Semolina, also called durum flour, is the endosperm of durum wheat. Coarsely ground, semolina’s primary use is in the making of pasta and couscous. The endosperm is separated from the bran through sifting during the milling process. It is then ground into flour. Semolina contains protein, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and fat, but not saturated fat or cholesterol.
Durum wheat, also called macaroni wheat, is a hard wheat variety that is high in gluten and has a high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. The endosperm is at the heart of the wheat kernel. It is a tissue that develops about the time that a seed is fertilized and surrounds the seed to provide nutrition as it develops.
The separated endosperm, before it is ground into flour, is used for the making of couscous in North Africa and bulgar in Turkey, Cyprus and Levant. The endosperm of the wheat is yellow, and the flour produced from it is amber in color. The dough made from semolina flour is very firm and retains its shape when cooked, making it ideal for pasta production.
In North America and Europe, semolina flour is used in the making of a sweet pudding that is served warm. A similar breakfast porridge is common in Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Russia. The flour also is used in popular desserts in India, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
Semolina flour also is used in the making of bread around the world. It is added to soups and stews as a thickener. It sometimes is used as the base for soufflés and can be prepared like polenta. In North America, semolina tends to be more coarse because it is chipped. In European mills, it is ground and has a finer texture.
The word "semolina" also can refer to several other things. It commonly refers to a hot breakfast cereal that is made from the endosperm of a wheat variety that is softer than durum wheat. It sometimes refers to a wheat product that is cooked and made into foods for infants and elderly people. It also can refer to any coarse ground grain, such as rice semolina or corn semolina.