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What kind of flour do you use for pizza base?

The type of flour used to make pizza dough can have a big impact on the final crust. Pizza dough relies on gluten development to create a chewy, crispy crust. Gluten is a protein found in wheat flours that provides structure and elasticity. Choosing the right flour for your pizza dough ensures optimal gluten formation and a crust that holds up under the weight of cheese and toppings.

There are several common types of flour used to make pizza dough: bread flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and 00 flour. Each has its pros and cons depending on the characteristics you want in your final pizza crust. Let’s explore the differences between flours and how to choose which is best for your ideal pizza night.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is the most common choice for pizza crust. It has a high protein and gluten content, usually around 12-14% protein. The higher protein content allows more gluten to develop as the dough is kneaded. This results in a chewy, elastic, and sturdy crust that can hold its shape under the weight of toppings.

Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour. The extra protein gives structure to the pizza dough, but too much can make the crust tough. For this reason, many recipes call for a combination of bread and all-purpose flours. The all-purpose flour helps soften the crumb slightly.

Here are some benefits of using bread flour for pizza dough:

  • High protein content develops gluten easily.
  • Results in a chewy, elastic, and sturdy crust.
  • Holds its shape well under heavy toppings.
  • Adds crispiness when baked.

Bread flour is readily available and affordable. Any high-quality bread flour will work well for pizza as long as it has a suitable protein level. King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill make excellent bread flours for pizza crust.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is also commonly used for pizza crust. It has a lower protein content than bread flour, usually around 10-12%. The lower gluten formation leads to a softer, lighter crust.

All-purpose flour must usually be boosted with extra gluten to create enough structure for pizza dough. Vital wheat gluten can be added to AP flour to increase the chewiness and structure.

Here are some benefits of using all-purpose flour for pizza dough:

  • More readily available than bread flour
  • Lower protein for a softer crumb
  • Can be boosted with vital wheat gluten
  • Imparts lighter texture and color

All-purpose flour makes a great choice if you prefer a thinner, crispier crust vs a thick and bready one. It can develop adequate gluten for pizza crust when combined with high-protein bread flour or vital wheat gluten.

Any brand of all-purpose flour will work, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury. Choose unsifted flour for better gluten development.

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a healthy, high-fiber choice for pizza crust. It’s milled from the whole wheat berry instead of just the endosperm. This leaves more nutrients, like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Whole wheat flours range from 10-14% protein content. They can develop decent gluten for pizza crust, though the bran particles interrupt gluten strands slightly. This gives you a heartier, denser crust vs refined white flour crusts.

Some benefits of using whole wheat flour for pizza crust:

  • Adds nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Nutty, wheaty flavor
  • More rustic, substantial crust

The bran and germ in whole wheat flours accelerate starch damage. This leads to quicker breakdown of sugars and faster fermentation. Whole wheat crusts will bake up chewier with better rise.

You can use 100% whole wheat flour for pizza crust, but combining it with bread flour or vital gluten improves the structure. Aim for a maximum of 50% whole wheat flour in pizza dough.

Look for finely milled whole wheat flours like white whole wheat for pizza making. Brands like King Arthur, Bob’s Red Mill, and Arrowhead Mills make quality whole wheat flours.

00 Flour

In Italy, 00 flour is the gold standard for Neapolitan-style pizza crust. 00 refers to the finely ground texture of the flour. It’s very finely milled from soft wheat with a low protein content of 8-10%.

The low protein content gives 00 flour a soft, tender crumb. Without the bran and germ, it also has less enzymes to break down starches. This means the sugars are released more slowly during fermentation.

Here are some benefits of 00 flour for pizza:

  • Very fine, powdery texture
  • Soft, tender, easily stretched crust
  • Light color and flavor

The downside of 00 flour is a lack of gluten development. Most recipes call for high-gluten bread flour to be added to create enough chew and structure. Some brands mill 00 flour from harder wheat to increase the protein levels.

If you want an authentic Neapolitan pizza, look for Italian imported 00 flour like Caputo. It’s expensive but gives the ideal airy, charred crust.

Other Flour Options

In addition to the common flours above, there are several other specialty flours used in pizza dough:

  • Semolina flour – Coarsely ground durum wheat for texture
  • Spelt flour – Sweet, nutty flavor
  • Einkorn flour – Ancient wheat variety
  • Sprouted wheat – Easier to digest

Semolina flour is often used for a portion of the dough to add crunch and sweetness. Spelt, einkorn, and sprouted wheat appeal to artisan pizza makers looking for something unique. While less common, these alternative flours impart their own flavor and texture qualities to pizza crust.

Choosing the Best Flour for Pizza Crust

So how do you decide which type of flour to use? Here are some tips:

  • For a chewy, elastic crust, use bread flour or a bread/AP mix.
  • All-purpose flour makes a crisper, lighter crust.
  • Add whole wheat flour for nutrition and hearty texture.
  • 00 flour gives an airy, Neapolitan-style crust.
  • Semolina, spelt, or einkorn create unique flavor.
  • Combine two flours to customize gluten levels and texture.

