Pasta Flour 101

Jump onto Google to learn about the different types of pasta flour and you might soon get confused. I was at first…

However, having learned more, made various fresh pasta doughs (both with and without egg), and having cooked with different types of flour – I now feel I can clearly explain what’s what.

Here I’ll cover:

• What type of flour is good for making fresh egg pasta

• Which pasta flour is best for egg-free vegan-friendly pasta

• What the heck ‘type 00’ (AKA ‘doppio zero’) means, and more…

I’ll even help you buy pasta flour.

So let’s get learning… Q&A-style.;

Q: What type of flour should I use to make standard egg pasta?

If making Italian fresh pasta with egg (as explained here), you can use general-purpose or ‘plain’ flour. This general flour is good for all sorts of cooking, and is usually made by ‘milling’ (grinding if you like), various types of hard and soft wheat.

Flour Lesson 1: bleach
All-purpose or plain flour comes in both bleached and unbleached versions. The difference – obviously – is the color, in that the bleached flour is a brighter white.

Q: What type of flour should I use to make egg-free pasta?

This vegan-friendly fresh pasta doesn’t use the same general-purpose or plain flour. Instead it uses ’durum wheat semolina’ flour. You may see this in the shop with its Italian name: ‘’semola di grano duro’.

This flour is very coarse, which of course it needs to be if you’re just mixing it with water rather than egg to make your pasta (egg produces a thicker binding mixture than water alone).

Q: What type of flour is double zero / type 00 / ’doppio zero’?

In Italy, flour is either type 1, 0, or 00. However this doesn’t refer to its ingredients, instead it refers to how finely the flour has been ground down.

Type 1 is therefore pretty course, and ‘doppia zero’ (00) is super-fine, like talcum-powder.

If you can find it in the store, type 00 is great for making fresh egg pasta with (instead of the normal, general-purpose stuff mentioned above). Because it is so fine, the whole mixing/folding/rolling process is much easier – your dough will be more supple, malleable, and generally nice to create with. (Doppia zero flour is also often used for making pizza.)

Flour Lesson 2: hard or soft?
The harder the wheat that flour is made from, the more protein and gluten it contains. Flour made from hard wheat is good for breads, while softer wheat flour is better for the delicate stuff; cakes, biscuits and so on.

Q: And for making gnocchi? What type of flour do I use for that?

As anyone who’s read my gnocchi recipe page knows, gnocchi isn’t actually pasta, as it’s made solely from flour and potato. However it’s often grouped with pasta – and because it’s so delicious that was all the excuse I needed to include it on this site!

My mamma-in-law Marisa uses general purpose/plain flour for gnocchi. I therefore use this at home when I make gnocchi too, and it works fine.

Q: How much flour is in a standard pack?

If we’re talking the small rectangular type of bag/pack, which for me is the standard (at least in Europe), these generally weigh around 900g (grams), or 2lbs (pounds).

However the sizes of bag/pack vary a huge amount in the US, where they vary from a pound or two right up to a whopping 50! That right there is a lot of flour.

Where to buy pasta flour

You can find all kinds of flour sold on Amazon (US and UK sites). Try these 3 links for starters:

Type 00 pasta flour

Durum wheat ‘semolina’ flour for egg-free pasta

General purpose/plain flour