[Sca-cooks] samidh flour, 00 farina di grano duro

Christiane Truelove christianetrue at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 24 11:13:48 PDT 2011

Well, it being red wheat makes a lot of sense. In Sicily, wheat crops are durum (summer) and soft red wheat (sown in winter, harvested in spring).

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-----Original Message-----
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:26:36 
To: Christiane<christianetrue at earthlink.net>; Cooks within the SCA<sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] samidh flour, 00 farina di grano duro

According to Annals of the Caliph's Kitchens, which I've found on Google 
Books, samidh is a fine, bran-free wheat flour that is high in starch and 
relatively low in gluten.  Samidh huwwara is a fine, bran-free flour that is 
higher in gluten and lower in starch.  Daqiq is the general term for flour. 
Daqiq huwwara and daqiq samidh  have the same distinctions about the gluten 
content.  The distinctions carry over to the bread, khubz, baked from them.

"Hinta (arbic script) wheat.  The best grains are described as large, heavy, 
and not to dense mulazzaza (as with red wheat, hinta hamra) or to brittle 
sakhifa (as with the white wheat hinta bayda').  As for black wheat hinta 
sawda it is poor in nutrition (Ibn Jazla 78r-v).  In properties, wheat is 
rate hot and moderately moist.  Washing it before using it is believed to 
make it less gaseous (Ibn Sina 275).

Red wheat is the most nutritious of all kinds, the grains are described as 
heavy, sweet, and high in gluten 'alka and it is said to be suitable for 
making samidh flour (fine bran free flour, entry below)....

White wheat (hinta bayda') is low in gluten and is thereby suitable for 
making daqiq khushkar (whole wheat flour high in bran)...."

"Huwwara (arbic script) fine bran free wheat flour made from red wheat.  In 
comparison with samidh, it is hiogher in glutren and lower in starch content 
which makes it more suitable for making breads chewy in texture."

Samidh appears to be roughly synonomous with the Latin, simila, meaning fine 
flour.  Usage appears to cover both high and low gluten flours and the 
differentiation between it and huwwara is, in my opinion, a later 
developement in the usage.  It would take an etymologist skilled in Arab 
languages to sort this out.

As a guess, from the definitions given and a little background knowledge of 
wheat, huwwara is the forerunner of the modern Turkey hard red wheat that 
was brought from the Crimea to the Central U.S. by the Mennonites.  Samidh, 
which has a lower gluten content, is probably not durum, but is a soft red 
(or possibly a white) wheat.


> There's been a lot of speculation on this, but I am wondering if samidh 
> flour was a superfine grind of durum wheat (and I am wondering if it was 
> even possible to get this superfine grind with period technology).
> The 00 farina di grano duro was used in Sicily to make things such as 
> cakes, at least according to Mary Taylor Simeti in "Pomp and Sustenance." 
> I was very surprised to see this, I thought it only good for bread and 
> pasta. Sicily and Southern Italy, of course, owe its durum wheat heritage 
> to the Arabs who brought it there.
> The durum semolina flour available in the U.S. is pretty much the coarse 
> grind, and even the finest grind available to us here doesn't rival the 
> fineness of the 00 grind, which has an extremely silky texture. I 
> understand you can mail-order it, though. The Indian stores carry a 
> fine-grind durum flour for chappatis (Golden Temple is a brand I am 
> thinking of), but it seems to have bran ground into it.
> YIS,
> Adelisa

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