The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Semolina vs. Durham

CountryBoy's picture

Semolina vs. Durham

I recently made Semolina loaves of Hamelman's which is roughly:

Pate Fermentee or Preferment:
Durum Flour.. 1 ½ cups
Bread flour… 1 ½  cups
water ………..1 1/8 cups
honey ……..…½  teaspoon
yeast …..1 1/4 teaspoon

Final dough:
2 1/8 .. cups Durum flour
2 ¼  …. cups bread flour
1 3/8 .…. cups water
1 ……….Tbspn Salt…
3…………Tbspn Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sponge……..All of above.

They came out perfectly.  Except I used Bob's Red Mill Semolina flour , instead of the suggested Durham flour which is supposed to be more powdery.  These loaves turned out to have a crumb that was chewy, coarse, heavy and dense.  If I buy Durham flour from King Arthur's then hopefully the crumb will be light and airy?  Am I correct?

The point is that the bread books often make it sound as if the two flours are interchangeable but this experience suggests otherwise.  Am I correct? Also Durham is not easily available at the stores.

Trishinomaha's picture

as the Durham flour that KA markets. Chapiti is easily found if you have any Indian markets in your area and yes - I've found there is a great difference between durham and semolina - semolia is much more coarse.


subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona it is the opposite of durum flour. Chapati flour would not be suitable for the original poster's recipe.

I turned to my favorite Indian cookbook for a definition...

Known as atta, this type of wheat flour has been used in India for over 5,000 years...Most of the wheat grown in India today is this low-gluten, soft-textured wheat...Atta is particularly suited to flat breads...Atta is the entire kernal of wheat milled to a very fine powder.

Semolina is milled from the endosperm of durum wheat. In my location in the US, it is always rather granular. (I have read that you can get a finely milled semolina flour in Italy.)


PS If you're looking for a substitute for chapati flour, you could try a whole wheat pastry flour, as long as it is finely milled (and maybe sift out some of the bran with a really fine sieve, if you're compulsive).

I have a Nutrimill grain mill which can produce very finely milled flour. I recently got some soft winter wheat to see if I could get close to chapati flour (haven't tried it yet, however, so the jury is still out on that one).