Semolina flour for making pasta is a coarse version of durum wheat flour which we use in The Pasta Maker's blend. Semolina is perfect for those of you who love fresh pasta and still want that 'chewy bite' texture.
For the purposes of making pasta, semolina works well for eggless pasta, couscous and fregola sarda, suitable for the vegan diet. When making our eggless pasta products, the only liquid we add is natural Florida spring water. Although you can also use it for making egg pasta too, with excellent result.
What you need to know about using coarse semolina for making pasta
Because of it's unrefined state and coarseness, semolina needs extra working to form the perfect pasta dough and for many of us, is better suited for use in electric pasta making machines. The motors on these machines are strong enough to move the dough and knead it thoroughly over longer periods of time than most of us can do so ourselves. During the mixing process, the dough will turn from golden yellow to a pale cream color the more it is kneaded. Pale cream is what you are looking for. Just take a look at the highly prized pasta, gourmet pasta and compare it to everyday brands that are often translucent.
The ratio of liquid to flour when making pasta using only coarse semolina is a little different from that used for making pasta with finely ground durum wheat flour or blends. The semolina may require a little more liquid depending on the humidity in your kitchen - but don't worry too much about that. The key here is that pasta making is all about getting a feel for the dough and becoming familiar with knowing when it's right. Practice makes perfect!
IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT - AGAIN, IMPORTANT: Semolina is coarse and this is not what you will use on the work surface to knead or shape your dough. You will use The Pasta Maker's blend of flour or Tipo '00'. Please also make a pledge never to use all purpose flour during the making of your pasta if you expect the result to be authentically Italian - just sayin'.
Also, if your dough seems too sticky as you mix it, there will be a moment when it is too late to add more coarse semolina. This moment is when the dough is already forming well. If you add more semolina at this stage, you will end up with either 'gritty' pasta or so much kneading to do you're arms will ache for weeks! Instead add The Pasta Maker's blend of flour or Tipo '00' to make the adjustment.
The next time you are out shopping for pasta and notice little white specks all over it, this is the result of the dough not being kneaded sufficiently - it was 'gritty' before it was extruded and those little white specks are insufficiently mixed grains of semolina. The pasta will still be good, but better pasta requires more patience and attention.
It may all sound complicated but it really isn't.
How to make pasta using coarse semolina
To ensure each person gets a good portion of pasta, the rule of thumb recipe for each person is:
¾ cup (100 grms) Semolina flour for pasta
3 - 4 tablespoons (50 mls) bottled, natural spring water or egg
For more servings, simply increase the ingredients required for each person using the measurements above.
Make sure you mix and knead the ingredients well before being tempted to add more water. If you need to, add extra water a little at a time.
Pasta dough requires a lot of kneading in order to form a soft but not sticky dough, so be patient.
The recipe remains the same if using a mixer with a bread hook.
When you have created your dough, cover it in Seran Wrap and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. After this time the dough is ready to form into your desired pasta shape - remember - sprinkle that work-surface with The Pasta Maker's blend of flour or Tipo '00'.