With Christmas around the corner, we all start to think about baking lots of good sweet stuff that will smell good in the oven and puts us in the right Xmas spirit.
The flour is an important ingredient in baking, and in Italy, there are mainly two types of flower; 0 and 00, and another one called Manitoba Flour (usually) imported from Canada.
Difference Between 0 and 00
The names 00 and 0 Flour refer to specifically Italian milled flour that is used for pasta making. You will find that this is also called “Doppio Zero” just meaning “double zero”.
The grading system is 2, 1, 0 or 00 and indicates to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. Two (2), for instance, is a wholemeal flour while 00 is the most refined of three (3) and has the lowest level of bran.
We know for sure that the 00 flour is ideal for the preparation of cakes, while the 0 flour is bought when you want to prepare a nice pizza at home.
The difference is not as abysmal as we want to think. The “00” flour has undergone 50% sifting; the flour “0” of 72%, the type “1” of 80% and the type “2” of 85%; the whole wheat flour was subjected only to a first grinding phase, without further tumblers, and has a 100% sifting rate.
Zero (0) is pretty much the one that is called “All-Purpose Flour” in the US.
When our ancestors decided to remove the outside to produce a more white and refined flour it was not because they were stupid, but because with white flour the products were more good and nutritious. Yes, nutrients, because the part that is eliminated has two main characteristics:
- It is unpleasant to the palate (I challenge anyone to tell me that the [bran] is good); It is full of non-nutritious or even anti-nutrient substances (fibers, [phytates], etc.).
- I personally do not think that the 0 flour has been deprived of everything; it has only been deprived of everything that would make it less good.
Anglo-Saxon countries call “bread flour“. The wheat for bread flour is not cultivated in Europe, so European bakers tended to import small amounts from Canada and call it “Manitoba flour“. The flour gets its name from Manitoba, the south-western province of Canada where the production of this particular kind of wheat, highly resistant to the cold, traditionally came from.
The Manitoba flour is one of the ingredients used for the production of special bread, like the French baguette, slow leavening pizza and particular food products.
The ideal pastry making a base for slow leavening desserts, such as panettone, pandoro and colomba (Easter Traditional Cake).
About imports of flour from Canada perhaps it would be useful to read ”All About Pasta.”