Durum Flour vs All-Purpose Flour

The warm, golden hue and fresh nutty aroma of Janie’s Mill 100% extraction Durum Flour gives this bread a beautiful color and rich flavor.  This recipe blends the very high protein Durum Flour with a medium-high protein bread flour (Artisan Blend) and our lower protein All-Purpose Flour. Feel free to experiment with different flours, and to vary the proportions. Even 1/3 Durum will add a golden glow and great flavor to your next loaf!  Yield: 2 boules

Using durum flour in your next bake can transform a so-so loaf into a golden masterpiece. Durum is a wheat variety that’s often used to make pasta. But, it’s also a fantastic option for sourdough bread—if you know how to choose the right flour.

Besides bread recipes, I love using durum flour in my sourdough pizza dough. Durum brings a golden color to the pizza crust and adds crispness. I can bet you’ve had pizza with some percentage of durum mixed into the dough at some point or another. And that pizza might have elicited a “wow, this pizza crust is so good, what’s the secret?” question as you ate your way through a slice.

Before we talk about how to pick the right durum flour for bread (or pizza!), let’s look at what durum wheat is.

When it comes to baking, the type of flour you use can make a BIG difference in the final product. Two common types of flour are durum flour and all-purpose flour, each with their unique properties and uses.

Durum flour is typically used in pasta, bread, and pizza dough, while all-purpose flour is more versatile for different types of baking.

Image source: Shutterstock

In this article, I’ll cover all the major differences between these two flours to help you decide which one to use for your next baking project. Let’s get started!

  • Great to Use In:
    Pasta, Pizza, Pita, Chapati, Rustic Sourdough Breads, Yeasted Breads
  • Organic Durum (Ancient Hard Spring Wheat)
  • Durum flour does best with increased hydration and a longer autolyse

Durum flour and coconut flour are two very different types of flour with their own unique flavors, textures, and uses. While durum flour is made from hard wheat grains and has been around since ancient Rome, its tropical counterpart has only recently seen an increase in popularity due to its health benefits.

Straight off the bat, though, Durum and semolina flour often get confused as the same thing, but they are slightly different. Durum is much finer than semolina and often milled multiple times once it has been separated from the coarse semolina. Think of them like non-identical twins.

That aside, both coconut flour and durum can add texture, flavor, and nutrition to any dish – but which one should you choose? Let’s compare!

*While both durum flour and semolina can be used to make pasta, durum is used more often for bread and semolina for pasta.

What is semolina bread?

Semolina bread is an irresistibly delicious Italian bread known for its golden crust and soft crumb. While it may sound quite fancy, the only difference between semolina bread and regular bread is the use of durum wheat flour in place of some traditional bread flour.

What is semolina flour?

As I mentioned above, semolina bread is made from semolina flour (also called durum flour). This type of flour is very fine compared to bread flour, so it gives the crust its quintessential crispiness.

You can find semolina flour in most grocery stores where the other flours are located. If you can’t find it there, you may have luck at your local Mediterranean market or an online store like Amazon.

Is semolina bread vegan?

There are only 6 ingredients (including water and salt) that makeup a semolina bread recipe. All of them are completely vegan-friendly, making this bread an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians alike!

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Flour: Use a combination of bread flour and semolina flour for a golden crust and tender crumb texture. Bread flour contains a higher gluten content, so it’s the preferred option over all-purpose flour (though, both will work). There isn’t a 1:1 replacement for semolina flour, but you can try spelt, buckwheat, or Khorasan wheat flour with varied results.
  • Sugar: For the yeast to feed on. Use organic granulated sugar or cane sugar.
  • Water: Make sure to use lukewarm water so the yeast properly activates (around 110-112 degrees F is optimal).
  • Yeast: I use active dry yeast for this recipe. If you have another variety, check how to properly activate it. To test the strength of your yeast, combine it with the water and sugar. It should start foaming within a few minutes. If not, purchase new yeast!
  • Salt: To enhance the flavors of the bread.
  • Olive oil: For a rich flavor and tender texture, use good quality extra-virgin olive oil. You can also use avocado oil for similar results.


