Semolina flour is a high-gluten flour that's traditionally used to make pasta. Noodles made from semolina hold their shape well, and have a firm texture. If you don't have any on hand, use the following substitute in its place. It'll still give you good results, and get dinner on the table.
- All-purpose flour, bread flour or wheat flour
Replace the semolina flour called for in your recipe with an equal amount of all-purpose flour. Your pasta won't come out quite as firm, but will still taste delicious. For the best results, serve your pasta while it's hot.
If you have it, bread flour or whole wheat flour will work even better. They have a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour. Bread flour contains 12-14 percent gluten protein per cup; wheat flour contains 14 percent; and all-purpose contains 8-11 percent. Semolina comes in at 13 percent or more.
Buy semolina, if you plan to dry your pasta. You'll be happier with the results, if you do.
Note: This substitute is not gluten-free. If you're trying to make your own gluten-free pasta, it would be best to start with an actual gluten-free recipe, rather than trying to substitute gluten-free flours into a gluten-heavy recipe.
What Is Semolina Flour Anyway?
Semolina, also known as pasta wheat or macaroni wheat, is a type of flour that is typically made from hard durum wheat. It has a rather coarse texture, and is high in gluten protein. This makes it especially well suited to pasta, since it makes less sticky dough than other flours, and is much more elastic. This helps it to hold its shape when it's cooking, whether that shape is a long spaghetti noodle or an elbow noodle. If you've ever wondered why pasta is traditionally yellow, you can thank semolina for that, too. The yellow color of the flour reveals itself in the finished product.
Semolina has a sweet, nutty flavor that works well in pasta, but also in breads and pizzas. It can be purchased in coarse and fine textures, depending on your preference, or the recipe you're working on. Because of the high protein content in semolina, it has a relatively short storage life. Store it in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid. If you think it's going to take you a while to work your way through a bag, keep it in the freezer. It'll last indefinitely in there, and doesn't need to be thawed before you use it. Just take it out, scoop out what you need, and return the rest to the freezer for later.
More Ways to Use Semolina Flour
Hesitant to buy semolina flour because you're not sure you'll find many uses for it? Semolina flour can also be used to dust pizza pans when making homemade pizza, and can be sprinkled on roasted vegetables for added crunch. It can even be used to make breads, sweet puddings, cakes and other desserts. Add a bag to your pantry, and it may just become your new go-to ingredient, or even an excuse to try new recipes.
If you do decide to pick up some semolina, make sure the bag says, "semolina flour," and not corn semolina or rice semolina. These products aren't actually semolina at all. If the ingredient list doesn't show that it was made with durhum wheat, you don't have the right thing.
Measure Your Flour Properly
Always scoop your flour into your measuring cups, rather than dipping them into the flour bag. Dipping puts extra flour in your recipe, and that will make your pasta dough drier and harder to work with -- no matter which flour you decide to use. Take an extra minute to measure your flour the right way, so your recipe turns out the way the author intended.
More Flour Substitutes
Trying new recipes doesn't have to mean buying a bunch of specialty flours. When a recipe calls for a type of flour that you don't have, turn to these flour substitutes. You can always buy the real deal later, if you decide the recipe is a keeper:
See Also: How to Store Flour Properly