You are correct about the 00 flour. It is milled differently than our domestic flours and can have widely varying protein content from brand to brand. Because until fairly recently 00 flours were hard to come by in the U.S., many cookbook authors would recommend using a combination of all-purpose flour or bread flour and either cake flour or pastry flour. Before I found good sources of 00 flour, I played around with these combinations quite a bit. One well known cookbook author, Pamela Sheldon Johns, who has a home in Italy, wrote a pizza cookbook, Pizza Napoletana!
, in which she included a recipe using a combination of flours for emulating 00 flour. It uses a combination of all-purpose flour and pastry flour. Subsequently, I found another recipe attributable to her in which she used a combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour. I saved the recipe and have set it forth below, along with my personal notes after having tried out the recipe. My favorite combination of flours is using bread flour and pastry flour. That recipe, along with the Johns recipe from her book, are set forth on another thread on this forum (see Reply #1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1104.msg9835.html#msg9835
Here's the Johns recipe using the all-purpose flour and cake flour:All-Purpose Flour/Cake Flour Version of Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe (from Cuisineathome/Pamela Sheldon Johns)
1 1/2 c. warm water (around 105-115 degrees F)
1 t. active dry yeast (about half of a 1/4-oz. packet)
3 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 c. cake flour
1 T. sea salt
Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl and proof until foamy, around 5-8 minutes. Put the yeast mixture in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine the flour and salt and add gradually to the yeast mixture in the mixer bowl. The dough ingredients should be kneaded at low speed until no longer sticky, for about 10 minutes, to prevent any overheating of the dough. Continue to knead for another 20 minutes. Shape the dough into a round, place in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 4 hours in a warm place. Punch the dough down; divide into 4 pieces, and shape into balls. Brush the dough balls lightly with oil, cover completely with plastic wrap, and let rise another 2-4 hours. Shape the dough balls into pizza rounds by pressing your fingertips into the dough, leaving the edges puffy to create a rim (cornicione
). Grasp the rim with your hands, working your way around the circle. As the dough dangles, it stretches by the force of gravity while the edge stays plump. Finish by topping with pizza ingredients of the highest quality and baking on a pizza stone that has been preheated for 1 hour at the highest oven temperature possible (usually 500-550 degrees F for a home oven).
(Peter's Note: This is a good example of a recipe that uses a combination of flours to simulate 00 flour. Because this recipe does not include any sugar or olive oil (other than for oiling the bowl), both of which normally contribute to the golden brown color of pizza crusts, the color of the pizza crusts made with this recipe will be lighter—almost white or a light tan color. Consequently, you will have to look for the melting or browning of the cheeses used, or check the bottom of the crust for light browning, to know that the pizza is done. Note also that this recipe calls for knead and rise times similar to those used for making the classic Neapolitan pizza dough using 00 flour. Since the all-purpose flour needs less kneading because of its relatively high protein and gluten content, and a fair amount of yeast is used, I question why the long knead and rising times are required. It will further be noted that this recipe does not call for any refrigeration. If a period of refrigeration is to be used for any reason, then it might be desirable to use slightly cooler water instead of warm water, to slow down fermentation—by slowing down the yeast—so that the natural sugars in the flour are not prematurely exhausted. This is not as great a problem as using a flour like the 00 flour, because there is still a lot of all-purpose flour used in the dough, even though slightly diluted by the use of the cake flour.)