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Her Majesty’s Secret Flour

That’s ”00” to you.

And yes, you can shake it or stir it, but you might get very messy in the process.

Sorry about the James Bond 007 pun, but I couldn’t resist. Doppio zero flour is also known as “OO” flour. The numbers refer to the grade of flour. The “00” is the finest milled available.

I was induced to hunt it down after making the pizza dough recipe in the “A16 Food+ Wine” (Ten Speed Press) cookbook by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren. The first time I made it, I used all-purpose flour. It turned out incredible. But of course, wondering if a good thing could be made even better, I was curious if “00” would produce an even more spectacular dough, since A16 restaurant uses that regularly for its pasta and pizza doughs

While in Wine Country recently, I happened to find bags of Italian doppio zero at Sunshine Foods Market in St. Helena. I loaded up on it. 

The “00” flour is very light and powdery to the touch. Following the A16 recipe, I mixed the “00” flour with a smidgen of yeast dissolved in water, olive oil, and salt. I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge for two days to ferment and slowly rise. 

When I pulled out the dough, I noticed it was stickier than the one I had made with all-purpose flour. It might be that the “00” is so fine, you need more of it. But because the recipe gives the flour measurement only in cups, not in grams, it’s hard to tell.

This dough also was more elastic. Indeed, it was easy to stretch the dough very thinly so that the pizza baked up with a very crisp center. 

Before putting the pizza on a baking stone in the oven, I layered on my own combination of paper-thin slivers of garlic, truffle cheese, and fresh basil leaves. When it emerged blistered and golden from the oven, I draped prosciutto over it. 

It was one mighty fine pizza. I can’t say that the “00” flour imparted any more taste necessarily to the pizza. But it made the dough a pleasure to work with, and perhaps even crispier. 

If you’d like to try it yourself, here are some helpful links to my review of the A16 book, along with the recipe for the pizza dough. For more visuals, here is the link to my photos of the pizzas I made with all-purpose flour. And to read a short, fun interview with Executive Chef Appleman, click here.

Besides Sunshine Foods Market, you can find doppio zero flour at Forno Bravo in Windsor, Calif.; Lucca Delicatessen in San Francisco; and Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in Pittsburgh. 

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