WHAT IS IT?
Semolina flour is made by coarsely grinding the endosperm from durum wheat. It isn’t technically a flour. It is made from “middlings” which means that they leave more of the bran and other nutrients in it. Durum semolina should be a golden color. How golden depends upon how true to a middling it gets. The more durum flour left, the paler it will be.
WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
- Some pie crusts
- Some almond desserts
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Semolina has higher fiber and gluten content. That gives it a strong, somewhat stiff feel, which is why it is ideal for making pasta. Run it through a pasta machine, and you see how much cleaner and stronger it is. Semolina pastas have a much richer, more nutty taste and great mouth feel.
Making couscous is on my to-do list, and their semolina is also ideal for that as well.
It’s a good flour to riff with, as well. I’ve added it to pie crusts when I do a torte with a crust in a springform pan to give the crust some extra durability and a bit more crunch. You can get a dough with semolina woven into it a bit thinner than a soft all-purpose dough.
It’s even handy when making Asian dumplings. Added semolina flour gives the dough for potstickers, shui mai and other types of steamed doughs a little less mushy mouth feel.
WHY THIS BRAND?
I have two go-to brands for semolina, depending upon availability. Not all semolina is uniformly the same. Some brands do better, and the flours of Antimo Caputo‘s mills are by far and away the best. It’s one of the few legit Italian flour mills whose product finds its way to the United States. Their grind produces a semolina that is really ideally suited for pasta.
Caputo is the best by far as a flour mill, and, while there are good competing brands in Italy that I’m sure our Italian readers will share with us, I’ve made nothing but wonderful pastas, breads and pastries with Caputo flours. I like being able to swear by them, not swear at them. Caputo’s Semola di Grano Duro gets my Four Diamond Choicestuff™ award for being the best of a very crowded field.