What is Semolina Bread? (with pictures)

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Semolina flour is derived from durum wheat.
Semolina flour is derived from durum wheat.

Semolina bread is bread which is made with semolina flour, a flour derived from durum wheat. Durum wheat is the hardest wheat available, and it produces a distinctive flour which is famously used in pasta. This bread may be made entirely from semolina or with a mixture of semolina and another flour; in either case, it has a rich flavor and a distinctively chewy texture.

Biga is a bread starter similar to sourdough.
Biga is a bread starter similar to sourdough.

In Italy, semolina bread is better known as pane di semola, and it is often made on special occasions, especially on the island of Sardinia. Semolina is instantly recognizable, thanks to its golden color, and the more semolina flour used, the more yellow the bread will be. In some cases, the bread may be a creamy white, while in others it can be a vibrant golden yellow.

Semolina bread takes a long time to ferment and rise.
Semolina bread takes a long time to ferment and rise.

Like other traditional Italian breads, semolina bread is designed to be made with a starter, known as a biga. Starters pull wild yeasts from the air by creating an environment which is favorable for them to grow in. When mixed with flour, salt, oil, and water to make bread dough, the yeasts begin to slowly ferment. The slow fermentation time yields a much more complex flavor and a very chewy texture, and although it means that the bread takes longer to rise, many bakers believe that using a starter is worth the extra effort.

Bakers often blend semolina and white flours when making loaves of semolina bread.
Bakers often blend semolina and white flours when making loaves of semolina bread.

The slow fermentation involved in the production of semolina bread produces a classically open crumb which is both soft and chewy. The crust of this bread is typically very crisp, and it may be decorated with chunks of coarsely ground semolina, or sesame seeds, along with other toppings. Many people find that this bread has a faintly buttery flavor, which is difficult to explain, since butter is not involved in the recipe.

In Italy, semolina bread is better known as pane di semola, and it is often made on special occasions, especially on the island of Sardinia.
In Italy, semolina bread is better known as pane di semola, and it is often made on special occasions, especially on the island of Sardinia.

There are all sorts of uses for semolina bread. It can be dipped in oil or various dressings and eaten plain, or smeared with butter to enhance the buttery flavor. Some people like to make sandwiches with semolina bread; it tastes particularly excellent with a smear of soft cheese and a handful of olives. This dense, moist bread will keep for several days when wrapped in paper; if it starts to go stale, sprinkle a slice with water and toast it briefly to revive it.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon346770

Semolina bread is yellow, not white, but I would class it along with white bread since it has low fiber content, but I hear whole (higher fiber) flours can be bought.

The nutritional facts per 100g of fine semolina flour are 340 calories; 12.5 grans protein; 67g carbohydrates (of sugar 3.5)(fiber 4g)(Rest (59.5) is starch) and 2.5 grams of fat.

It's made from wheat, as it says above, and is not gluten free, although some people who are allergic wheat can handle it.

In my opinion, it's healthier than wheat flour due to the effects on the body's metabolism, skin and digestion.

Benefits of semolina: High protein and low fat; digested slowly so makes you fuller for longer; has high potassium content so improves kidney function; high in vitamin B and E groups. Hope this helps.

anon146930

I bought semolina bread at a Sprouts store today. I read the nutritional label. It says: 0 fat, calories, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fiber, sugars, no vitamins per 1 0z. Is this a mistake on the label? Can you tell me the correct nutritional info please?

anon63107

It is actually better than wheat bread because it has a lower gi value, releasing energy slower and for longer periods of time without a spike in glucose. it is a complex carb.

anon62082

I would like to know the benefits of semolina.

anon47413

is semolina bread considered white bread or wheat bread? thank you

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    • Semolina flour is derived from durum wheat.
      Semolina flour is derived from durum wheat.
    • Biga is a bread starter similar to sourdough.
      Biga is a bread starter similar to sourdough.
    • Semolina bread takes a long time to ferment and rise.
      Semolina bread takes a long time to ferment and rise.
    • Bakers often blend semolina and white flours when making loaves of semolina bread.
      Bakers often blend semolina and white flours when making loaves of semolina bread.
    • In Italy, semolina bread is better known as pane di semola, and it is often made on special occasions, especially on the island of Sardinia.
      In Italy, semolina bread is better known as pane di semola, and it is often made on special occasions, especially on the island of Sardinia.