ThE COOKS’ TOUR
Thinking of flour as elegant? If James Bond baked, he would be happy to add his “7” to this “00” flour. Caputo’s “00” Chef’s Flour definitely has a license to thrill.
Why the “00”? Italian flour is graded “00,” white, to “04” a more bran-loaded flour closer to American whole wheat.
WHAT THAT MEANS TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T GEEK OUT ON FLOUR
Caputo “00” uses top-grade European Union (EU) wheat. It lets the wheat’s goodness shine through. Their flour creates some of the most pliable dough that I’ve ever worked with. The taste is that big bread flavor that you get in breads baked in Europe. They always seem to “pop” a bit better than their American cousins.
The difference between Caputo, and American bread flours, starts there. Caputo’s slow-grind process makes for a softer, more elastic dough. It keeps proteins, and starches, high and also allows for its gluten, which, in spite of the legions of faux-fad-glutenphobes, is not a Bread-Bondian villain, to create one of the most gentle, wonderful dough bases with which I’ve ever cooked.
It’s in that sweet spot that doesn’t really exist in the American flour biz, where cake flour is too soft, and all-purpose and bread flours are too hard.
There is also a taste difference.
It’s not only the grind of the flour though. Caputo uses Italian wheat grown in Umbria, Marche blended with wheat from the Northern Europe, primarily coming out of France, Germany and Finland.
Wheat goes through a lot of processing, to make its way to flour. It has to be stored properly, sorted to remove impurities, and then it spends a lot of time being ground and sifted.
Caputo flours are not loaded with additives, including the addition of vitamins and Iron.
Supplements may sound like a good thing, but really, they’re not. They were put into flours in America, during WWII, to augment the food supply, when flour made up the basis of the foodstuffs that might be the only meal for our troops.
After the war, it was used as a gimmick to sell the health benefits of flour to the 1950s radio, and TV audiences of bigger, better, brighter, whiter.
Today, those vitamins these days can be acquired from lots of other food sources. They don’t really belong in flour, where they impart a slightly more bitter bread product that our palettes, from years of consuming the stuff, seem to have become accustomed.
That’s why, whenever, I visit Europe, I end up at Carbaholics Anonymous when I come home.
THERE’S (NO) TROUBLE AT THE MILL
Antimo Caputo is one of the oldest family-run flour mills in the world, and their “00” flour, with its perfect fine grind, is the choice of professional chefs for pizzas, flatbreads, small breads and even some desserts, for its superior performance.
There are no shortcuts to Caputo’s flours. Being milled in the European Union, with EU-grown grains, they are free of trace elements of a lot of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that the US permits, thanks to political lobbying from large pesticide makers like Bayer, which acquired agri-villain Monsanto.
I love it for my CrazeeCrumpets, pizza doughs, bread loaves, croissants, cinnamon rolls, Jamaican meat patties, empanada dough, pie crusts, and so much more!
Americans used to only be able to get what is now called the “chef’s flour,” this “00” grade, in large industrial sacks. Today it’s available in 1K bags, and Amazon sells it now in a 3 pack, which equivalent to roughly two American-sized flour bags.
MY SHINY TWO
There are a lot of great flours available to you, but this one is so good that I have to give it my Choicestuff Five Diamond nod. I buy it in the 10 pack, because I bake a bunch, but this three-pack at Amazon is my recommended balance between good value and storage space for such a quality product. When you ditch the pricey boxed foods, you can spend a bit more on staples and get a product better than the box.