The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Ersatz Tipo 0 - AP 550 + Type 110?

Gadjowheaty's picture

Ersatz Tipo 0 - AP 550 + Type 110?

An interesting mixed rye bread from Brotdoc calls for Tipo 0 flour (though 550 is also fine).  I thought to simply blend in some Central Milling Type 110 with my regular KA AP, preferring a light touch with the additional bran v. using my WW (50:50 hard red winter: spring).  Thoughts?  %'s?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Isn't Tipo 0 flour the same extraction and ash % as "regular" AP/bread flour? Or the same as 550?.. Why do you need to blend?

Gadjowheaty's picture

It's a Brotdoc 70/30 mixed rye, after Werner Danz.  He indicates Werner uses a "high-gluten Tipo 0 Ciabatta Flour" but says 550 is fine, if you pull back on the water a bit. 

As I understand it, both Tipo 0 and 00 are made from soft wheat, aren't they? So they might have a similar gluten content, but a lower W?  And I think Tipo 0 vs. 00, the former just has a tad more ash.

Don't understand the benefit of a softer wheat and lower W, personally, for a boule rye/wheat/  Thoughts?

charbono's picture

There is no requirement that 0 or 00 flour be made from soft wheat.  Think of 00 pizza flour.  The following chart is from

The data in Table IV was obtained from Boriani, Guido, Fabrizio Ostani (7).   Italian law 4.7. 1967. n. 580 establishes that common wheat flours destined for commercial use can only be produced in the following types and with the following characteristics:

Table IV

 Per 100 Parts of Dry Substance
Type & DenominationMaximum Moisture %Maximum AshMaximum CelluloseMinimum Gluten
Flour Type 0014.50.50NA7
Flour Type
Flour Type
Flour Type
Flour -Wheat14.501.40 - 1.601.610
albacore's picture

In Italy, soft wheat (Grano Tenero) is basically wheat that isn't durum (Grano Duro).

So all the 00,0,1 etc grades, whatever the protein content, are made from soft wheat, in Italian terms.

This is not the same as how non-Italians see it; we think of soft wheat as weak/low protein.

This article explains it more fully.


Gadjowheaty's picture

OK, thanks guys, that clears it up.  Love stuff like that, albacore.  I've a decent handle on French wines.  Now, Italian....

As to the notion of it having slightly more bran content than a straight 550, it looks like a Type 65ish would do?  Probably negligible, just thought Bjorn's attention on it was interesting.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

It's one of those things where the flours aren't directly comparable because the defining characteristic used for the 'type' are not necessarily the same from one location to another.

In Australia, for example, we really don't have much availability of different mixes and grinds of flours and, as all our bread wheat (i.e. not feed) is white wheat, there's no need for any distinction there. Additionally, the combination of the climate and succeptibility to drought, along with the strong focus on the export market means that planting seems to be dictated largely by expected rainfall and exchange rates! We have a bumper crop at the moment because we have had good rain but also because the Aussie dollar was (and still is) comparatively low, making our grain that much more attractive for overseas purchasers, which in turn prompted more farmers to sow winter wheat to take advatange of the expected weather and market conditions.

The outcome there is that the differentiation between 'winter' and 'spring' wheat is not - generally - made on the basis of the resultant flour properties (though that's important, of course,) but on what will make best use of the expected rain and be profitable to grow.

The lack of any real developed bread culture and the small market for local artisan bakeries (who might drive that) means that we really just have two types of flour: white and wholemeal.

Thus, the only classification of flour we really have in Australia are those created by for the export market, comprising 4 main classes, that really only vary by protein - standard, premium, hard and prime hard.

In Italy, the main flour types are 00, 0, 1 and 2 and seem to correspond to particle size but, by law, they are defined by ash content, as are French flours. Tipo 0 is specificed as a maximum of 0.65% ash, which does indeed put it in the same area as a French T55 and German 550. (As the boundaries don't align perfectly, it could also fall into a T65 or 812 but that's at the top end of Tipo 0 and the bottom of T65/812.)

The confusing part, however, is when it is simply asserted that a given European flour - graded on ash content - is equivalent to to a flour that is defined by purpose or protein content.

Obviously, the bran has a higher protein content than the endosperm (ignoring gluten potential), so the higher the ash, the more bran there will be and thus the higher the protein content - all else being equal.

But that's the thing - all else is not equal!

For one, European flours are generally 'soft' wheat varieties (especially white wheat) but it's important to note that 'grano tenero' doesn't really mean 'soft' - it means tender.

So there are two types of wheat flour sold in Italy - tender wheat flour and hard wheat flour. The former is common wheat while the later is durum.

Again, there is a source of confusion as 'tender' wheat ends up just meaning everything that isn't durum, so grano tenero (tender grain) is a catch-all term for all common wheat, whether it is hard or soft, red or white, spring or winter. Wheat grown in Italy will generally be soft, white, spring wheat - which is low-protein/gluten, while the most common wheat in the US will be hard, red, winter wheat - which is high protein/gluten.

