Semolina is a coarse high-gluten and high-protein flour made from durum wheat. It’s used for making dried pasta because the gluten helps the pasta keep its shape during manufacture and cooking. Semolina is also used to make gnocchi, couscous and breads, and desserts.
It’s pale creamy gold in colour and sandy in texture, with a pronounced wheaty-flour aroma with earthy notes; I think it smells like day-old damp dough that you have wrapped and refrigerated …. and most likely forgotten about! Along with protein, carbs and fibre, semolina has a good range of nutrients including iron, folate and thiamine and selenium.
In Italy, home cooks use a refined finely ground flour known as Doppio Zero (00) to make pasta. It makes a softer more silky pasta than commercially produced dried pasta that is made with semolina. However, semolina CAN BE used in fresh pasta dough to strengthen it, which is handy if you are not going to cook the pasta immediately. I don’t add it to the dough, but I find it indispensable when rolling out dough in a pasta machine to stop it sticking to the rollers. It also stops the pasta sticking together as it dries. I mix half semolina and half Hi-grade flour.
Should you bother with Doppio 00 flour? That’s up to you. … Read here
Polenta – made from cornmeal – can be used to prevent pizza dough and bread from sticking but it is not recommended to include it in the actual dough mixture and it is too gritty to use when rolling pasta.