When you’re baking, using the right flour is essential. 00 flour is a finely ground and sifted Italian flour used in pastries like pizza and cannoli shells because of its fine texture.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find outside of Italy and Europe, especially if you don’t have access to an international grocery store. But don’t let the lack of 00 flour stop you from making pizzas and focaccias from scratch.
There are several substitutes for 00 flour that yield great results (if you make a few minor tweaks in the recipe), such as:
- Rye Flour
- Cake Flour
- Bread Flour
- All-Purpose Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Semolina Flour
- Spelt Flour
That’s not it. I’ve also tried a bunch of gluten-free 00 flour substitutions such as almond flour, oat flour, buckwheat, and paleo baking flour purely out of curiosity. While they don’t taste like your everyday pizza crust, it’s a trade-off you can live with.
Read on to learn more about 00 flour substitutions and how each substitute impacts the taste and texture of the pie.
What Makes 00 Flour Best for Pizzas?
Pizza flour, or 00 flour, is universally regarded as the best flour for making pizzas for the following reasons:
- Due to its finer texture, pizza flour has less absorbency. This means you will need to use less water to achieve the desired consistency.
- In general, 00 flour has 10% protein, making it ideal for pizza doughs with 55% – 60% hydration. For 65%-70% hydration dough, you will need to use 00 flour with 12.5% or higher protein content, such as King Arthur or Caputo 00.
- Silky soft 00 flour doughs are delicate yet stretchy.
- The fineness of 00 flour yields a light and crispy, pleasantly chewy crust.
What Can I Use Instead of 00 Flour for Pizza? – 6 Best Substitutes for Pizza Flour
As the discussion above shows, 00 flour is the gold standard for classic pizza dough. But what if you don’t have access to it for whatsoever reason? Does it mean you can’t make delicious pizzas at home?
Umm, both yes and no. Mostly yes. In all honestly, the results won’t be exactly the same. The reason? Protein content. Some alternatives have less, while others have more than the ideal level of protein required for a Neapolitan pizza dough.
However, you can get decent results with these substitute flour options by playing around with the hydration level, baking temp, and time.
The baking parameters I am going to mention for each alternative aren’t set in stone. Ambient temperature, humidity, and your oven’s quirks will more likely determine the outcome than my suggestions.
Don’t worry, though. You will get it right after a couple of trials and errors.
Finely milled, light rye flour is surprisingly one of the best substitutes for 00 flour and my personal favorite. It has much less gluten than wheat, meaning you will likely not be able to make a thin, crispy crust.
However, it has a delicious flavor and chewy texture that makes for an excellent pie base.
What I love the most about rye flour pizza crust is the distinct flavor and aroma it adds to the dish. Don’t use dark rye, as the intense flavor will likely leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth.
I recommend using medium to light rye flour to give you the best results. You can bake the dough at 550 F (which is standard for most domestic electric ovens) for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.
Another surprisingly great alternative for pizza flour for domestic electric ovens, cake flour pizza crust was a revelation. The low protein content of cake flour allows it to cook quickly at low temperatures, while crusts made with high-gluten flour take too long.
A shorter cooking time yields a soft, chewy crust with a pleasant, mild taste. You can bake the dough at 480 F for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.
Bread flour is higher in protein than 00 flour, around 12 to 14%. This means it will result in a chewier crust and less air pockets than pizza flour. On the bright side, the higher protein content also makes it more suitable for 65%-70% or even 80% hydration pizza doughs.
For a 70% hydration dough, you will need to add 70 grams of water to every 100 grams of flour. Bake it at the highest temp your oven allows until the crust turns golden and crispy.
With around 8-9% gluten, A.P. flour lacks enough protein to give a pizza dough the right amount of rise. For the same reason, dough made with A.P. flour tends to get too crispy (like a cracker) and burn quickly.
However, with a very low hydration level and baking at a moderate temp (550 degrees) for 8-12 minutes. A.P. flour is commonly used for making Sicilian and deep-dish pizza crusts.
Whole Wheat Flour
Like bread flour, whole wheat flour also has a great elastic toughness due to its high gluten level (12% to 14%). If you are looking for a healthier substitute for refined flour, choose whole wheat high-hydration dough by all means.
Whole wheat crust will have a stronger flavor which can be easily masked with loads of delicious toppings. Note that whole wheat dough will require more water due to the higher fiber content and will also take longer to bake due to the lower pH level.
Semolina flour pizza crusts are super chewy and crispy. You should ideally mix it with cake flour for added elastic toughness to the dough. I would definitely recommend giving it a shot if you want a crust that can hold a lot of sauce and wet toppings without turning soggy.
It will take about 10 minutes or less for a semolina flour pizza crust to cook through at 550 F.
Spelt flour is a type of whole-grain flour that may be used to make bread. It’s similar in texture and taste to regular wheat flour but contains less gluten, so it’s often used for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It also has more fiber than other types of flour.
Spelt flour is made from an ancient wheat form with a higher protein content than regular wheat flour. It’s often used in bread, pastries, and other baked goods.
Like other pizza doughs made of high-gluten flour, spelt flour doughs will also benefit from high hydration, longer fermentation, higher oven temp, and short baking time.
4 Gluten-free Substitutes for 00 Flour for Pizza Making
Gluten is the very foundation of a pizza dough. It is what gives the crust its signature chew and structure, allowing it to hold the weight of toppings without collapsing.
Gluten-free pizza crusts are much more delicate and prone to crumbling if you don’t use the right ingredients and techniques.
Here are some gluten-free substitutes for 00 flour that will get you started on your quest for the perfect gluten-free pizza dough:
Can you use oat flour for pizza dough? Sure, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Oat flour is very absorbent, so you’ll need to add more liquid than you would for a traditional 00 pizza dough.
For example, if your standard 00 pizza crust recipe calls for 4 cups of flour, try using 3 cups of oat flour and 1 cup of water instead. Oat flour also has a mild flavor that won’t overpower your toppings like other grain flour might.
Perfect for individuals on a keto or paleo diet, almond flour adds a hint of nutty flavor to your pizza crust. It’s higher in protein than other grain flour, which means you will need more water to get the right consistency.
Almond flour also has a higher fat content than other grain flour, which means it absorbs more moisture and may result in a moister crust. If you’re making a pizza with almond flour, be sure to bake it longer than usual so that the middle isn’t soggy.
Buckwheat flour has a strong flavor that may take some time to get used to. It’s also high in protein and fiber, so it can be beneficial for those looking to increase their intake of both nutrients.
If you’re on a keto diet and want to use buckwheat flour, note that it’s not considered low-carb because it contains carbohydrates from raffinose (a type of sugar). However, it’s a healthier version of carbs.
Many people find that it makes the dough taste better if they let it sit overnight before use.
Paleo Baking Flour
Enjoying a pizza even when you’re on a paleo diet is possible. Pizza crust made of paleo flour is ultra-thin and crispy, which goes well with light toppings.
Make sure you use a high-quality brand of paleo flour and make the dough using cold water. It’s also important to roll out the dough very thin, so it’s best to use a pizza stone or baking sheet with holes in it.
And there you have it. 00 flour is a tough ingredient to substitute, but with the right alternatives, you can make pizzas just the way you like them without having to make any sacrifices.
I mean, the flavor and texture won’t nearly be the same, but there’s nothing a good old tomato sauce, combined with some fresh mozzarella and fresh toppings, can’t fix.