Caputo, Caputo, Caputo... I've read a LOT about Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour around here over the last months, both positive, negative and ambivalent. So, when I finally felt I had the experience (and heat) to work with this often prized flour, and my Caputo arrived here, it was exciting, and a little scary...
I made my first batch of pizza dough with Caputo last night, and I gotta say that just by mixer performance alone, I can tell this is a very different product from any American flour I have used so far to make pizza doughs or breads. A couple months ago I upgraded my mixer to a KitchenAid 600 6 quart with the spiral dough hook. The spiral dough hook has been a big improvement over the old C dough hook, most notably on larger batches of dough, 4-5 cups of flour and up. For my more frequently made, smaller, batches of pizza dough (for myself and the dog), around 2 cups of flour, the spiral dough hook has been less effective. I chalked it up to the smaller size of the dough mass in the large 6 quart bowl. I found myself, with these smaller batches of pizza dough, as with the former C hook, having to stop the mixer, scrap the dough ball down off of the spiral hook, and re-start to get the dough in active kneading again. It would often form a ball around the hook, not kneading the dough to its full potential--better than the C hook, yes, but not as effective as I had seen it perform with larger masses of dough where it would slice and fold the dough much like hand kneading. This happened with pizza dough formulations from KAAP, KABF as well as KASL, in hydrations ranging from 58%-75%.
But the Caputo in the same smaller formulation (10 oz flour) acted MUCH different. I could see the Caputo being a little fussier about hydrating, but I was expecting that. But after a 20 minute autolyse, and adding the last 20% of the flour, I was amazed and thrilled to see the Caputo dough acting textbook perfect in the mixer with the spiral hook. It slowly formed a nice solid dough mass, not too sitcky or wet, yet picking up almost every last trace of mixer bowl residue, and then proceeded to knead about as perfect as a dough can be kneaded by the KA spiral dough hook--being folded over and over, the hook gently slicing through the dough mass, while incorporating a little air into the mix. And it did this for almost a solid 8 minutes, never balling up around the hook and subsequently causing a much less effective knead like the American flours have so far in these smaller batches.
The finished dough was beautiful--very soft and pliant, and just very slightly sticky.
I made a video of the last minute of mixing, and posted it on YouTube. It is of the last minute of the 8 minute kneading cycle, and it's only toward the very end of the kneading (as you can hear the kitchen timer in the background signaling the end of the 8 minute kneading) that the Caputo dough starts to form a ball around the hook and not knead perfectly in the mixer--and it's still not as severe as the American flours have reacted in the same small formulations. Really blew me out of the water.
Here is the video:
The dough is 64% hydration, composed of 10 ounces flour, and 6.4 ounces of water--enough for two 8.25 oz dough balls for 12"
The dough is now in the fridge for two days, and will be baked this weekend at around 850F/stone... Can't wait...!