work for King Arthur on their commercial side of the business and while I cannot offer specifics on Caputo (as I don't really know any specifics) I can offer my observations. It's a fascinating subject to me as the question: "what can I substitute for Caputo" comes up surprisingly often. And that question is mostly motivated by price considerations, not performance obviously.

                  I think everything that has been said above fits in with what I know about Caputo. It is a white flour, fine grind with a relatively low protein and ash content (as compared to flours milled in the US from US grown wheat).

                  Some of the curiosities of European grown wheats (curious to me, I'm sure not to a European) is that they are softer, and they are lower in protein. This probably has more to due with the varieties grown, and the environmental factors as well and cultural preferences than an inability to grow harder and higher protein wheats in Europe.

                  The softness has a direct influence on particle size (fineness). Softer wheat are more easily milled into finer flours. I believe that Caputo is milled from a 'hard' wheat (hard depicts a class of wheat) but it is 'softer' than its US 'hard' wheat counterparts. So the Caputo will be a finer flour (in terms of particle size). Finer also means better water absorption. You have more particles, which means more surface area upon which to absorb water.

                  So that addresses the fineness characteristic of Caputo.

                  The other interesting characteristic of European wheats is the relatively low protein content. I don't remember exactly what it is but I don't think I am far off when I remember Caputo having around 10% protein (correct me if am wrong). We have looked at comparisons of European flours vs. their US equivalents and the non-scientific conclusion that we have come to is that while European flours register a lower protein content they act similar to higher protein flours in the US. So, that said, you couldn't take a 10% protein US flour and expect it to act like a 10% European flour. Especially because the only way to get to 9-10% protein flour in the US would be to use a soft wheat flour which does not exhibit any of the necessary characteristics necessary for pizza making (or bread for that matter). So the equivalent of a 10% European flour in the US might have a protein content around 11.5-12%. But this is just an observation we have made - nothing that would stand up to the rigorous of hard science.

                  So, now what to do about the original posters question: how to make a Caputo style flour in the US. I have been told that pizza makers here in the US have had success using KA Special (that is the 50# sack equivalent or KA's 5# Bread Flour). That doesn't make sense to me as Special is relatively strong flour, it is high in protein at 12.7% and it is milled from spring wheat - which typically is not as extensible as a winter wheat.

                  But the original poster has a unique opportunity to work with a US miller. So my wheat blend recipe might be be a blend of hard red winter (white might be even better, but more difficult to come across) and soft red winter. You would want the greater percentage to be the hard so you get the proper amount of protein and it acts like a pizza flour, but the soft wheat will temper the overall durability of the hard wheat and lend a softer quality to the flour. You might have the miller start with 80% hard : 20% soft. And then work from there.

                  Hope that helps.



                  • #10
                    Re: Caputo 00: What is it?

                    Thank you all. Excellent thoughts and input. I'm going to re-read everything and let it absorb. This is great! I'll get back.