1. Fold in from the top

2. Fold in from the bottom

3. Fold in from the right

4. Fold in from the left

What to serve with semolina bread

What does a warm slice of semolina bread go best with? One of these spreads or dishes:

You can also enjoy this fresh bread with a side of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Slather it with creamy butter for your morning toasts or make some grilled cheese sandwiches. Also, it pairs so tastefully with hot soup, fresh salads and it’s the best bread for bruschetta.

Storage & Reheating

If you end up with leftover semolina bread, keep these storage tips in mind:

  • Room temperature: Once completely cooled, transfer the bread to an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze the bread by slicing it first, then wrapping the slices in cling wrap. Transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, and store them for up to 1 month in the freezer.
  • Reheating: Let the bread thaw overnight, or heat a slice directly from frozen in a toaster oven or microwave.

Top Tips

  • Use an oven thermometer: Everyone’s oven differs slightly. For the most even and consistent baking results, I recommend purchasing an oven thermometer.
  • Choose bread flour: While all-purpose flour does work, the higher protein (gluten) content of bread flour makes it the better choice for this semolina bread recipe.
  • Give it time: When working with yeast, it’s important to give your bread time to rise. I promise it’s worth the wait!
  • Check the semolina flour: Semolina flour is sold in different granule sizes, so make sure you purchase the superfine variety.


What’s the difference between semolina bread and regular bread?

Regular bread is typically made with bread flour. On the other hand, semolina bread is made from durum flour or a mix of durum flour and bread flour.

Can I make this recipe oil-free?

I don’t recommend making this semolina bread recipe without oil as it helps create a rich flavor and a soft and tender texture.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Since semolina flour is made from wheat, it is not gluten-free. For a gluten-free recipe, try replacing it with buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat flour, rice flour, and amaranth flour. Your results will vary depending on the alternative flour you use.

Similar recipes

If you enjoyed making this semolina bread recipe, be sure to check out some more baked goods like these:

  • Gourmet pizza: A quick and easy vegan pizza with tomatoes, cheese, and Italian spices.
  • Chocolate chip cookies: Small batch vegan cookies filled with chunks of chocolate.
  • Baked pasta: A vegan spin on the viral TikTok pasta.

Semolina bread, the exquisite and irresistible Italian delights. It’s so easy to make with your dutch oven and without having to knead. Thin curst, fluffy inside and an amazing flavor.

Its also pairs so tastefully with hot soup, fresh salads and it’s the best bread for bruschetta.

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Dig a hold in the center of the dry flour mixture, and pour in the olive oil.
  • Slowing at water and mix from center out till all the dry flour is moistened.
  • Continue combine as you add water till it stars to form into a sticky dough.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a tight light and let it rest in a warm place for 16 to 20 hours.
  • Spread your work area with a generous amount of dry bread flour. Gently remove the dough on to the work area.
  • Cover your hands with bread flour and start folding in the dough from each edge: bottom, top, right, and left. Continue to fold 3 to 6 times, till the dough is no longer sticky. Use more bread flour in extra sticky areas.
  • Shape up the dough like a ball and cover it with the mixing bowl. Let it rest for 1.5 hours.
  • Coat the bottom of your dutch oven with a tablespoon of oil. Cover the dutch oven with a lid and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven with the dutch oven in it at 450°F. Once the oven is preheated, remove the dutch oven and sprinkle some semolina flour at the bottom (to prevent dough from sticking). Carefully place the dough ball in it (remember the dutch oven is hot). Cover the dutch oven with the lid and place it back in the oven. Bake at 450°F for 25 minutes.
  • Take out the dutch oven and let it cool down with the lid off for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the dutch oven and let it rest for another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish

Semolina Bread, semolina bread recipe

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If you’ve been looking for a simple, one-bowl dessert recipe, then this Semolina Cake is for you. Pouring lemon-infused simple syrup over the golden-yellow top keeps this cake moist for days after baking.

Who would have thought that a flour used mostly for pasta would make such a magical cake, but that’s exactly what durum flour does in this easy dessert recipe. This semolina cake has tons of fans thanks to its sweet and sticky bottom, moist middle, and cakey texture. It’s also universally loved because it’s just such a breeze to make.

