I make many types of pizza... Chicago deep dish, New York style, Neapolitan thin crust, traditional square Grandma's pizza and more. I will change up the flour I'm using depending on what type of crust I want to achieve. For most, I use a combination of all-purpose and bread flour in a ratio of about 1:3. But when I want a crispy, thin crust pizza--like we had throughout Italy--I use 100% Italian style "Tipo 00" flour. Tipo simply means "type". (Click the photo at right to see it on Amazon).
An ideal Italian pizza is thinner in the middle, with a rim that puffs up to afford a crust that gives a second experience to eating pizza. It's like having pizza with the toppings along with an airy, bubble filled bread around the edges. Both should be foldable, but the bottom of the crust should make a drum sound when flicked with your forefinger. Many Italians actually fold a 12" pizza in half, and then again into quarters to eat like a panino.
Flour designated as "00" is ideal for pizza for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's very finely ground--almost like talcum powder. I can feel the grit of bread flour in between my fingers but "00" feels silky smooth. It also has a lower protein, and thus lower gluten content than other flours. There are even finer flours milled--"000" and "0000"--but these tend to be lower in gluten and thus are used more for cakes and pastry. But "00" flour has enough gluten support air bubbles in the dough, but not too much, which makes pizza dough much easier to handle. The rule is, the lower the protein, the lower the gluten, which means a dough that is much less elastic.
For instance, at the other end of the spectrum, if you tried to make a pizza dough using 100% whole wheat flour, you would have a difficult time keeping your dough stretched out flat. The higher gluten makes it so elastic it would keep shrinking back smaller. (The reason why wheat pizzas are usually a mix of wheat and bread or all-purpose flours.) Using "00" flour is a dream when making pizza dough... the stuff is so supple and smooth and easy to handle.
Take the pizza pictured above... I was able to make the center of the round paper thin while the crust was nice and thick. After baking, the center was stiff enough to hold out straight when held New York style--folded at the crust. But the perimeter crust was puffy and full of air, like a light focaccia.
As for the pizza itself in this case... It was delicious. I made sure to keep the dough on the sticky side which adds to its tenderness. When shaping the pizza round on the board I simply dust the dough (and my hands) with only enough flour so I could handle it without sticking to my hands. I patted the middle very thin and used the heel of my palms to form a thick crust at the edges.
The sauce was simple: crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, EVO and a tablespoon or so of sugar. The toppings were thin sliced provolone cheese, and thin-sliced Speck, a type of smoked prosciutto.
The next time you're thinking of making pizza at home, get a bag of "00" flour and give it a try. Handling such a soft, supple sough is almost an erotic experience. (I said "almost".)