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Imported Type 00 Pizza Flour - Pivetti vs. Caputo

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Elagins's picture
Elagins

Imported Type 00 Pizza Flour - Pivetti vs. Caputo

This past weekend, I finally got around to doing a head-to-head comparison between the two Type 00 Italian flours NYbakers.com sells, and it was a real eye-opener.

First some background.  Until recently, we weren't able to get the Caputo flour since our wholesaler was having problems with his source, so originally, although I wanted to stock the Caputo, all I could get was the Pivetti -- and, frankly, I'm not at all sorry things worked out that way.

I ran the test using my standard Neapolitan formula, which we have posted on our website here. Basically, it's hydrated at 58%, 1.5% salt, 0.3% yeast, then cold retarded for 8-24 hours.

Raw flour: The Pivetti flour is a very pale yellow, nearly white, with a very fine grain. The Caputo has a somewhat coarser grain (although still fine, since 00 refers to the grain size and not protein/ash content), and a definite beige/ light brown color.

Mixing: The Caputo is definitely thirstier than the Pivetti.  At 58% hydration, the Caputo formed a much stiffer dough -- to the point where my KA Pro was laboring on the dough hook. Not so with the Pivetti, which produced a smooth, fairly slack dough.

Benching:  I rested both doughs for 20 minutes before dividing it into 280g  boules and put each into a lightly oiled plastic sandwich bag.  The dough then went into my wine cooler for 10 hours.  The Pivetti dough increased in size more than the Caputo and was slightly softer to the touch.

Throwing the pizza: Both doughs rested at room temp for 2 hours.  My technique was the same for both doughs: cutting the sandwich bag away so as not to disturb the dough, flouring both sides and using my fingertips to stretch the middle, then shaping the pizza by putting the rim over my knuckles and stretching it to about 16" in diameter - thin enough to see light through the center.  I then put the dough onto a floured peel, dressed the pizza and baked at 550F for about 6 minutes.

Both doughs were quite extensible, the Pivetti moreso because its protein content is clearly lower than the Caputo, which almost felt rubbery and very firm. That said, both doughs threw very nicely, with a nod in the direction of the Caputo for ease of forming a more uniform circle.

The crust: The Caputo crust was denser, chewier and more flavorful than the Pivetti, which sprang nicely in the oven, leaving big air pockets in the rim.  Both crusts were thin and crisp, and biting off a piece of the Caputo pie took more effort than the Pivetti.  At the same time, the Caputo didn't seem to hold up under the weight of the toppings as well as the Pivetti, so there was more sag when we picked up the slices. That said, both crusts had distinctive personalities and were excellent in their own way,

Verdict: If you like a chewy crust, not unlike good American pizza (emphasis on good), the Caputo wins hands down. My family and I prefer a crisper, less chewy crust, and the unanimous winner in my house was Pivetti.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

suave's picture
suave

Stan, have you had a chance to compare Caputo pizza flour (I assume you mean pizzeria flour in 25 kilo bags) with their flours that are commonly sold in 1 kilo packs? 

Mike

Elagins's picture
Elagins

but I don't imagine it will be any different, since it's not likely that Caputo (or any mill, for that matter) would mill a different Pizzeria flour, e.g., for 1 kg versus 25 kg packages, especially if it's marketed under the same name.

Stan

suave's picture
suave

Oh well, I grabbed a bag on the way home, so I'll find out for myself if it's any good.

sweetbird's picture
sweetbird

That's great information, Stan. Thank you for the excellent and thorough comparison. I love Caputo flour but haven't tried the Pivetti. Something to mull over!

Janie

suave's picture
suave

So, following my plan I picked a kilo bag of Caputo's "Chef's flour" on my way home.  The flour is packed in red paper bags and sold for $2.70 at a market couple of miles away from my home.  A bargain, if you ask me, and no shipping either.  Actually the place sells two types of Caputo's flour - red pack and blue packs.  Both feature pizza on the front and both are presumably suitable, but Caputo's website seems to suggest that red is more so.  Actually there is quite a bit of discussion among pizza fans about what exactly this flour is since the packaging is remarkably similar to that of Rinforzato.  Here in a long and interesting discussion a person who claims an inside knowledge purports that the red bags contain almost exclusively soft wheat and contradicts another person who states that the red kilo bags are in fact Rinforzato.  I was not 100% convinced by either argument and still looking for a definitive answer, but I am not going to lose sleep over it.

The bag contained 960 g. of flour, I don't know why that is - may be some weight was lost as moisture, may be not, in any case I my only options was to try something.  To 960 g. of flour I added 3 g. of yeast (instand, Fleischmann's), 18 g. of salt and 570 g. of water, combined the ingredients using a paddle of my KA, and gave it a quick mix - 5 min at speed 2.  Then I finished the dough on the bench by hand.  It turns out I got lucky, the dough was just right, - moderately soft and silky, elastic and pliable.  Not all slack, but not to resistant either.  It was a pure pleasure to knead.  I split dough in 3 500 g. portions and placed them in oiled bags, then placed the bags into refrigerator for 48 h.  I removed the bags from the fridge an hour prior to the baking - it's mid-March and 80+ weather in Chicago, split each portion in two, rounded dough balls and let them rest for an hour. 

Shaping was a pleasure , the dough held very well, and probably would easily be able to make 14" disks.  As it is, I am limited by the size of my oven, so I settled on 12" pizzas.  The resulting pies were very nice pies, probably akin to those Stan got with Pivetti's.  They have thin crackly crust, and dry crispy edges, very much unlike the pizzas I get with KABF-based dough from ABED.   We found that the taste is excellent and the texture is less chewy than what we are used to and quite pleasing.  The edge crust was perhaps too dry, and if I were to repeat this experiment I would try to shape a flat edgeless disk.  Franky, I did not mind it so much but the kids complained.  All in all I'm very happy with the outcome, and thank you, Stan, for inspiring me to try this flour - it will really add diversity to my repertoir. 

Now all I need is to figure out what's inside the bag.

 

Mike

 

gandoitalianfood's picture
gandoitalianfood

I distribute imported Italian food across the uk and the restaurants all rate Caputo flour as being the best especially if you want to create that authentic Neapolitan pizza base.

I have to agree that you can't go wrong with Pivetti, another good quality flour.