Making the simple syrup a week or two in advance means all you need to do is mix your ingredients in a single bowl, bake the cake, and pour the sweetened syrup over the top before serving. The lemon in this cake gives it tons of spring and summer vibes, but adding a few warming spices instantly turns it into a cozy fall treat.

How to Make It

What is semolina flour?

Semolina flour is a hearty variety of yellow flour made from durum wheat. While semolina is most often used to make pasta – its super high protein content is great for helping pasta keep its shape after being cooked in boiling water, it also makes terrifically crumbly and textured baked treats. Because semolina naturally has a gorgeous yellow color, cakes and pastries made with semolina have the most beautiful color when you pull them from the oven.

What is simple syrup and how to make it

Simple syrup has tons of uses in the kitchen, and it can be made ahead and stored for up to a month in the refrigerator. Besides being an easy way to add some sweetness to baked goods, it’s also used in cocktails. If you love mojitos, mint juleps, gimlets, and old fashioneds, it doesn’t hurt to have some simple syrup on hand.

Making simple syrup is easy. Combine one part water and one part sugar in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool before storing.

If you’re not a fan of sugar, you can also use a 1:1 ratio of honey and water.

For the cake:

  • Semolina – Semolina flour gives baked goods the most wonderful golden-yellow color, and dense, teacake-like texture.
  • Plain Yogurt – Plain yogurt has a tangy neutral flavor that allows the other flavors to shine. If you don’t have plain yogurt, non-fat Greek yogurt would also work. Using a berry flavored yogurt is also a popular choice if you’re layering in different fruit flavors.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Semolina is our main flour ingredient, but we still need a few tablespoons of all purpose to hold the cake together.
  • Vegetable Oil – Vegetable oil is a good go-to baking oil for its neutral flavor. You could also try grapeseed, olive oil, coconut oil, or saffron oil.
  • Eggs, White Sugar, Pure Vanilla Extract, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt – Basic kitchen baking ingredients to add lift, bind the things together, and add a subtle sweet vanilla flavor.
  • Simple Syrup – The secret ingredient to a moist, sweet semolina cake is simple syrup.

This semolina cake makes it so easy to add your own personal touches. There is no limit to the fun variations you can create using this cake as your base.

For an extra sweet and syrupy cake texture, pour the simple syrup over the cake and then let it rest overnight. Giving a few extra hours for the cake to absorb the syrup creates the most amazingly sweet bottom layer.

Is semolina flour gluten-free?

Semolina is very high in gluten. If you have a gluten sensitivity, you could swap the semolina for a gluten-free flour like almond, coconut, or oat, but the finer texture of these flours will change the density of this cake.

Can I freeze it?

If you want to freeze this cake and serve it at a later date, allow the cake to cool completely and skip adding the simple syrup. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap to preserve the freshness, and store in a sealed container. When you’re ready to serve, bring the cake to room temperature, and pour the simple syrup over the top. Slice, serve, and watch it disappear.

How do you store semolina cake?

Semolina cake is one of those cakes that is great at room temperature, or with a little chill on it. You can store this cake by letting it cool, and tightly covering the cake pan with plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 days.

More Simple 8×8 Cakes

Made with yogurt and semolina flour, Semolina Cake is a one-bowl dessert or snack that doesn’t require a mixer and comes out moist, tangy, and delicious.

easy dessert recipe, easy snack cake, one-bowl cake

For the syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C
  • Lightly grease an 8”x8” (20 cm x 20 cm) baking dish with cooking spray or lightly rub it with cooking oil.
  • Make syrup: Combine water and ¾ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 1 minute to fully dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice (if using). Set aside to cool completely.
  • Make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and ½ cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Add yogurt and vegetable oil and whisk again until evenly combined. Add semolina, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until everything is combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake: Bake until the center of the cake is set and the edges are golden brown and start to pull away from the sides, 30 to 34 minutes. (Note: Gently press on the cake in the center to be sure that it has cooked all the way through – it should have a springy but firm texture.)
  • Add syrup: Remove the cake from the oven and slowly pour the syrup over top, making sure to pour syrup evenly over the entire surface. (Note: much of the syrup will drip down the sides which is fine. The cake will absorb the syrup from the bottom as it sits.)
  • Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. (The cake is also great served chilled. If not serving immediately, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Semolina – Semolina is flour made from durum wheat. It’s most commonly used in making pasta, but lends a nice crumb and slightly nutty flavor to this cake.

