The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

All Purpose Flour vs Bread Flour - Pizza

nicolesue's picture

All Purpose Flour vs Bread Flour - Pizza

What is the best flour to use for pizza? I tried Peter Reinhart's recipe using bread flour, and it was kind of eerr... chewy... while using all purpose flour yielded a softer nicer dough..... just wanna know, what do you guys use? Which is better, and why is bread flour so chewy? btw - i'm aiming for a thin crust pizza...thanks.


nicodvb's picture

that's why if you make it ferment too little (using lots of yeast) it gives you a chewy product.

If you want to make something quick (with more  yeast) you should use a flour with less gluten (such as all-purpose), while stronger flours need much less yeast or the use of a sourdough (poorer of yeasts and rich of lattobacilli that release protease that affects chewiness).

Doing a preferment as a poolish also helps in reducing chewiness.

Franko's picture


You have a great way of explaining this process. It's clear, not overly technical, and makes it easy to see the relationship between flour, yeast and fermentation. If your not already a teacher, you might want to consider it at some point.



ronald Sebastian's picture
ronald Sebastian

perhaps you can advise on what type of wheat you would use for production of Pizza flour if you were given a choice between American and Australian wheat


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The longer and stronger the ferments, the better it is to use bread flour (it holds out where AP would break down);  shorter ferments, All Purpose.

farina22's picture

I've done a lot of comparison with flours for the pizza I make in my wood-fired oven. My wfo students and other tasters all agree that OO flour, whether from Italy, KA or Giusto's makes the best crust. We use a small amount of yeast (1/2 tsp: 500 gm flour) and a 24-hour fermentation. Great elasticity in the dough, big "bubbles" in the cornicione (the edge around the pizza), chewy, but not overly chewy or tough. For me, bread flour makes the pizza taste like, well, bread. What I'm looking for is a thin, crisp, yet chewy and flavorful crust. But I adjust the recipe to the taste of my students--if they prefer Chicago style, say, I use bread flour. Mostly though, they want a Napolitano-stlye pizza.

I haven't found any breakdown with the long ferment. Sometimes I even let it ferment for two days and the pizzas still come out crackly crisp at the cornicione and bendable interiorly. If there's dough STILL leftover, I make focaccia that has big, interior holes and is dependably good for sandwiches or bruschetta.

Just my experience. I know you'll hear lots of varying opinions here. Cheers!

nicodvb's picture

of 00 flour do you use?

farina22's picture

I use either Caputo or Giusto 00 flour, depending on which is available. The Caputo seems slightly more elastic as a dough, but the Giusto's seems more fragrant.

longhorn's picture

I don't feel the gluten degradation in pizza dough is nearly so troublesome as in bread. It almost certainly happens is simply part of the territory IMO and the flavor benefits of retarded dough far outweighs any textural degradation or variation. My key determinant is not about chewiness but about texture and crispness and the AP dough IMO tends to be too soft - but that is in part a function of the kind of pizza made. It is far less vulnerable to a relatively dry pizza than one with tomato sauce.

Thanks for your comments!


longhorn's picture

I use a variety of flours depending on my mood and what I am making. I do AP in Reinhart's Neopolitan dough, bread flour in his neo-Neopolitan dough, Caputo 00 when I am in the mood and others as well. I rarely add semolina but many like to do that as well. 

Each gives a different product - not necessarily better or worse - but different and subject to personal preference.

One issue with both bread and Caputo is that the doughs should IMO be balled shortly after making the dough and before retardation as neither likes to be worked late and when worked late yields tougher dough. AP OTOH relaxes much faster and can be balled after retardation with minimal impact.

While the comments above are true, and they apply to pizza dough, they are less significant to pizza dough than bread. For example, we strive to bake bread at perfect proof level but pizza dough is usually outside (for my WFO) for hours and the "older" ones are definitely overproofed but that has no substantial impact on the pizza. Nor, for that matter, does underproofing IMO within reason. Good dough can even be rolled out and still give a puffy cornicione.

Hydration is also important. Try to get your bread dough up to about 70 percent hydration if you can and it will be lighter.

My main guess is that you are probably handling it too much, too late!

Good luck!



asicign's picture

I use King Arthur Sir Lancelot for my NY style pizza.  I let it ferment for two days in the fridge in bulk, then make balls, and let them sit another day or two in the fridge.  I bake at 550 degrees F on a stone.. maybe 5 to 7 minutes.  If I had a hotter oven I'd probably go with  00 and try for a thinner crust.  There is a little chew to the pizza I make: in my opinion, it's just right.  I don't like pizza crackers.


farina22's picture

I agree with you about balling the dough right after making it. Sometimes, when the pizza dough starts getting overproofed (hot day outside in front of the oven, for example), I ball it up again and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Comes back beautifully.

I'm with you on the hydration, too, although I recommend 65% hydration until the pizzaiolo feels comfortable handling the wet dough. I do love the whole learning process though, doncha?

longhorn's picture

Thanks for the comments...

I usually suggest people start at whatever hydration level they can readily and reliably work - 64, 62, even 60 if necessary to get the basic skills down. (And recognizing that regional variation and humidity and personal habits can impact the dough. I like to push people to learn to deal with wetter doughs though for I think most people find the wetter dough gives better pizzas. And once they can cope with a really wet dough, they can easily back down and deal with whatever hydration they prefer.