Consider the style of pizza you want. New York-style pizza needs an elastic crust to stretch thin and hold up layered toppings. Neapolitan pizza bakes at high heat for a puffy, spotty char. Detroit-style pizza requires a sturdy yet crispy crust to support thick cheese layers.

Your ideal crust texture also determines flour choice. Love a crisp crunch? Go for all-purpose or a lighter 00 blend. Prefer chewy and bready? Use high-protein bread flour.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with flour combinations in your pizza dough! Tweak ratios until you find your perfect pizza crust.

How to Store Pizza Dough

Properly storing pizza dough preserves freshness and flavor. Here are some tips:

  • Refrigerate – Store dough in fridge up to 5 days in airtight container.
  • Divide and freeze – Portion balls of dough to freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Coat in oil – Lightly coat dough ball in olive oil before storing to prevent drying.
  • Use plastic wrap – Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap if not using a storage container.
  • Allow rising – Let dough rise at room temp for 1-2 hours before refrigerating.

Cold fermentation in the fridge slows yeast activity and allows better flavor development. Just remember to pull dough from fridge at least 1 hour before baking so it can warm up.

If freezing dough longer than 1 month, place balls in freezer bags. Thaw in fridge overnight before using.

Tips for Working with Pizza Dough

Handling pizza dough properly ensures you get the perfect crust:

  • Use a scale for accuracy when measuring ingredients.
  • Mix dough just until ingredients incorporate, avoid overmixing.
  • Knead thoroughly until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Cover dough as it rises to prevent drying out.
  • Use parchment paper to easily transfer dough to baking surface.
  • Stretch dough slowly without tearing.
  • Crimp edges for a nice presentation.
  • Rotate pizza in oven for even browning and crisping.

With the right flour and technique, you’ll be stretching and baking picture-perfect, delicious pizza crusts in no time!

Common Pizza Crust Recipes

Here are recipes for the most popular styles of pizza crust to try at home:

New York-Style Thin Crust

  • 3 cups (375g) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

This hand-tossed crust bakes up thin and crisp. It can hold hefty toppings like pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions.

Classic Neapolitan Crust

  • 2 1⁄4 cups (280g) 00 flour
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (155g) bread flour
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300 ml) warm water
  • 2 1⁄4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

This soft, pillowy crust is perfect for an authentic margherita pizza straight from a 900°F wood-fired oven.

Sicilian Thick Crust

  • 3 1⁄2 cups (430g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (360ml) warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Arectangle pan gives this crust its trademark thick, fluffy layers. Smother it in tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Chicago Deep Dish Crust

  • 3 cups (375g) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300ml) water
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

This sturdy crust can hold layers of chunky tomato sauce, melty cheese, and delicious toppings.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups (160g) gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

A blend of flours like tapioca, brown rice, and potato makes a flexible, sheetable gluten-free crust.

Common Toppings for Homemade Pizza

Deck out your homemade pizza with classic or unique toppings! Here are some delicious ideas:

Meats Veggies Cheeses
Pepperoni Bell peppers Mozzarella
Italian sausage Onions Parmesan
Bacon Mushrooms Provolone
Chicken Black olives Ricotta
Salami Fresh basil Goat cheese
Meatballs Green peppers Gorgonzola
Ham Pineapple Fontina
Anchovies Jalapeños Asiago
Ground beef Artichokes Cheddar

Feel free to mix and match toppings or load up on your favorites. Endless possibilities for customizing pizza!

Pizza Making Tools

Having the right gear makes homemade pizza even easier. Stock your kitchen with these helpful tools:

  • Pizza Peel – For sliding pizzas into the oven
  • Pizza Stone or Steel – Creates crisp crust
  • Rolling Pin – Thins and shapes the dough
  • Bench Scraper – Cuts and portions dough
  • Pizza Cutter – Slices finished pizzas
  • Parchment Paper – Non-stick surface for stretching
  • Kitchen Scale – Weighs ingredients precisely

Nice-to-have items include pizza pans, a pizza oven, or specialty ingredients like 00 flour. But the basics above help make bakery-quality homemade pizza more easily.

Freezing and Reheating Pizza

Leftover homemade pizza keeps well in the freezer. Here’s how:

  • Allow pizza to cool completely before freezing.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil.
  • Place in freezer bag or airtight container.
  • Freeze for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw wrapped pizza in fridge before reheating.
  • Reheat pizza at 375°F until hot, 5-10 minutes.

The crust may lose some crispness after freezing. But a quick pass through the oven brings it back to life.

For quick individual portions, freeze leftover slices on a baking sheet until solid. Then transfer to bags and remove slices as needed.


When making pizza at home, the flour you choose for the crust makes all the difference. High-protein bread flour gives you that perfect chewy yet crispy texture. While all-purpose and 00 flours provide lighter versions. Mix and match flour types to customize the exact pizza crust you crave. Top with classic meats, veggies, and cheeses or go inventive based on your preferences. With the right tools and techniques, you can create incredible homemade pizza any night of the week. So unleash your inner pizza chef and get creative with your own pizzeria-quality pies!