The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How fine is Bob's Red Mill's Semolina?

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

How fine is Bob's Red Mill's Semolina?

This week I discovered that my local grocery store carries a brand of semolina flour from Bob's Red Mill, and I picked some up, eager to try out a couple of the recipes from The Bread Baker's Apprentice which had until now been unattainable.  However, I faced a quandry.  The Pugliese bread from BBA calls for fine-ground semolina or "fancy durum," which according to PR is the same grind as is used in pasta, and is the same consistency as bread flour.  The Bob's Red Mill bag says it is ideal for pasta, and has the "traditionally sandy texture."  It does not seem as find as bread flour, but is not as course as, say, cornmeal.  Quite puzzling.

Thus, my question: Does anyone know if the Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour counts as Fancy Durum flour, and/or if it works well for pugliese? (in the meantime I made the BBA's pane siciliano, which takes either fine or coarse semolina.  It was wonderful).

Floydm's picture

I don't know for certain since I've never used fancy durum flour, but I think the answer is "no," Bob's semolina flour is a courser grind than proper fancy durum flour.  But I'll also agree with you that it tastes great in pane siciliano and is usually what I use on my peel when making pizza.  We also love making kaszka with it.

mrfrost's picture

This question/quandry seems to pop up quite often and while they are not the same, the "finer" grinds of semolina seem to frequently work. Especially it has an opportunity to rest/soak for a while and/or other flours are used in the recipe.

Ps: I keep semolina on hand, also fo pizzas/peels. It looks like a very fine "sand". It worked perfectly for the Semolina sandwich loaf which calls for the fancy durum flour. Seems like it worked for almost all in the thread as no one had access to the fancydurum.

SylviaH's picture

and Bob's Red Mill Semolina grind are not the same grind of duram wheat..duram flour is going to feel more like a flour and semolina grind has a little more grainy feel.  I have found that even the ones that say extra fancy pasta grind semolina are not the duram flour grind.  I just recently made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pugliese loaves  and her recipe says that it only works with the duram flour 'meaning the very soft flour feeling grind'. 



suave's picture

I have used it quite a few times in recipes explicitly calling for fancy durum, and have never had anything but excellent results.

Janknitz's picture

but it has a great flavor.  I've used it in Semolina bread and it was mighty tasty.  I also use it to keep my English Muffins from sticking during their final rise.

I've had the same question about whether you could use it in place of fine durum flour, and I guess the only way to find out is to try it.  Even if it doesn't work texture wise, it still might produce a tasty, edible loaf.

So that still leads to the question: where can you get fine durum without having to mail order???

I've even contemplated trying to "grind" the Red Mill Semolina in my food processor. 

LoganK's picture

Janknitz, is there any store near you that makes fresh pasta?  There's a pasta shop where I live run by a guy who keeps me in supply of fine durum flour from his 50 lb bags in exchange for a loaf of bread now and then (and I bet most of them would at least sell you some).  It's fantastic to be able to use 600 or 700 grams of the stuff without having to worry about shipping charges adding up.


mredwood's picture

Not the same as fancy durum but I get great results too. I let the liquid and water sit for awhile, half hour or so to hydrate well then mix on 2 with dough hook or 4 if it's more a batter. Then everything else gets added.


mdunham21's picture

I'm new to The Fresh Loaf but I will be making a pugliese tomorrow morning and thought I would comment.  I don't have durum flour but I do have the Red Mill's Semolina flour.  In the B.B.A there is a side note which states, if using Semolina flour in substitute for durum, decrease the amount used and make up for the decrease with bread flour.