Flour types can make a world of difference in pizza-making, affecting the taste, texture, and structure of the dough. Not only do you have to choose the correct flour for specific pizza styles, but you also have to account for your equipment. For example, Tipo 00 flour is best cooked with incredibly high heat for short periods of time (~2 minutes), which is why Neapolitan is typically associated with wood-fired ovens. Conversely, AP and bread flours require a longer cook.
Different brands also have varying protein percentages, water absorption rates, and grind sizes – all of which can affect the final pizza results. The protein percentage is very important as this is what forms the gluten structure in dough. Water absorption typically depends on the grind size. Smaller and more finely grinded wheat may need slightly less water whereas a larger grind may need more.
A lot of pizza making requires patience and fine tuning to get the results you want, and I’m hoping this guide helps point you in the right direction of what type of pizza flour you should use and which brands make a reputable flour.
Bread flour, with a high protein percentage, is the backbone to an excellent New York style pie. The more complex structure (due to grind size and types of wheat used) results in a dough that can hold the weight of cheese when picked up. Bread flour requires more water than “00” and AP flours, so you will notice a 65% hydration recipe with bread flour is a bit less workable than one made with “00”. Bread flour pizzas work well in a variety of pizza ovens, but require a longer cook time compared to 00 flour. You can make an incredible NY style pie in true pizza ovens, wood fired ovens, or even a home oven with a pizza steel. In fact, I very much prefer making NY style pizzas in my home oven with a properly pre-heated pizza steel vs using my outdoor Ooni oven, the latter of which is easy to burn crust and toppings before the inside of the dough finishes.
Depending which Detroit pizza shop you visit, it can be a debated topic as to which flour to use for the crust. I tested out a few Detroit Style recipes and discovered that bread flour performs better than AP flour, resulting in a chewy bite with a very complex airy structure (whereas AP resulted in a more dense bite).
Best Bread Flour for Pizza
Kings Arthur Bread Flour
King Arthur regularly comes out on top for pizza lovers’ favorite flour brand. Its one of the oldest and most respected flour companies in the US and offers some of the highest quality flour you can get. The bread flour is made from unbleached, US grown, hard spring wheat rather than winter wheat. It has a high protein content – 12.7% a full percent higher than their AP flour – allowing bread to rise higher. It works well when mixed with whole grain flours to give a little lift to denser bakes.
Since high protein bread flour requires more water than AP flour, King Arthur recommends adding an extra 2 teaspoons of water per cup of flour to achieve the correct dough consistency.
I love King Arthurs flour for the delicious results I get when baking with it but also because it’s great to know that you’re working with a company with integrity. King Arthur Flour – now the King Arthur Baking Company – has a long history of excellence and, importantly, corporate morality. The company has been 100% employee owned since 2004 and has won awards for the way it treats its staff and customers. The website is filled with recipes to help you achieve the perfect bake. Plus they run a baking school and a hotline which will assist anyone who needs it with tips, tricks and advice on all things baking.
It’s true that King Arthur flour is one of the most expensive flours you can buy in the US but I do think that the extra expense is worth it when you consider the quality of both the product and the company.
Great River Organic Milling Unbleached Bread Flour
White Lily Bread Flour
A staple of the south, White Lily Flour has been helping bakers create the perfect biscuits for generations. However they have not stopped there and now create a range of flours for various bakes. The White Lily Bread Flour is made from hard wheat rather than the soft winter wheat of their other flours and is enriched and blended with malted barley flour. It has a higher protein content – a respectable 13% – and is better for breads, pizza crusts and any bakes that require kneading.
Unlike some of the other White Lily products, the bread flour is unbleached but still benefits from the same fine grind which characterizes White Lily flour. It allows bakers to create pizzas with a thicker chewier crust that those made with White Lily AP flour.
Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour
Bob’s artisan flour is a popular choice that works well for a whole range of bakes, including delicious pizza crusts, sourdoughs, and chewy, crusty baguettes. The unbleached, unbromated, flour is made from high quality enriched wheat with a high protein content and is blended with a little malted barley which helps yeasted breads to rise even better. The exact protein content of each bag of Bob’s Artisan Bread Flour varies according to its source, however it will be within the 12.5 – 13.5% range.
And in case you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, Bob’s Bread Flour comes with a recipe for the ‘perfect pizza crust’ right there on the bag.
Like King Arthur’s, Bob’s Red Mill is a respected company which I enjoy supporting. They have been 100% employee owned since 2020 and I respect their commitment to sustainability. They’re working hard to use fair trade, responsibly sourced products and to cut their waste and environmental impact while giving back to their community.
Tipo “00” Flour is the shining star of Neapolitan pizza. A good, quality “00” flour typically has around 12% protein; but more importantly, it’s the incredibly fine milling that sets it apart from other flours. This flour is very workable and you’ll notice it seems runnier when compared to bread flour recipes using the same hydration percentage. This is all because of the fineness of the milling.
True Neapolitan pizza has a very thin layer of crispy exterior and an incredibly light, airy, and slightly chewy inside. Neapolitan is one of the more difficult pies to replicate at home due to the requirement of an 800-900 degree oven. Within the last few years, there have been numerous innovations with portable outdoor pizza ovens, with some costing as little as a stand mixer.
Making a Neapolitan-style pizza in your kitchen oven is still possible with a pizza stone or pizza steel and preheated for an hour at 550F; however, results will still be a little lacking compared to a true pizza oven. The biggest difference you’ll notice is, when cooked in a home oven, it takes longer to get a crust on the outside, which cooks the interior longer and makes for a less airy, chewy bite.
