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Best flour for pizza dough 2023: Bake the stretchiest, puffiest homemade pizzas around

From authentic Neapolitan-style bases to trendy deep dish, these pizza flours can do it all

Making your own pizza dough can save money, is often healthier and is altogether more satisfying than picking up a premade base or supermarket pizza: here are the best flours for the job.

The best pizza dough flour should be easy enough to handle for amateur pizzaiolos, but still give authentic and tasty results. Whether you’re after a Neapolitan-style base or prefer a sharing style Detroit pizza, you will need the right flour for your homemade dough. In this article, we run through the differences and the pros and cons of the best flour for making your desired pizza – whatever equipment you have.

Best flour for pizza dough: At a glance

How to choose the best flour for pizza dough

Homemade pizza dough requires just four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and olive oil. So it pays to ensure those ingredients are the best you can lay your hands on, in order to produce the most delicious pizza possible. There’s a lot of debate about what type of flour is the best for making pizza dough, and ultimately it depends on what equipment you have, how much time you’re willing to spend, and what style of pizza you would like to make. 

Whether you have a pizza stone, a wood-fired oven, a dedicated pizza oven, or just a standard kitchen cooker, it will all affect the outcome of your pizza, and getting the right flour is a big step in the right direction. Read on for our tips.

What equipment do you have?

The best pizza is produced by cooking on a ceramic stone at an extremely high temperature. Domestic ovens generally won’t get above 220℃. In contrast, outdoor pizza equipment and specially built wood-fired ovens can achieve temperatures double this, leading to that telltale leopard-spotted charring and wonderfully bubbled crust. To achieve this pizza, you will be best off with a dedicated “00 flour” (check it’s for pizza, not pasta), which is the finest milled flour and produces a light, delicate dough that will puff up in high temperatures.

If you’re working with a standard oven, experimenting with different brands of strong white bread flour is likely to produce the best outcomes. Recipes do exist using wholemeal flour, and while it is marginally healthier, we cannot recommend wholemeal flour for pizza making. Add a proportion to your white flour if you must (the nuttiness and golden crust are quite nice), but any 100% wholemeal recipe leads to a dense, heavy pizza that takes away all of the pleasure of the dish.

Can I use any old flour?

Plain flour will do a perfectly good job of making a quick pizza dough, so if that’s what you have in the cupboard, go ahead. You can also make pizza using self-raising flour – and this is a great speedy cheat. However, the finished dough is more flatbread than a real pizza. You may also have seen recipes calling for semolina flour; it makes for great pizza that’s easy to manoeuvre on and off the pizza peel. However, semolina flour is best blended with another flour – so we’ve discounted it in this list. If you’re setting out to make pizza, then nipping out for a variety of strong bread flour is what we would recommend. The higher gluten level means you will achieve a stretchier, lighter result closer to authentic Italian or American pizza.

READ NEXT: Best pizza stone

How we test flour for pizza dough

We experimented with the different types of flour to see what kind of dough they produced once proved. We used a simple recipe: 300g flour plus 1 tsp yeast and 1 tsp salt, then adding around 200ml warm water and 1 tbsp olive oil depending on how sticky the dough felt. We kneaded the dough until it was springy and smooth then left to prove in a warm place for around an hour. In some instances, we then gave the dough a longer ferment in the fridge overnight, which is best for Neapolitan style pizzas if you have the time. All pizzas were cooked in a hot oven (240C) using a preheated ceramic pizza stone for around six to eight minutes, though of course, thinner bases cooked faster than the deep dish style. We took care not to overload the pizzas – oozing toppings do not mix well with pizza stones – and used a pre-bought passata topping plus a scattering of mozzarella for ease.

