What is 00 flour and how is it different than bread flour?

Because baking is essentially chemistry where you get to eat the final (and hopefully delicious) product, it doesn't take long to realize that flour isn't just flour. Specific types of flours have certain uses and applications that they're best used for. One of these is 00 flour. 

If you've ever stood in your grocery store's baking aisle and been confused as to which flour to buy, you're probably not alone. While all-purpose flour may be a great go-to for general baking use, 00 flour is an Italian-based flour that's perfect for a specific type of baking (via Kitchen Stories). 

00 flour is a perfect choice for pizza dough

All-purpose flour can certainly be used to make homemade pizza dough, but some people insist that 00 flour is the only choice — and you should accept no substitutes. 

The Italian brand Caputo 00 flour is especially popular when making pizza dough for two specific reasons. The "00" is a reference to the flour's texture classification, and while a grind of type 1 is going to be rather coarse, 00 is at the opposite end of the spectrum and is incredibly fine (via The Spruce Eats). This flour also has a lower gluten content than all-purpose and other bread flours, with a gluten content between 8 to 12 percent, whereas all-purpose flour is slightly higher around 10 to 12 percent. Bread flour has an even higher gluten content at around 13 to 14 percent, and this is why it's used for especially chewy breads like bagels. 

Why 00 flour best suits pizza dough

So why does any of this matter when it comes to pizza dough? Well, gluten is responsible for the elasticity in breads, and 00 flour has just the perfect level. When it's used in pizza dough, it's going to deliver a deliciously chewy crust without being so chewy that it's rubbery. Nobody wants their slice of pizza to be as chewy as a bagel, so bread flour is best avoided when making pizza dough. 

One thing to consider is that 00 flour tends to be not only a little more difficult to find than all-purpose flour, but is also more expensive (via The Kitchn). One person in the comment section of The Kitchn found that King Arthur bread flour was a much cheaper substitute that produced a near-identical pizza crust — just something to keep in mind for any pizza making enthusiasts out there.