The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding Semolina/Durum flour to my pizza dough

Maeve's picture

Adding Semolina/Durum flour to my pizza dough

I recently tried adding Semolina (Bob's Red Mill, the only version I can find here in Central PA) to my pizza dough after trying it in Jason's Coccodrillo Ciabatta - which made it even more awesome.  I've gotten fairly good at making pizza after reading various bread books and threads on this forum (thanks everyone!) and I can't spin it, but I do manage to form it on my fists.  Anyway.  The addition of BRM Semolina made the crust slightly chewy, but not so chewy that my toothless father couldn't bit through it - and he ate the bones without a problem.  Plus, it added a slightly sweet taste without being overpowering.

So, I bought some Durum wheat from one of the forum members here (flourgirl51) before really researching and discovering that semolina is made from just the germ, but I figured I'd mill some in my Nutrimill and give it a go.  The resulting flour (which as near as can figure from googling is called Durum Integrale) was like fine flour mixed with semolina and some bran flecks.  I tried my pizza dough recipe with this flour and it was even better than using the semolina (which my family all commented on and said was awesome).  The crust browned nicely and it was very sturdy, despite being thin crust, the tip didn't flop down.  It was chewy and slightly sweet, but the flavour was more fresh than the BRM Semolina.

I think it made a big improvement to my pizza dough, so I thought I'd just write about my experience in case anyone else might want to experiment.  I added a bit too much water to the dough and so it was rather sticky and gloopy, but I can experiment with that later.


My recipe, with changes posted afterwards:

369 grams King Arthur Bread Flour

256 grams water (room temp)

8 grams salt

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/4 tsp instant yeast


I roughly mix everything, let it autolyse at least 15 minutes, then knead in the KA mixer on speed 2, adding a bit more water if the dough seems too dry, for about 5 minutes.  Cover and let it ferment  1 1/2 hours or so.  I don't do any stretch or folds, just divide into two equal pieces, roll each into a ball and plop them in ziploc containers and into the fridge for several hours (at least 3 or 4)  Then I heat the oven to 500F (I have a Fibrament stone in the oven), when that's hot I plop the dough into a bowl with some flour, flour both sides and stretch it out on my hands, put it on a square of parchment paper, sauce, cheese, toppings, bake for 10 minutes.


I know the amounts seem odd, but I started out weighing in ounces and I'm trying to train myself to weigh in grams and this recipe makes two 14-ish inch pizzas, which is just the right size for my family for one supper and a few leftover slices.


I swapped out 69 grams of the original 369 (again, just an arbitrary decision, I may experiment with other amounts of the durum integrale)  So it's now changed to:

300 grams King Arthur Bread Flour

69 grams BRM Semolina or Durum flour


I had very favourable results, so I just thought I'd share.  I know I could get better flavour by using less yeast and retarding it in the fridge overnight, but I don't always know that I want pizza the next day, so this makes it easy for me to mix it up a bit before noon.

mrfrost's picture

"semolina is made from just the germ"

You actually meant "semolina is made from just the endosperm".

Just to prevent confusion. Thanks for sharing your experience. It was interesting.

Maeve's picture

I live deep in the heart of confusion, so I'm used to it!  And it's one reason I don't post very much, I hate to leave something out or flub the directions.  Thanks for the correction!

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Glad to hear of your success with whole grain durum.   I had milled some whole grain durum in my Nutrimill last summer, and it didn't come out as fine as other wheat does, so I didn't know that to do with it. That's a good use for it and I'll have to try it myself.  Thanks!

Mary Clare in MO

rjerden's picture

For those without a flour mill, try buying some Atta Flour at an Indian/Pakistani food store. It's made from durum flour and is generally whole wheat, although there are some types with less bran. It's used for making chapati and the like. It might be finer than your grinder can make.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Chapatti flour isn't durum wheat.  There is "durum atta" but it's not chappati flour.  Chapatti flour is a mix of 2 different types of the semi-hard wheat that comprises 90% of what is grown in India.

Chapatti flour may also have some maida added to it, which is a soft white wheat

rjerden's picture

I said Atta Flour, not Chappati flour.

Looks like Wikipedia got it wrong also, in any case.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

You said "It's used for making chapati".  It is not generally used for making chapati.

And saying "atta flour" is saying "flour flour" since Atta means flour.

Lots of reliable info about Indian wheat and flours can be found here:

Durum atta is usually labeled so.  I don't know what would be in a bag that just says "atta", I'm pretty sure I've never seen it packaged that way.  I'm going to the grocery tonight, I'll check.

I've checked the label of the most commonly available chappati mix here in the US - Golden Temple.  They label their product "durum atta" but it really isn't.  This is what it says:

"A stone-ground wheat flour that combines wheat flour and some all purpose flour (maida) to create a soft dough. This low gluten flour kneads easier and cooks quickly. Atta, as it is called in India, is used to make paratha, roti, chapati and puri breads."

It may SAY Durum atta on the label, but it's really just typical chapati flour blend.  I've been buying the stuff for 35 years, I actually never noticed how it was labeled, LOL!

rjerden's picture

I stand corrected. Yeah, Golden Temple was what I had looked at when researching where to buy durum flour. I can cross that off my list now. Apparently, it's hard to find a pure durum flour that is finely ground, what they sometimes refer to as fancy durum flour. Not surprised about the "atta flour" terminology. Americans are notorious for this kind of redundant or semi-redundant terminology. like pizza pie, tuna fish, soda pop, etc.

purplepig's picture

Does your dough rise much in the oven?

I use a similar recipe to your original

350 grams All Purpose flour
240 grams water (room temp)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs sugar

I make 1 big 14" pizza with this.

I was very happy with the way this rises.

My previous recipe (from a friend) included seminola and gluten.

500 gr All Purpose flour
½ cup seminola flour
2 Tbs gluten flour
355 gr warm water (90-110°F)
1 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2-3 Tbs olive oil plus some to oil the bowls
(make 2 crusts)

It always looked really good, but I could never get a good crust. It was always too dry and tough for me. It also usually would fall in the oven somehwat.

Thats why one day I decied to "wing" it and simplified
it to my first recipe. I was contemplating adding back
in some of the seminola or gluten.

What may I expect to happen with more gluten or seminola added?


pjaj's picture

Is your semolina fine or coarse? As you know, semolina means semi (or part) milled, that is coarse ground, but there are different grades. The fine is coarser than ordinary flour, and feels slightly grainy when rubbed between the fingers, whilst the coarse has the consistency and feel of sand.

I use 20% semolina 80% strong flour in my pizza, and sprinkle the coarse one on the baking sheet to help prevent sticking. A dusting of coarse semolina all over the pizza dough once it is shaped gives an interesting finish.