The key to a pizza dough you can take pride in lies in the gluten. “Without gluten, pizza dough would be tough, flat, and pale.” – Ken Forkish, baker and author of Flour Water Salt Yeast.
And that’s precisely why I don’t dare use anything other than King Arthur 00 flour to make my pizzas.
Thanks to the low gluten content and finely ground texture, King Arthur 00 flour is ideal for Neapolitan-style thin and airy crust.
I have tried other brands of 00 flours as well. But no other brand in the US has been able to replicate the airiness and pillow texture yielded by King Arthur.
For the sake of experiment, I prepared proofed pizza bases made with bread flour, AP flour, as well Caputo 00 flour for two days in the refrigerator. Then I compared them to my tried and tested 48-hour-proofed King Arthur dough.
And here’s what I found:
A Quick Flour Test in My Kitchen: The Results
Pizza Base with Bread Flour:
- The crust had a denser texture compared to King Arthur 00 flour.
- While it was crispy on the outside, it lacked the desired chewiness.
- The flavor was good but not as complex as King Arthur’s.
Pizza Base with All-Purpose Flour:
- The crust was similar to bread flour, with a denser texture.
- It also lacked the desired chewiness and fell short on the crispiness.
- The flavor was decent but didn’t match the complexity of King Arthur’s.
Pizza Base with Caputo 00 Flour:
- The crust made with Caputo 00 flour had an excellent balance of crispy and tender, chewy texture.
- It exhibited good elasticity, making it relatively easy to stretch and shape the dough.
- The flavor was notably delicate, with a mild and pleasant taste.
Comparison to King Arthur 00 Flour:
- King Arthur 00 flour produced a pizza base with an ideal balance of light and chewy texture.
- The flavor profile of King Arthur 00 flour was superior to that of bread flour and AP flour. The Caputo crust was honestly pretty darn good. It’s just that King Arthur 00 flour had a slightly more pronounced, nuanced flavor with a hint of nuttiness.
- King Arthur 00 flour dough had a much superior elasticity compared to All-purpose flour and bread flour. The Caputo dough was very easy to shape too, so I didn’t notice much of a difference.
King Arthur 00 Dough Recipe
Okay, first things first, the recipe written on the bag will yield suboptimal results, so feel free to ditch it. Use your own recipe instead if you don’t have a foolproof Neapolitan pizza dough recipe yet. No worries.
Here’s how I make it:
- 14 oz. water (1 ¾ cups)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- About ½ teaspoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2.5 cups King Arthur flour (spooned and leveled)
- Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, extra virgin olive oil, and flour to a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Add yeast mixture and stir until the dough comes together.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down and divide it into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into an 18-inch log, about 1 ½ in wide. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
Additional Tips (Which I Learned the Hard Way)
- Finely milled flour can be a bit tricky to work with, so measuring your ingredients accurately is key. Invest in a kitchen scale to ensure you’re using the right amount of flour, water, and other components. Eyeballing it might lead to disappointment.
- I used to rush through the dough-making process, thinking I could speed things up. King Arthur 00 flour, though, benefits from a slow, patient approach. The gluten in this flour needs time to develop properly, so let your dough rest and rise longer than you might be used to.
- Mix the ingredients gently, just until they come together. Overmixing can make the dough too dense and tough, so take it easy, and remember that a little extra kneading can go a long way.
Achieving the Leopard-spotted Neapolitan Crust
If you are looking for a pizza flour that can handle high levels of hydration, this is it. Let me explain why.
King Arthur 00 flour is a finely milled, high-protein flour used in many professional kitchens for Neapolitan pizza. It’s made from hard red spring wheat.
This gives it a consistent structure that helps the dough hold together while you stretch it out, resulting in a thin, crispy crust.
King Arthur’s website notes that their 00 flour has a protein content of 11.5%. It’s also milled to have a low ash content (as ash can contribute to gluten development).
As you can see, King Arthur 00 flour has a slightly higher protein content compared to its contemporaries.
A high protein level means this flour can absorb more liquid. What does that mean?
It would help you get those beautifully charred leopard spots on the crust by lots of steam in the oven.
Dodge Dough Disaster: 00 Beats Bread Flour
If you are thinking of making pizza from scratch for the first time, it’s normal to wonder whether the pantry staple all-purpose flour can do the trick.
Sorry to disappoint, AP flour is not suitable for making pizzas, especially if it’s the Italian style crust that you’re after.
All-purpose flour is less than ideal for pizza because of its low gluten content.
Regular all-purpose flour contains approximately 9% gluten, while King Arthur 00 flour contains 11% gluten.
This means AP flour has a lower capacity to trap bubbles of CO2 produced by yeast during fermentation, resulting in a less elastic dough.