The best flour for pizza dough you can buy in 2023

1. Caputo Pizzeria Flour: Best flour for pizza ovens

Price: £5.99 for 1kg | Buy now from Amazon

Since 1924, the finest wheat from Umbria and Marche has been lovingly ground at the Caputo Mill, Naples, to preserve starch and protein. This 00 flour is the finest milled flour available. It is high in gluten but has a lower protein percentage than their 00 pasta flour. Fine milling also means this flour produces a delicate pizza dough that is very soft and sticky to work with.

This dough is best left to ferment in the fridge for around three days to make the most of its ability to produce large, fine bubbles and a super light crust when baked on a ceramic stone at extremely high temperatures. The flavour is fantastic, and this is what you really need for proper Neapolitan-style pizza. Still, unless you’re used to knocking up cold fermented pizza dough, we would suggest starting with something easier to handle, like one of the bread flours.

Key details – Protein: 12.5%

2. Waitrose Pizza Mix with Semolina: Best pre-mixed cheat

Price: £3.20 for 1kg | Buy now from Waitrose & Partners

Ok, so this isn’t strictly just a flour – it’s a handy mix of flour, semolina flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, so all the hard work is taken out of making the dough. All you need to do is mix it with olive oil and warm water to activate the yeast, and then leave it to ferment in a warm place. We used this in a hot, domestic oven and on a pre-heated ceramic pizza stone and are pleased to report it made two light, tasty pizzas that were easy to handle, thanks to the semolina, with soft, flexible crusts. It comes in a handy box that you can keep in the cupboard for when the urge for freshly made pizza strikes on a weeknight.

Key details – Protein: n/a

Buy now from Waitrose & Partners

3. Marriage’s Organic Strong White Bread Flour: Best flour for thin and crispy pizzas

Price: £1.85 for 1kg | Buy now from Ocado

This family-run miller has been producing flour in Essex for 200 years. Today, they use the same traditional techniques to mill carefully sourced organic wheat with the benefit of modern technologies. This flour is best suited to pizza dough as it has a high protein content (13.4%), which gives a well-risen lightness while maintaining that desirable, thin crust. We found that this flour produced stretchy, easy-to-handle dough best suited to New York-style pizzas and resulted in a chewy, crisp base that was delicious with American cheese, tomato, and pepperoni. Steer clear of those too ‘wet’ cheeses, such as very milky mozzarella, as this can detract from the crispness – and no one wants a soggy bottom.

Key details – Protein: 13.4%

Buy now from Ocado

4. Allinson’s Very Strong White Bread Flour: Best flour for deep dish pizza

Price: £1.60 for 1kg | Buy now from Tesco

Detroit-style pizza had a moment a few years ago, and we were pleased to see it; not everyone is looking for a thin and flexible crust, you know. Detroit pizza is usually baked in a tin and boasts a deep-dish, airy, chewy crust that can stand up to fully-loaded toppings. This flour from Allison Bakers is a good option. It has a 14% protein content that will give that airy, loose texture and a crisp base in the tin. We gave this a quick ferment and still ended up with a springy dough that puffed up nicely, but a longer ferment would likely benefit it further. The thicker base makes this pizza great for slicing and ideal for pizza parties – just remember to pile on those toppings to make things interesting.

Key details – Protein: 14%

Buy now from Tesco

5. Doves Farm Organic Strong White Bread Flour: Best overall flour

Price: £1.90 for 1kg | Buy now from Sainsbury’s

This flour is from the UK’s number one organic flour brand, Doves Farm, which grows and mills a variety of Soil Association-certified grains, with a strong emphasis on sustainable practices. It’s 13% protein, making for a light, soft dough that works with many pizza styles. For everyday pizza-making, this flour is probably your best bet; it performs well after a quick, hour-long ferment, and it was easy to stretch into 12” bases. We found this worked beautifully with a pizza stone for a faster bake and a more authentic Italian-style flavour and texture. However, Doves Farm also recommends using a preheated tray if you do not have a stone. Delicious as a classic Margherita.

Key details – Protein: 13%

Buy now from Sainsbury’s

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