What's the difference between the flour in the blue bag vs the red? I'm not even sure which one I have since my local Italian shop re-bags it, but I've seen the red bags in the store, so I kind of assume that's it. I've used it with great success in making pasta, but I'm thinking of trying pizza dough. The blue bag is labeled "Pizzeria Flour", but the red bag also claims that it is good for pizza. What's the difference?
Caputo Rosso (red) might have a slightly higher gluten content (~12-13%) than Blu (blue) (~10-12%) and higher stability. But mostly the blue one is just more of a niche product meeting the highest standards for traditional Neapolitan pizza.
Here are spec sheets directly from their web site:
Extracted from their page:
"for the demanding technical pizzaioli", "recognized by the leading Neapolitan pizza certification associations", "ideal for classic Neapolitan Pizza in wood fired, gas or electric ovens", "produces a very soft and flavorful crust with optimal hydration", "high-quality protein and gluten result in a consistent long-rise dough.", "milled specifically for use at temperatures above 700°F", "Growth: 1’50”-2’00”; Stability: 8’-10’; …"
Extracted from the page:
"higher protein and gluten content and water absorption is ideal for long-rise doughs", "obtains soft texture", "ideal for pasta, pastry, specialty breads and pizza", "Growth: 2’00”-3’00”; Stability: 12’-14’; …"
And since they both say ideal for pizza - nothing can go wrong ;-)
And if you don't know what the differences in stability times mean ...
I find this page quite informative:
Flour science is almost like airports ... with all the arrival and departure times =D
Thanks. So since I think mine is red, I should probably let the dough rest a bit longer. I can do that! Jan 31, 2014 at 1:12
If I remember correctly from that flyer I had ... it said that the red one - being more stable - can withstand longer rising times where the blue one can be used with shorter rising times (30-90 mins) ... but they don't say anything about that on the Caputo web page, so I just removed it from the answer. And I extracted some buzzwords from the page, in case the links go dead at some point =) Anyways, they both seem to be good for long-rise dough =) Feb 1, 2014 at 12:16
There is so much confusion when people don't call the Caputo flours by their real names. There is no such things called Caputo "Rosso" or "Blue". This is what everybody wants to call them, and it leads to confusion.
Caputo has a flour called Pizzeria that comes in 55 lb (25 kilo) bags which happen to be Blue. They also have a small blue bag that is 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) packaged for store shelf retail that is called Confezione.
Then they have a flour called Rinforzato which comes in 55 lb bags, and another called Chef's, which comes in 2.2 lb bags packaged for retail. Both of these come in Red (Rosso) bags.
So when you are talking about Red vs Blue, It's hard to tell what you're talking about.
I'm not sure if the Confezione is still available in the US, but it used to be, and may still be.
As far as speculation about whether or not the Chef's is really just a smaller bag of the Pizzeria or the Rinforzato or something different than either is largely speculation.
All of the above flours are 00 flours. That means that it's ground extra fine (as most of you probably already know, but just in case there are some people new to it)
There is a new type of Caputo Flour that has been out for a shorter while. It's called Pizza a Metro. It comes in 55 lb bags. The touted benefits of this flour is that it's milled/blended for a specific type of pizza called Pizza a Metro (Pizza by the Meter), which is popular in Rome and Sorrento, and works well for temperatures around 700°F.
Wood fired pizza is usually cooked in an oven around 900°F.
I've got some information on this at http://brickovenbaker.com/caputoinfo, and there should be some links in that content to some other discussions about the differences in the flours. In one of the blog posts, a food scientist named Joe goes into differences at a technical level in the comments section, and claims that each of the flours are distinct flours, and that the smaller versions for packed in 1 kilo bags for retail are not the same as the restaurant sized bags, even though people have been claiming that the Chef's is the same as the Pizzeria, and others claiming that it's the same as the Rinforzato. What makes it even more amusing is that two people got different answers directly from Caputo in Italy when asking them if there was a relationship between the Chef's and the other flours, and food scientist Joe said they are both wrong.
Full Disclosure: The link above goes to my blog and I happen to sell Caputo flour on my site. I'm not the best resource for all of the technical details, I don't speak much Italian, and I just want people to call the stuff by their real names because the colors used on the bags does not relate to what's in the bag as far as I know.
1You noted - As far as speculation about whether or not the Chef's is really just a smaller bag of the Pizzeria or the Rinforzato or something different than either is largely speculation.. One can simply lookup the spec sheet on the Caputo website and discover that they are in fact different products. I.e. Chef's Flour Stability is 10-14, Elasticity is 13-15 and Rinforzata Stability is 12-14, Elasticity is 16-18.– dpollittSep 14, 2015 at 3:23
1I don't recall seeing a Chef's spec sheet when I originally posted it, but maybe I missed it or it was recently added. Thanks for pointing it out either way.– Monkey47Sep 20, 2015 at 22:52
For now, you'll be ok with either. And unless you noticed a price bump, you have the Red (the STG certified Blue are at a slight premium).
