wheat flour farina recipes italian

How Italians choose flour

What do you know about flour? is ancient like Food culture.

Can you imagine Italy without pasta or pizza? Flour is absolutely necessary likewise quality.

Flour (“farina” in italian)is a food product from the milling of the cereals. Usually wheat or corn but also barley, spelled, rice, oats, rye, kamut and many others.

When following a recipe, we read the word “flour” don’t take the first one. Firstly let’s wonder which kind of flour the recipe is talking about.

Usually, when no type is specified, it is supposed wheat flour type “00”. In other words what we generally name” for all purposes”.

However, pay attention when buying flour according to purpose, recipes and quality.  Your dish will benefit a lot from your choices.


Main property of wheat flour is the presence of two proteins, gliadin and glutein. Those ones, when mixed with water, form gluten.

Gluten is a complex protein able to make the mass of flour and water compact. Moreover elastic and capable of retaining gases that develop inside, creating bubbles.

Therefore gluten is the proteine able to give the characteristic spongy texture to bread and other leavened foods.

Depending on gluten quantity, the flour will be classified by strenght.

Strenght of flour

The mixture could be more or less elastic and resistant and will react in a different manner with the yeast.

You can find strenght indication right on the label packaging with the letter “W”. Greater will be the content of W, higher will be the amount of gluten. Therefore stronger will be the flour.

Weak flours are mainly used to bake biscuits and little pastry. However medium strenght flours usually used  for French bread or pizza. Strong flour for cakes souffle, focaccia or bread.

Special flours, such as American or Canadian are generally used in combination with other weaker flours. To explain, pourpose is to give strength to the dough.

In order to discover the factor W even when it is not indicated in the box you can refer to the nutritional table. Indeed, high protein percentage usually means higher strength of the flour.

Flour in Italy.

Italy produces a number of different flour varieties.

Pasta production, is, indeed, a leading sector for the economy. Both for inbound and outbound commerce.  With a mediterranean style diet, rich in carbs, Italy imports large quantities as well. However, during the last years, consumers focused more and more on quality. Since in Italy food regulations as well as  consumers associations, discourages OGM products, Italian flours are really preferred.

Ancient varieties, such as Senatore Cappelli, Tumminia, Verna, Gentil Rosso, just to name someone, are leading the market. Those varieties are ore tasty, not OGM, and less productive then others, but more expensive. Anyway, when you taste food prepared with quality flour, the difference is evident.

Quality bakeries and Pizza restaurants, likewise common people at home, are obsessed! More and more looking for those unique varieties, commonly named as “grani antichi“.

Moreover, taste of recipes gains from those flours.

Is assumed: nowadays if you’d like to boast you are baking “d’autore”, you’d need to firstly select your flour.

Would you like to taste or learn how to make a Pizza or pasta d’autore?

When in Rome just book a  pizza class with us!