Semolina flour is a type of flour, obviously enough. Like regular flour, it’s also made from wheat. However, it’s made from a kind of wheat called durum wheat, and is coarser and rougher than regular flour.
Below, we’ll go over the details of this great flour to give you some idea of its nutritional benefits and how to incorporate it into your own diet and cooking habits.
What is Semolina Made Of?
Semolina is a higher-than-average gluten flour made from durum wheat. Durum wheat is among the hardest of wheats – making it one the coarsest flours available if processed minimally.
Semolina is processed a bit differently than regular wheat flour. White flour uses stone or steel wheels while semolina uses metal rollers. The secret is in the type of wheat. Most kinds of wheat are processed in similar manners with the starch parts cracked off and separated from the bran. The only difference? Semolina uses the less common durum wheat.
With more protein than the average flour used for pasta, baking, and some desserts, semolina has a nutty, somewhat sweet taste compared to other flours. Semolina that has not been cut more than once also has a coarser flavor in the mouth.
What’s the Difference Between Semolina and Corn Flour?
Corn flour and semolina are quite different. As you might suspect based just on the name, corn flour comes directly from corn and not wheat. Corn flour is more commonly used as a thickener for pudding as well as for making the breading in some dishes that have breaded wheat.
What’s the Difference Between Semolina and Almond Flour?
Almond flour is made from the milling of almonds. Almond flour is even more nutritious than semolina and offers a good balancer for people with blood sugar issues. Almond flour also contains less to no carbs and gluten and is far friendlier for a keto diet.
Almond flour is also likely more expensive per bag because it uses milled nuts – which are usually more expensive than basic grains.
Nutritional Facts About Semolina
First, let’s go over a bit of nutritional information.
Calories/Carbs/Protein Per Cup
In one cup of semolina, you can expect to find around 600 calories. You’ll also get around 40 grams of carbs, in addition to 7 grams of protein.
Is Semolina Flour Gluten Free?
The short answer to this question is no. Gluten is a kind of protein, and 80% of the protein in wheat is in the form of gluten. Semolina, as we said above, is made of durum wheat, so, unfortunately, if you want a gluten-free form of flour, semolina isn’t what you’re looking for.
Gluten-Free Substitute For Semolina Flour
A better shot would be to look at flours made from things other than wheat, like buckwheat (which is not a kind of wheat, despite the name), arrowroot, corn etc. That said, it does depend on what you’re making and on what role the semolina is supposed to be playing in the dish.
Buckwheat flour is probably the best substitute for general purposes, while rice flour is good for adding lightness to a dish.
Is Semolina Flour Easy To Digest?
This flour is quite high in both fiber and protein. These two things actually slow down digestion and increase that feeling of fullness that you get after you’ve finished eating. That said, the fiber is good for your digestion overall.
It promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and also eases constipation by helping you to keep regular bowel movements.
Of course, none of this applies if you’re in any way intolerant to gluten, in which case semolina will do you no good at all. Use a different kind of flour if this applies to you.
Is It Healthier than Regular Flour?
Flour made from semolina is indeed considered to be healthier than regular flour for a few reasons. First, the process to make semolina includes the healthiest part of the wheat plant while the flour that goes into white bread often removes the same part.
Why is semolina healthier overall? It has more protein, minerals, and B vitamins. White flour isn’t too terrible though as you’ll get daily doses of zinc, copper, phosphorus and iron. If you need those minerals, white flour might be better suited for your diet.
Best Uses For Semolina Flour
This versatile flour can be used for all kinds of different things, and we’ll go over a few straightforward examples here.
Semolina is a staple of pasta, though the flour is also used in breads and baked goods. The unique property that makes semolina the best for pasta is its durability and stretchability. Pasta makers can count on semolina to retain its shape no matter what kind of pasta they want to make. Other types of flour have a higher chance of falling apart or not retaining shape.
Pizza crust also often uses semolina. Semolina has a different flavor from typical white flour that is commonly used to make bread in the United States. The coarse stretchiness of the dough gives pizza a unique taste with an extra crunch – and pizza crust shouldn’t be too smooth!
You’ll also find semolina in couscous (which is round balls of semolina) and often sauce.
Making Fresh Pasta With Semolina Flour
Gluten is the substance that gives shape and structure to things like pasta and bread. Luckily for us, semolina is packed with gluten, so using it to make fresh pasta is easy. All you’ll need are the flour itself, eggs, and some salt.
The procedure is essentially identical to the process you’d use to make pasta with regular flour. You might find that it tastes slightly different, though, and lots of people prefer this slightly more rustic flavor.
Semolina Flour Lasagna Noodles
Lasagna noodles are just another type of pasta, so it’s perfectly possible to use semolina flour to make it. In fact, a lot of lasagna noodle recipes you’ll find online involve a mixture of semolina, often with all-purpose flour.
Like with other kinds of pasta, using semolina can give a bit more of a rustic flavor to your lasagne noodles, which can be a great way to liven them up.
Homemade Ravioli With Semolina Flour
Again, ravioli is a kind of pasta and so is easy to make with semolina. On the other hand, it’s often not recommended that you do so. This is because the rougher semolina has more of a taste to it than the lighter, softer 00 flour.
This can take away focus from the filling of ravioli, which is generally the most important part. That said, if you want to experiment, then by all means try it out. You can also use a mixture of 00 flour (or whichever other kind you want to try) with semolina to balance things a bit more.
Making Pizza Dough With Semolina Flour
Semolina flour is an ideal ingredient to use if you’re making pizza dough. Its roughness makes the dough a bit chewier, and also gives it a little more flavor. You’ll usually add semolina to another kind of flavor rather than using it by itself if you want to use it to make pizza dough.
Can You Make Bread with It?
You certainly can. The two biggest improvements you’ll see using semolina is a more natural, sweet taste (compared to sugary white bread), a bit of a golden color while baking, more chewiness – and the best part to many – a crunchier exterior.
As you can see, there are all kinds of uses for semolina. Not only is it good for your digestion, but it is versatile enough to be used to make various kinds of pasta as well as pizza dough.
It’s also very simple to get started with, and even a novice can get good results with it if they take care to follow instructions.