The Fresh Loaf

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semolina/durum?

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spsq's picture
spsq

semolina/durum?

Quick question - have read about these in a few bread books, but am still confused.

 What are the differences among these 3 flours: durum, duram atta, and semolina?  Which one is whole grain?  Plus, I understand one (or all?) is high in protien, but not in gluten.  How does this work?  I thought gluten was a protien.

 Thanks!  I sure enjoy lurking here - you are all so inspiring!

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

I must confess that I've never heard of durum atta.

Durum is a species of wheat.  All the generally available wheats that we use are from either the same species or a group of very closely related species of wheat (I have seen claims for both).  Durum is a separate species (Triticum durum) that has different characteristics.  One is its yellow color, which is from having more beta carotene.  The berries are harder than even hard "red" wheats.  Durum is more closely related to ancestral wheats like einkorn, so it is sometimes referred to as more "primitive".

When you see durum in a recipe or formula, that generally means durum flour, sometimes also called patent durum flour.  It is a fine grind like what you'd expect in a normal white flour.  Semolina is made from the same durum berry, but it is a coarser grind.  It will feel like fine sand between your fingers. 

Yes, gluten is a protein, but it is not the only protein.  So what durum has is a high percentage of other proteins.  (hamburger is high in protein, but low in gluten, if that helps illustrate).<br>I've seen a variety of different assessments of what the composition of durum wheat actually is, with some (generally the bakers) saying that it is somewhat gluten-poor and others saying it is gluten-rich.  Durum is nice in bread--it makes the crust chewy and the crumb golden.  Not many breads are made with it as the sole flour--I think due to the belief among bakers that it is gluten-poor.  Pugliese (as detailed in Bread Baker's Apprentice) can be made with either all durum or a durum mixture, for example.  As I understand semolina, it is added as a flavor/color enhancement, but due to its granular nature, it does not do much for dough structure, and a loaf with a high percentage of semolina is liable to be quite dense.

I have also read that durum contains a high percentage of damaged starch molecules from the milling process, which makes it very appealing to yeasts and therefore good for strong fermentation.


spsq's picture
spsq

Thanks - "durum atta" must be a canadian thing.

 Are any of these flours whole grain?

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

Hi,

Atta is the Indian term for wholewheat flour of >95% extraction. Its origin is Asian. However, I think there are products in the US/Canada which are substitutes for the Asian Indian Atta as in this patent

http://www.si.umich.edu/~rfrost/courses/SI110/readings/IntellecProp/Patent_for_Naan-Atta_Flour_Milling.pdf

The paper describes the attributes of Atta ie having sufficient starch damage for water absorbtion etc. and durum is a component of the substitute as it has the required properties.

However, I am not so sure if the original Asian Atta is made from Durum. I am inclined to believe that it is just the Indian term for whole-wheat flour. Plain white flour is called Maida. Even the term Semolina(as used in the Indian context)  does not refer to wheat specie but to the texture of the milling. The finer Semolina is call Suji while the grittier one is called Rava. According to this document, 10% of Indian wheat is Durum and this is made into pasta products.

http://agmarknet.nic.in/profile_wheat.pdf

Tomsbread 

Susan's picture
Susan

I bought some Deer Brand Whole Wheat Atta at my local Middle Eastern store. It is "selected whole wheat" so I don't know if it is durum. I suspect not.

Thanks for the good info, Tomsbread

Susan

Susan's picture
Susan

I bought some Deer Brand Whole Wheat Atta at my local Middle Eastern store. It is "selected whole wheat" so I don't know if it is durum. I suspect not.

Thanks for the good info, Tomsbread

Susan

gianfornaio's picture
gianfornaio

I use Golden Temple (Robin Hood) durum atta I get at an Indian Grocer near my house in the Des Moines area-- semolina flour from the Italian Markets or (worse) the supermarkets is too expensive for me to bake with very often. The Atta price is very reasonable and the flavor is excellent-- it generally rises well, too, but I have been mixing it with unbleached AP and/or other flours. It's very fine for a whole wheat flour, certainly not stone ground, and has some additives (forgive me, I'm not by the bag, but I think ascorbic and/or folic acid)-- they're listed on the ingredient label after durum wheat flour and wheat bran-- I think the bran is durum bran but am not entirely sure. 

I've been trying to look into it more online, but most of my best information is coming from message boards where people are making some other claims of varying reliability (I just read that "durum is another word for whole wheat," for example)...

Many posters complained that roti and chappatis made with Golden Temple atta were chewy and complained about the flavor; one poster responded that it was because of GT's high maida inclusion (which would seem in contradiction with the Atta name, and others discerned between GT durum ("not our Indian wheat flour") and other Golden Temple flours... I'm inferring that the flavor and chewiness complaints stem from the durum's distinctive flavor and its non-gluten protein content respectively...

Anyway, I heartily recommend the durum atta. It's tasty.

John

spsq's picture
spsq

Thanks, John.  I've actually been throwing a cup of durum atta into a few of my bread recipes - it adds a lovely depth to a bread.  I am glad to here it's whole wheat - though apparently, that claim doesn't mean much here in Canada!

gianfornaio's picture
gianfornaio

I don't know that it means much here in the U.S. either-- I think it only means that there's some bran and/or germ in the product somewhere. Once you strip it down to its objective meaning it becomes nearly devoid of health implications... I see Whole wheat breads with two or three ingredients before whole-grain wheat flour on the list, breads made entirely without WW flour but made with white flour and supplemented with bran and/or germ, and whole wheat flours that are 80%+ white flour and blended with WW, and so on. 

And let's not forget all the General Mills ultra-sweetened breakfast candy cereal varieties, each of which proudly trumpets the health benefits of the whole grains contained therein (in however trace levels)... Clearly, more fiber is better, but that doesn't mean that the product "made with whole grains" is necessarily better for you than another product (or, for that matter, nothing at all).

I tend to think that the healthiest food is food that you eat with genuine joy, that you really savor-- those foods don't really work against you, I think, until they become habit, eaten without awareness, just consumed because they're there and you liked them before.  

But back to the flour, I doubt that Golden Temple's durum atta would be much different if it was produced here-- I think the main difference is just that most of the durum wheat in N. America is grown in Canada... In fact, I may have read that Canada is the world's largest producer of durum, but I may have that wrong and am in too much a hurry to verify.

John

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

I made 100% Atta bread to see how they performed. They turned out quite well using the techniques for 100% WW bread discussed here. 100% WW ATTA

More pics in http://www.angelfire.com/planet/tomsbread/index.htm

Tomsbread 

FERGUSSCOT's picture
FERGUSSCOT

Anyone know who makes or sells duram flour in the Guelph area?