So, an Italian grano tenero made from 100% Italian-grown wheat will indeed tend to be 'soft' but Italy, like France, imports grain from around the world and so their available flours will range from soft, locally-grown wheat to a mid-strength mixture of local and imported and even to 100% imported. This is of course independent of the classification of the flour as concerns ash content.

Thus, while a '00' flour might be equivalent to a French T45 in ash content and, as T45 is considered 'pastry' flour, it might be assumed that '00' is therefore akin to a 'pastry' flour. That is a generalisation and one that fails probably more than it succeeds. A quick look at Caputo (for ease) shows they have '00' flours up to 14.5%, which means it is nearly certain that that is pure North American grain.

The story is the same for Tipo '0', of course.

And this is why the 'W' number is so useful for Italian flour - to figure out what the flour can do. The result is that you may find a '00' flour with W350 and thus ~13% protein - something that is likely not going make an awesomely soft cake! You can also see Tipo 1 flours at 13% protein but, as some of that protein is from the bran, which does not form gluten, the 'W' number (strength) will be lower!

Long story short: it's damned confusing but it helps to keep in mind that Italian flours are not 100% Italian wheat and, as they are classified by ash content, that is - at best - a guide for some of the properties of the flour and its suitability for any given purpose must be assessed on all the properties.

All up, though, and trying to be helpful, at least at the end, I would say you should avoid red wheat if you are looking to approximate an Italian flour.





mwilson's picture

In Italy, the main flour types are 00, 0, 1 and 2 and seem to correspond to particle size but, by law, they are defined by ash content, as are French flours. Tipo 0 is specificed as a maximum of 0.65% ash, which does indeed put it in the same area as a French T55 and German 550.

The persisting misinterpretation of these grades isn't going away anytime soon!

As you noted, typically European countries classify flour by its ash content and in Italy it is no different! Historically the reason exists as a way to establish assurance of a certain level of refinement at a time when the whitest purest flour was most prized.

In Italy you can find a product that is graded tipo 00 but also described as ‘Granito’. This is a slightly more coarse but still very refined flour as the 00 grade implicitly states. Thus, its existence should help to fell the longstanding misunderstandings of these grades.

Adding to the complication, the term ‘pastry flour’ is also subject to different interpretations. Not all pastries are made from weak low gluten flour. It appears many seem to think pastry only means shortcrust pastry. Take for example puff pastry, which requires flour that possesses strong and ample gluten content.

‘Pastry flour’ should really be understood to mean very refined unless stated otherwise. Indeed, this is how the equivalent translation ‘farina per pasticceria’ is understood in Italy. Traditionally bran and germ are not welcomed in sweet and savoury pastries and pastry flour should ideally be composed of near wholly endosperm.

E.g., ‘farina per Panettone’ or ‘per sfoglia’ are known as pastry flours.

Equally in France, T45 flour often referred to as pastry flour needs to be the right T45 for croissants and puff pastry and that is the one with a high gluten content.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Yes. Which, of course, is why I used the word "seem" - this is exactly what I am saying: that, at first blush, 00 might be taken to be a measure of fineness but this is only incidental and the relevant metric is - as I go on to say - ash content.

Not sure why you felt the need to give a prefectly grammatical and correct statement a strike through there, mate, but I do appreciate the elaboration on the granito flours, which was something I was going to mention but figured I had laboured away at my point (that it was about the ash content) for quite long enough already.


Gadjowheaty's picture

Glad you mentioned the need for strong flours when it comes to laminate doughs.  Too few know this, grab "pastry flour" off the shelf and can't figure out why the result is always disappointing.

hanseata's picture

In Germany you can mail-order about any flour from surrounding countries (apart from having several German types in grocery stores). Brotdoc, Lutz Geissler, and other bread bloggers of note, have fairly easy access to those and like trying them out.

Since US flours are specified by protein percentage and European ones by ash content, you basically have to go by similar protein content. I use all-purpose flour for Italian Tipo 0, and you can either take all-purpose or bread flour to substitute German Typ 550. You don't have to add any bran or WW flour to achieve the same results. But keep in mind that European flours might absorb a little less water than US flours.

A while ago, I came up with an American-European flour translation, it's certainly not scientific or perfect, but works well for me.

Happy baking,


Gadjowheaty's picture

Sorry for the belated reply, Karin.  Been a bit under the weather for a while.  

First, let me say, I have referred to your ersatz/equivalents page quite a bit.  In fact I recommended it to someone a few weeks back, who had seen a photo of my "Black Hamster" and was interested in German flours.

Thanks, too, on both the sourcing issue with respect to Bjorn/Lutz/other bloggers' access to flours.  Envious is putting it mildly.  As well, the rest of the info on Tipo 0 and 550.  I wasn't aware Euro flours may absorb less water.  Can you tell me the reason?

hanseata's picture

The differences in water absorption came up as a topic quite a few times, the likeliest explanation seems to be the different protein content of European and American flours.

Though I baked a lot of German bread recipes in the US, and often had to add a bit more water, I haven’t really tried it out the other way round. I would hold a little water back, if I would bake American breads with German flours, and see how it goes.