Best Tipo 00 Flour for Pizza
Caputo “Blue” and “Red” Flour
The Antimo Caputo brand is the de facto standard for pizza flour. Their product is so well known that many simply refer to the flour as the “red bag” or the “blue bag”, depending which one is being used. So, you may be wondering what’s the difference between Caputo Blue (Pizzeria) vs Caputo Red (Chef)? Well, to make matters even more confusing, the company recently rebranded their products and changed the blue bag to be red!
So really what we want to know is what’s the difference between Caputo Pizzeria vs Caputo Chef. It really comes down to the types of wheat used in each bag, which Caputo does not disclose, but they do tell us the protein, strength, and elasticity. Caputo Pizzeria has 12.5% protein and is recommended for traditional Neapolitan pizza. This is your absolute best choice if you have a pizza oven at home that can reach 800-900 degrees.
If, however, you will be using your home oven, then the Chef bag will perform better. With 13% protein, this is a high gluten all purpose 00 flour labeled for everything from pizza to bread to pastries.
Anna Napoletana is a fantastic second option to Caputo, and the flour I use most often because it is sold locally in my stores. You can also often find it cheaper online. Anna Napoletana has 13.3% protein with a baby-powder like milling that allows for easy stretching and a super crisp crust. Anna Type 00 contains a proprietary blend of Cento soft-wheat flour that’s non-GMO, no added enzymes, and no additives.
King Arthur 00 Pizza Flour
King Arthur is usually some of the best flour you can get in the United States and are at the top of everyone’s lists. However, their 00 flour can be really expensive when compared to the prior brands. While this flour is milled to 00 standards, the wheat blend includes both soft wheat (common for Italian 00) and hard red wheat, which is more unusual. Note: do not confuse “King Arthur 00 Pizza Flour” with “King Arthur Pizza Flour Blend”, the latter of which is a mix and match of various ingredients (including Diastatic Malt Powder) that produces subpar results.
All Purpose Flour
With a mid-range protein content and milling size, AP flour does a good job at a lot of things, but it’s certainly not great for pizza. AP flour can be used for Detroit pan pizzas, however I feel bread flour at high hydration results in a better crust. Chicago deep dish is one style that really shines with AP flour. If you’ve never had this style pizza before, the crust is very different than any other, with a tall pie-like crust and a flaky bite to it.
If you plan on making pizza with all purpose flour, make sure to get one that has at least 10% protein (all of the AP flours we recommend below meet this criteria). The reasoning is because 10%+ protein results in much better breads and pizzas, while lower protein flours are better for cakes and pastries.
Best AP Flour for Pizza
AP flour is a versatile pantry staple, perfect for chefs who bake a range of items. While I wouldn’t recommend AP as my first choice for pizzas I do have to say that King Arthur’s AP flour is about the best of the bunch. If you have this one in your cupboard when you get an urge to bake pizza, you won’t be disappointed in the results.
Made from 100% US-grown hard wheat, unbleached and unbromated, it’s strong but light enough to make delicate baked goods. And with a protein percentage of 11.7%, it’s at the higher end of the range for AP flours and can make excellent pizza crusts. And since King Arthur mills its flours to a tested, consistent protein percentage – rather than a range – you can be sure that you’ll get the same results every time you bake.
Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s Red Mill offers a versatile all purpose flour that, like the King Arthur flour, is delicate enough for lighter bakes while being strong enough to make excellent breads and quality pizza crusts. It’s milled to a protein percentage between 10 and 12% to ensure good gluten development and can even be adapted via the addition of baking powder and salt to suit recipes that call for self raising flour.
The flour is sifted rather than bleached to achieve the white result and instead of bromate, malted barley is mixed in to assist with the raising process. Bob’s also offers an organic option that is not only unbleached and unbromated, but unenriched and made of certified, organic US wheat.
Gluten Free Flour
Thankfully there are numerous gluten-free pizza dough options available, from pre-mixed flours to ready-made dough. A few years ago I started buying gluten free flours because I thought that was the culprit for frequent discomfort, but it ended up being lactose related. Today, I still cook up gluten free pizzas from time to time for two reasons:
- I like having a flour and dough recipe that works in case I have someone over who is sensitive to gluten.
- I realized there are flour mixes now that can actually rise, cook to a nice color, and taste good!
Best Gluten Free Flour for Pizza
The Good Flour Co. Artisan Pizza Flour
The Good Flour Co. was created by talented international chefs who wanted to create healthy, gluten-free baking while not sacrificing texture or flavor. One of the results was this Artisan Pizza and Pasta Flour which is made from a mix of all natural, superfood ingredients packed with vitamins and minerals. It has a base of organic millet flour which contains 10% more protein than your typical flour. There’s also white rice flour which increases the dough’s air trapping abilities and tapioca to help give it that stretch. It’s gluten-free, allergen free, has no additives or fillers, and it makes a delicious pizza crust! We found this dough (with enough water added) was very workable and tasted great.
Lorraine’s Gluten Free Pizza Mix
Over ten years ago when Lorraine discovered she was gluten intolerant, she decided she wouldn’t let it hold her back. Through a process of trial and error and plenty of taste testing she came up with a range of gluten free flours and product that deliver great taste and texture without the unpleasant side effects.
Her pizza mix contains white and brown rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour and starch, potato starch, baking powder and yeast. It’s gluten, dairy and nut free and makes pizzas with soft chewy bases. It also makes delicious focaccia and flatbreads that are wonderful when covered with garlic, olive oil, herbs and seasalt.