[Sca-cooks] Question about flour

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 4 21:35:39 PST 2007

On Jan 4, 2007, at 11:01 PM, Elaine Koogler wrote:

> Friends,
> I am going to be baking a Middle Eastern cookie called "Virgins  
> Breasts".
> However, the recipe calls for semolina flour.  How different is  
> from the
> unbleached plain flour I already have?  Is there a great diference  
> between
> the regular unbleached flour I already have and the semolina?
> Thanks!
> Kiri

Semolina flour is traditionally coarser in grind and higher in gluten  
than regular bread or AP (or what the British call "plain") flour...



There's a traditional Italian cookie called "Minne de virgine" (Virgin's breast). Usually made by Sicilian bakers for consumption on St. Agatha's Day (she whose boobs were cut off in martyrdom). I am wondering if the Middle Eastern cookie was inspired by the Sicilian, or vice versa. Today's confection is quite baroque; iced white with marzipan and cherry nipples.

The semolina flour we usually can get in the states is coarser in grind; think Red Mill's flour for pasta (which also makes good rustic bread). Semolina comes from durum, or hard, wheat. Our white flour is made from soft wheat, and that is what we usually use in baking. However, in Italy and other places you can get a finer-ground durum flour, which can be used for cakes and pastries (today's baker prefers the soft wheat flour for cakes and cookies, though). It will take more liquid and the final result will be coarser crumbed. If you have an Indian grocery store near you, look for pane puri, which is ground finer than the typical pasta semolina from Red Mill, or maybe a gourmet specialty store will carry finer-ground durum wheat flour.

Hope this helps!

Gianotta (who is resolutely not thinking of turnips right now)

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list