In simple terms, the Red is more for making quick thin crust pizza (romano style) run at 720°F whereas the blue is better for thicker rimmed (Neapolitan style) run at 900°F. That's why they both claim 'good for pizza'.
The Red you can do what you like with and even roll with rolling pin and no eyebrows are raise.
The Blue on the other hand is typically kneaded quite well and let rest in various (trade secret) positions for about 3 days (yes, days). It is then 'opened' by hand in a particular way and cooked to show leoparding blisters and all in a fierce oven.
You can still make Romano style with the Blue, but if you did everything right for Neapolitan style and used the Red type you'd get a harder rim. To some people, that's like serving them a well done steak.
This came up in chat, it irks me that I can't get my oven hotter than 500F. I know it can get hotter because it has a clean cycle! <insert evil grin here> Someday I might see if I can outsmart the safety features on a decrepit older oven, but in the meantime, very informative answer. Thank you. Jan 31, 2014 at 21:37
1tell me about it. Clean cycle locks the door, and if the oven didn't self destruct, i'd have hacked it to go higher. just not enough insulation to protect everything else. In the mean time, if you have access to any 1/4" steel plate or this one it'll get you part of the way there. Jan 31, 2014 at 21:46
Oooh, that's purty. I don't have $100 burning a hole in my pocket right now, but maybe someday. In the meantime, my big old (belonged to my grandmother) cast-iron skillet works pretty well as a pizza stone, up-side down. Jan 31, 2014 at 21:59
According to this Serious Eats article, there are few differences between the flours, especially with regard to protein content:
This is the gold standard of pizza flours by which most others are judged, but there's quite a bit of confusion as to exactly what it is. You'll read in countless sources that Italian Tipo "00" flour, like the Caputo, is a "soft wheat flour," with a low protein content. This is absolutely untrue and anybody who continues to spread this rumor should be immediately chastised with great prejudice.
The fact is, the label Tipo "00" has nothing to do with protein content. Rather, it refers to the fineness of the milling. Tipo "00" is the finest grade of flour milled in Italy, and it has a consistency similar to baby powder. It's available with several different levels of protein intended for different baking projects, just like American flours (which we'll get to in a moment). The ones you'll most commonly see in pizzerias are the red Rinforzato bag, which features pictures of pizzas and bread, the blue Pizzeria bag, which pictures a single pizza, and — the most common in the U.S. — the red The Chef's Flour bags, which, in fact, contain the exact same flour as the Rinforzato. All three bags of flour have the exact same protein content: 12.5%.
The chief difference between the Capitol Pizzeria (blue) and the Chef's (the same as the rinforzato, both red) is their "W" number, which many Americans mis-translate as strength, thereby confusing it with protein content. In America, strong flours have higher protein. In Italy, the W stands for the English word "Work," which refers to the flour's ability to absorb water (its hydration potential). In other words, the higher the W number, the more water the flour can absorb.
The blue pizzeria flour has a much lower W value (180 -250), and the rinforzato or Chef's (red) has a value of 250-300, which means the red is more suited to bread and pastry, whereas the blue is more suited to pizza and most tender northern Italian pastas.
An important point left out of this discussion is the Caputo blue is intended for hot pizzeria ovens (>700°F), and does not work as well in American home ovens (<550°F). For that reason, Caputo also sells a blue bag called "Americano," which is much more suited to American home ovens.
If you can source & store them, and use them in a reasonable time period (6-9 months, if stored correctly), I recommend that you keep both the Americano and the Chef's on hand. The Americano for pizza, and the Chef's for bread and pastry (including pasta). If not, my preference is for the Chef's (red), but if using it for pizza, I would recommend mixing it with American (King Arthur) all purpose flour, in a ratio of 2:1, i.e. 67% Caputo red, and 33% King Arthur A/P.
All Caputo flours are readily available online at a cost lower than at specialty stores. I usually obtain mine from Brick Oven Bakers, but always check Amazon, etc. for occasional good deals.
I have used both and I find the red creates a better crust, in my own opinion and my friends'. The red creates crispier crust while the blue softer chewier so it's your preference. My pizza dough rises in the frig for 2-3 days. I use 550 oven and pizza iron to bake for 6 min. I typically heat up the oven for an additional 15-20 min after it reaches the desired 550. I think it allows the oven to have a more stable temperature. The pizza iron definitely is superior than the pizza stone.
Turn your broiler on in addition to that 550 preheat and you should be able to get down to the 2min bake range. Much better results that way.– dpollittNov 1, 2015 at 13:13