Whatever qualities a recipe requires in its flour, there are many great alternatives to using 00 flour. The best substitutes for 00 flour are:
- Bread Flour
- All-Purpose Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Pastry Flour
- Semolina Flour
Which one is best will depend on the recipe and dish cooked.
For example, a dish that needs elastic dough will work best with high protein flours like bread flour or semolina flour. A dish that requires finely textured flour will work best with pastry flour or even all-purpose flour.
Using a different flour will change some of the characteristics of your dish, but they may end up enhancing the dish. In the end, experimentation is required to learn which substitute works best for your dishes and tastes.
Different flour varieties have characteristics that affect the dishes they are used to create. How flour is labeled depends on the country or area. Similar flours may have many different designations or go by other names.
The designation 00 in 00 flour describes the texture of the flour. This designation goes from 00, finely ground, to 2, coarsely ground.
00 flour is the traditional variety of flour in Italy and is common in pizza and pasta recipes. This type of flour may be hard to find outside of regions of Europe, where you can find the 00 designation in use.
It can be challenging to find 00 flour in North America, stemming from the differences in how flour is designated.
In North America, differentiations are based on protein content and not texture.
Different brands of 00 flour have differing properties, such as protein content and gluten levels, so there is no singular form of 00 flour.
When using a replacement for 00 flour, you can use the same ratio of the substitute flour as is noted in the recipe you are following. Even with a substitute, if you are cooking a dish for the first time, follow the recipe as closely as possible.
Top 5 00 Flour Alternatives
1. Bread Flour
Bread flour is milled from hard wheat combined with other flours, such as barley, to strengthen it. This variety of flour is typically more coarsely ground than 00 flour, though how coarse varies by brand.
Bread flour has a high protein content and has high levels of gluten. Because of these properties, bread flour produces a sticky and elastic dough, perfect for making pizza dough or pasta.
The elasticity of bread flour dough lets it be stretched without breaking and helps dishes such as pasta keep their shape while cooking.
The high protein content in bread flour makes it easy to work with compared to other flour. Bread flour dough can be stretched without effort and rises well while baking.
Pizza crusts created with bread flour will be chewy and bread-like, good for pizza recipes with heavy toppings.
The high protein and coarser texture allow bread flour to absorb more water than most 00 flour. Because of this, bread flour as a 00 flour substitute may increase the amount of water needed in a recipe. Specifics will vary depending on the recipe and the quality of the flour used.
There is no exact ratio of how to change ingredients, such as water or other liquids, but roughly following the guidelines of the recipe will still yield comparable results.
One of the differences between 00 flour and bread flour is how quickly they cook. If using bread flour as a substitute to 00 flour, you may have to cook your dish slightly longer.
The main draw of 00 flour for dishes such as pizza is its ability to cook rapidly, which comes from its low saturation point. Flour that requires more water, such as bread flour, will take slightly longer to cook.
2. All Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is made from blending hard and soft wheat flour. It is also usually enriched to add nutrition. Some varieties are bleached, but unbleached is also available in most places. All-purpose flour is produced only from the endosperm of the wheat and does not include the bran or germ.
All-purpose flour is a good 00 flour substitute for pizza and is the most commonly available. While it is not completely useful for all purposes, its properties make it a good choice as a substitute for most other forms of flour, 00 included.
All-purpose flour comes in an array of textures, from fine to coarse, but is generally medium ground. It has medium to high protein content and medium gluten content.
Dough made with all-purpose flour, while not as elastic as bread dough, still stretches easily. This makes it a good substitute for 00 flour for pizza.
Similar to bread flour, all-purpose flour can absorb more water than 00 flour. The amount of extra water needed when using all-purpose flour as a substitute will vary depending on the specific characteristics of the brand. The additional water will also affect cooking times.
All-purpose flour also absorbs liquids slower than other varieties of flour. This may result in a dish requiring extra prep time or additional kneading relative to other substitute flour. Other than that, all-purpose flour is easy to work with and widely available. It has an even spread of properties, making it a decent choice for any dish.
All-purpose flour is perfect for combining with other flours to achieve specific characteristics. It is good at balancing out the qualities of various flours, either strengthening or softening them to produce better results than using the flours on their own.
3. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is produced from milled wheat endosperm, bran, and germ. The segments can be milled together or combined after being milled separately. Whole wheat flour is known for its high fiber content and naturally high nutritional value compared to other flours.
Whole wheat is another widely available substitute for 00 flour. Whole wheat flour has fine, medium, and coarse varieties. Fine or medium textured options will be the best 00 flour replacement.
Whole wheat flour makes for heartier dishes compared to other flours. The texture of the grain is more apparent in dough and dishes made from whole wheat flour regardless of how finely ground it is.
Pizza dough made from whole wheat flour will be heavy and dense, making for a unique and artisanal texture. Whole wheat flour generally has a more distinct flavor than most other flour.
The taste should be a consideration when using it as a substitute. The coloration of the flour and dough will also be a darker color than white flour, typically a light brown.
Whole wheat flour produces dough with good elasticity, making it a good 00 flour substitute for pasta. The dough is durable when stretched and holds its shape well, which lends itself to making pasta.
Mixing lighter varieties of flour with whole wheat flour can lessen the heaviness of the dough. The strong flavoring of whole wheat flour will remain even when mixed, letting you have the best of both worlds when it comes to flavor and texture with this flour.
4. Pastry Flour
Pastry flour is made from soft wheat and is high in starch. Like 00 flour, pastry flour is among the most finely textured flours available. Unlike most 00 flours, however, pastry flour has a low protein content.
Pastry flour is found in desserts and pastries recipes, producing a light and airy texture. The flour is not inherently sweet and is useful for a wide variety of dishes. Pastry flour is best used for pizza in combination with other flour or through using ingredients like vital gluten.
Mixing pastry flour with a strong, high protein flour can help you tailor the characteristics of the flour to fit a variety of dishes including pizza and pasta.
The more delicate and tender textures produced by pastry flour make it a good counterbalance to heavier flours like bread flour or whole wheat flour.
Pastry flour, having low protein content, is weaker than other flour. Over-kneading the dough can lessen the quality of the dish. Recipes that require kneading, such as pizza, should be made with extra care.
5. Semolina Flour
Semolina flour is produced from ground duram wheat and enriched for added nutrition. Semolina flour has a high protein content and is high in gluten. It is available in fine, medium, and coarse textures.
Semolina flour produces durable and elastic dough, making it a perfect substitute for 00 flour when making pasta. Semolina flour dough stretches well without breaking. The dough holds its shape well when molded and is less sticky than other flour doughs.
The durability of semolina flour dough additionally means that pasta made with it will keep better than those made with other flours.
The protein and gluten structure of the flour helps the pasta keep its shape even when stored or frozen.
Like whole wheat flour, semolina flour has a strong flavor compared to other flour. The taste is often described as nutty or earthy. The coloration of semolina flour is typically a shade of yellow, making dishes made from it visually distinctive.
Excellent article. Thank you for your work!
I agree with Heather, excellent article and very informative. The shops near me do not sell 00 flour and your efforts saved me a lot of time!