We didn’t expect flour to become fashionable but right now it seems that “00” is everywhere.
To help you navigate the world of pasta flour, our resident expert will answer some frequently asked questions. Nicolas has 15 years of experience in the milling industry and is a flour aficionado. This is his moment!
There’s more than one type of flour?
Yes! Different countries grade their flour in different ways. In the UK flour is graded by protein content. Strong white flour has approximately 13% protein and an ‘extraction rate’ of around 75%. The extraction rate is how much of the original grain makes it into the flour i.e. how much grain is extracted.
The more grain that gets extracted, the higher the protein content. White flour has a lower extraction rate because it only uses the endosperm (yep, you read it correctly) of the grain as opposed to wholemeal flour which uses the whole grain.
So what is 00?
Doppio Zero (as it’s called in Italian) is the whitest and finest flour. It has about 8% protein and a low extraction rate. There are no extra bits of grain and it is milled to a very fine particle size. It’s more expensive because millers lose about 30% of the grain.
Why is 00 important for pasta making?
Think of 00 as a blank canvas. Its whiteness is what makes it the ideal backdrop to paint the pasta with a fabulous rich egg. The protein content of pasta is raised by mixing durum semolina and by adding that pasta-perfect egg.
If you mix other flours in homemade pasta they will work but your results will probably be muddy in colour and the texture won’t be as smooth.
What does La Tua use?
We have been using 00 from two Italian mills for a very long time. We have tried other flours, including English flour to be completely Brexit-ready, but we always go back to 00.
We find that other flours make the pasta too dark. Moreover, all white flour that is milled in the UK has to be fortified with calcium carbonate, iron, vitamin B1 and Nicotinic acid. This law was put in place to fortify diets during World War Two. It made sense back then, when diets were not as nutritious, but ultimately we prefer to use natural ingredients and find that Italian ‘00’ flour always delivers our signature golden colour.