I think pizza and sourdaough are lifetime learning activities and definitely agree that the learning and experimenting are part of the fun.

SylviaH's picture

Lot's of good advice most available is KA and I prefer the AP for my thin crust pizza's...oven or wfo baking.


quickquiche's picture

In my experience, I really prefer bread flour. On every occasion that I used AP flour, it would tear and get holes in it when rolling it or trying to get it into a circle for the pizza.

I have never had this problem of tearing when I've used bread flour. Yeah, its a little chewier than AP, but much easier to work with. 

And when I cook my pizza, I use a perforated pan on a hot stone. Most of the pizza crust comes out thin but nice. Only the outer rim of the crust is thicker and more "chewy".


gborch's picture

I prefer AP flour with only water, flour, yeast, and salt. I get a very tender crust however the dough will not stretch as much and you have to make smaller pizzas. Peter Reinhart goes over this subject very well in American Pie.

SylviaH's picture

can be used where a lot of recipes call for a 'bread flour'. Dan DiMuzio has had some discussion on the use of KAAP flour when bread flour is called for in a recipe and to use a 'strong bread flour' then I would use the KABF.


sphealey's picture

Even in Reinhart's _American Pie_ book alone the dough formulas vary from King Arthur bread flour (very high gluten) to low-gluten Italian flour; I have also seen formulas calling for bagel flour (higher gluten than even KA bread) down to cake flour (very soft protein).  The different flours naturally produce somewhat different crusts, but they can all work for their intended crust type.  I suggest either following a formula strictly (_American Pie_ has many good ones) or experimenting to see what happens.  But there is no "correct" flour for pizza dough.


longhorn's picture

After using many, many flours for pizza dough I actually prefer my (somewhat local) War Eagle Mills AP and BF for both bread and pizza because I find it more aromatic than conventional "grocery store" bagged flour (of any brand) or 00 which seems to me to be "flat" in flavor by comparison. In my experimentation I found that a small amount (say 5 percent) freshly milled flour does a good job of boosting the aroma of grocery store flours. But IMO it all comes down to personal preference. And it is nice to have enough experience to understand your preferences.

I think American Pie is a great starting point for pizza dough and his handling/retarding/balling directions work well for me!


thomaschacon75's picture

I've tried all varities of flour for pizza and I can't say I've noticed any great differences, not even between AP and hi-gluten. There's some difference, sure, but I find it's dough hydration, fermentation length, and enrichment (milk, oil) that are the "real variables".

My general procedure is 500 g flour (whatever I have available), 400 g water, 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix it all together until it all comes together (don't knead or mix it at all), cover with plastic wrap, let it sit on the counter for 18-24 hours. I deflate it the next day and pop it the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days, poking it every so often to redestribute the yeast. When I want to make pizza, I remove a chunk of dough, add it to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let it come to room temp (~60 minutes), and then make pizza.

80% hydration will look like a thick pancake batter at first, but after a few days, it's happy, extensible, and cooperative. It's still very wet, so I use a lot of flour and parchment when forming the pizza.

If a more delicate dough is needed (not crunchy), I'll replace about 100 g of the water with olive oil and milk. This enrichment softens the final product just enough.

On the whole, I'd say putting too much effort into pizza dough is probably a waste of time. The delicate and subtle flavours from a well-made, slow-fermented dough, while they far surpass quick dough, are lost to the strong, contrasting flavours of pizza sauce and toppings.

pizzaluca's picture

UGGGHHHHHHHH. I cringe at reading these posts. There is so much confusion and slinging of info.

Making pizza dough is relative. To what? Baking method, ingredients available, time, style, expectations!!!!

Can we set some ground rules? Because there very much is a "correct" dough for styles/baking methods of pizza. NY style pizza or Neapolitan pizza? All other types of pizza have their place, but not necessarily applicable to creating a "dough" (chicago deep dish, pizza bagels, etc.)

Take note to my experience relative to WFO and Neapolitan style pizza:

Flour- protein content will be 11.5%- high gluten is unecessary. OO for texture is ideal.

ANYONE who says "forget the dough flour" or the dough has no flavor, is lost! and probably is a smoker who has no clue what the difference is between a same day dough and a 4 day old dough tastes like!

Hydration- 65-68% is ideal- for EXTENSIBILITY and 90 second bake times without scorch in 750 deg. ovens

Yeast- WHAT IT DOES IS produce bubbles and alcohol/flavor via fermentation. This can happen via bulk ferment at room temperature or over a long cold ferment- thats up to you...the result can be similar at a certain intersecting point.

OIL- NONE IS NECESSARY. Unless you really need to retard the dough fermentation and produce a dough more on the spectrum of focaccia, rather than a baguette

THIN CRUST???? WTF? This was probably devised by a advertising firm for Dominoes. Ever been to Rome? They have a pizza built on a docked dough that tastes like a cracker. no thanks.

The actual "crust" people refer to is the cornicione,  which if was really thin, would absolutely ruin the experience. Maybe we need to rename this "thin crust" idea.

im done. thanks

G-man's picture

Neapolitan pizza places have a significantly different idea of what constitutes a Neapolitan pizza than NY pizza places...

I think asking for consistency in ways to make, describe, or eat pizza is a lost cause. People will always disagree about what constitutes a real pizza and what does not. What is one person's "only correct way to make a pizza" is someone else's abomination.

I propose a new ground rule: If you like it, it's good. If you don't like it, try something else.