Apart from being less pliable, all-purpose flour pizza dough doesn’t rise as much during proofing as 00 flour, resulting in a pizza with a thicker crust.
In addition to these effects, unbleached all-purpose flour also has a more delicate flavor and texture that can’t stand up to the bold flavors of toppings like pepperoni or chorizo.
King Arthur 00 Flour contains a moderate amount of gluten, which helps it strike the sweet spot between elasticity and softness.
This results in a light, airy, nicely charred crust (Italian stamp of approval guaranteed).
King Arthur Bread Flour vs. 00 Flour – The Better Option for Pizzas
The key difference again lies in the gluten content. Bread flour usually has a much higher gluten content than 00 flour. Therefore, it’s a better choice for baking bread with a chewy texture.
However, 00 flour is the way to go for something like pizza or focaccia due to its moderate gluten content.
Too much gluten can make the pizza crust too chewy and tough and difficult to stretch, which is why 00 flour is the preferred choice.
King Arthur 00 Pizza Flour Review – Is It Worth the Price (and Hype)?
I was a loyal patron of Caputo before I switched to King Arthur. As discussed before, while both flours make amazing pizzas, King Arthur is a better choice for Neapolitan crusts, which is more to my liking than other pizza variants.
If you are new to pizza making and repeatedly end up with a bread-like crust despite your best efforts, switching to King Arthur can be a game changer for you.
Considering a 3 lb bag makes about 10 small thin-crust pizzas, I would say it’s more cost-effective than its “artisanal” contemporaries.
Next Read: Substitute for 00 Flour (Including Gluten-free Options)
Don’t just limit yourself to pizzas; this flour is also suitable for focaccia or basic fresh pasta dough. If you wish to give it a whirl for making lasagna sheets and ravioli, go for it.
That’s not it. I have also made almond crumble with it to jazz up my tarts and ice cream pieces.
On the downside, this flour is not at all suitable for making gnocchi.
The high gluten content adds a disturbing amount of chew to the potato dumplings (you read it right, gnocchi is a type of dumpling, not pasta).
I would suggest keeping the flour in an airtight container because the resealable bag doesn’t seal properly after several uses.
The Battle of the 00s: King Arthur vs. Caputo
King Arthur Flour is one of the most popular brands in the United States. It’s a company that has been around for decades and has a reputation for high-quality products.
However, King Arthur isn’t the only brand out there. There are other brands that make excellent pizza flour as well, such as Caputo 00 Flour.
So why would you choose King Arthur over Caputo? Well, let’s take a look at both!
King Arthur, as mentioned previously, has a protein content of 11.5%, whereas Caputo 00 contains 12.5% of protein.
Despite the minor difference, I found Caputo 00 to be a better choice for long fermentation.
I have made NY and Chicago-style pizzas with Caputo 00 with great success.
It tastes great and has the ability to take up a lot of sauce and wet toppings without going soggy.
If you have to bake pizzas with lots of toppings at sub-700F temp, you should try Caputo 00.
However, suppose you are specifically looking to create authentic light and crunchy hand-rolled Neapolitan pizza, and you have a wood-fired oven like OONI. In that case, you’ll likely have a better outcome with King Arthur.
High hydration level and stretchability make the dough puff up and char evenly at 800-900F. I like to taste the crust. Hence, I avoid overwhelming my pie with a gazillion toppings and oodles of marinara.
Here is a table comparing King Arthur 00 flour to Caputo 00 flour to give you a clearer idea:
|King Arthur 00 Flour
|Caputo 00 Flour
|Soft, extensible, velvety
|Drier, requires more kneading
|Airy interior, audible crunch
|Thinner, crispier, cracker-like
|Larger air bubbles, good rise
|Faster fermentation, smaller air pockets
|Good charring and leopard spotting at high temp
|Gets nice char but air pockets
|Nuanced flavor with a hint of nuttiness
|Good flavor but less nuanced
|Very easy to shape.
Not much difference in elasticity
- King Arthur produces a softer, airier dough and crust with a more complex flavor
- Caputo results in a crisper, thinner crust with a good but less pronounced flavor
- Both offer great elasticity for shaping but King Arthur has superior stretch
Can you use King Arthur 00 pizza flour for pasta?
Definitely, you can easily make fresh pasta dough with this flour. I have made lasagne sheets, ravioli, and fettuccine with it a couple of times.
Is King Arthur 00 pizza flour gluten-free?
The standard King Arthur 00 Pizza Flour is NOT gluten-free. However, they do sell a gluten-free version.
So there you have it! King Arthur 00 pizza flour is definitely worth it—it’s an amazing product that will make your pizza taste better than ever.
If you’re looking to make the best possible pizza crust, I can’t recommend this product enough. It will give you the perfect combination of flavor and texture that you want from a good pizza crust.