The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

fine semolina vs durum patent flour

darellmatt's picture

fine semolina vs durum patent flour


I was interested in making the semolina sourdough mentioned in the recipie posted by Zolablue:


She indicates using "fine semolina". I only seem to be able to find ordinary semolina, which is rather coarse and gritty and is the kind normally used for pasta. I am aware that I can mail order 'durum patent flour".


Anyone have any suggestions which is indicated for this recipie?



karladiane's picture

I use King Arthur extra fancy durum for both my Pane Siciliano and Altamura-style sourdough.  It is a very finely ground flour, and the breads are delicious:


good luck.


baltochef's picture

When I first tried the Pane Siciliano recipe in the BBA book I just went to my favorite Italian grocery / wine shop where they always have semoilina for sale in small packages..They purchase it in 50 lb. bags for their own use as they bake their own breads / rolls..If you want more than what is in the small 2 lb. packages, they will weigh out whatever amount that you desire..I am fortunate in having such ethnic groceries here in Baltimore..Perhaps, you have such groceries where you live??..

I never considered what grind of semolina I was using that first time making Pane Siciliano..I just purchased the flour and made the bread, which turned out fantastic!!..I am sure that the grind of the semolina will have some effect on the final texture / crumb of the bread..Unless the grind was super coarse I would not worry too much about it..

That is the fantastic thing about baking bread from scratch at home..Unless the baker is trying to EXACTLY replicate a particular bread, the small differences that occur due to slightly different flour types, flour grinds, water types, hydration levels, the skills and techniques of a particular baker, etc.; all allow for fantastic breads to be made that differs slightly from what another baker in another part of the city / town / village / state / province /country / world might turn out using the same recipe..

Sometimes those differences result in mistakes that end up with an inedible loaf, but not too often..Most of the time those differences result in loaves that taste great, but are slightly different from the original author's recipe..Occasionally, those differences result in a mistake that creates a loaf of bread that is quite different from the recipe's intent,; but which tastes fantastic, and advances the art of bread baking!!..

So, do not sweat the small differences in bread baking too much..Once a baker understands the basics, they should be able to change recipes / make substitutions for ingredients, and still turn out a great tasting loaf of bread..

For me, there is a majic in baking bread that is very much like what I feel when developing black & white film, or watching a print develop in the tray in a darkroom..Until the loaf comes out of the oven, is cooled, is sliced, is tasted, and eaten; you do not really know if you have been successful..The same principles apply to film photography, especially if one develops and prints their own film..For me baking bread and film photography will ALWAYS have a sense of majic to them..