Yogurt – Plain yogurt works best in this recipe. I have made it with nonfat Greek yogurt as well and had good results. Do not use a full fat Greek yogurt – it is too thick for a properly baked cake. I’ve never tried it with flavored yogurt, but I’m sure it would be great that way!

Syrup – Pouring the sweetened syrup over the finished cake makes the resulting cake super moist. Many reviewers have made this cake without the syrup (or have reduced the syrup), and loved the result. If you’re looking for a lighter, less-sweet cake, feel free to adjust the amount of syrup you use. If you’re planning to stir in mix-ins or just want to skip the lemon flavor, feel free to leave out the lemon juice.

This unique Italian bread is everything we want in crusty bread. The golden crust, creamy texture, and amazing flavor make it irresistible! Perfect for toast and sandwiches. This post has step-by-step images and instructions to guide you.

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Originally posted in February 2012. Images and text in this post have been updated to serve you better. The recipe stays the same, of course.

I must admit this is one of my favorite bread I bake, especially for breakfast toast with butter and sandwiches.

I love baking with yeast. And though I know it’s not everybody’s thing, some bread recipes are worth the time and dedication. This is one of them, for sure.

Others include oatmeal bread and 100% whole wheat bread. And let’s not forget the easiest french bread that needs no kneading, taking complicated out of the bread baking equation.

What is semolina?

Also called durum flour, semolina is a fine-textured flour (image below, right) made from durum wheat (used to make dried pasta). It has a nutty undertone and gives the bread a welcomed golden hue.

It’s similar to very fine sand. Very different and much finer than bread flour (image below, left).

Bread made with semolina has a crusty crust like no other. It makes the best croutons and the best bruschetta.

How to make semolina bread

This is a fantastic recipe because it’s easy to knead by hand. And even easier with a stand mixer (using the dough hook).

It is supple, soft, and not sticky.

  • Adding the rest of the ingredients: with the sponge ready, we need to add the rest of the ingredients (images 5 and 6).
  • It will look like there are not enough wet ingredients when you turn it out onto the counter (image 7), but the dough starts forming in no time after you start bringing it together and kneading.
  • After 1 or 2 minutes, the dough is rough but not sticky, and all the ingredients are combined (image 8).

  • Kneading the dough: it takes 6-7 minutes to knead it by hand. Maybe just 5 with a stand mixer.
  • Kneading by hand: fold the dough onto itself and push it away. Don’t push it away so much that you see it tearing. Repeat this until the dough is supple and soft. If you press a finger, it should leave a slight indentation that doesn’t rise again immediately.
  • Temperature: let rise in a draft-free, warm place. If the room is cold, I wrap it around something that keeps the temperature, like a sweater, blanket, or pashmina.

  • Forming or shaping the bread: this part is easy because the dough is supple and great to work with. It can be shaped differently, and I like the batard, a very fat and short baguette.
  • Important steps are flattening the dough with your hands (image 9), folding it like a cinnamon roll, and pinching after each fold (images 10 and 11). Lastly, you need to pinch and seal the whole bread (image 12), so it doesn’t ‘unfold’ during baking.

  • Second rising: the bread, once shaped and on the baking sheet, needs a second rising, covered and in a draft-free warm place, before it is scored and baked (image 13 shows bread before the second rising).
  • Scoring the bread: now, you need to score the formed bread. These are the cuts or slits you make to the dough. They will allow the bread to rise better as it has a place to unfold and grow while baking. You can use a sharp knife (images 14 to 16) or a special tool called a lame. It is a razor blade on a stick. You can lightly aid yourself with your hand (image 15), but it’s best to be decisive and just go for the 45° cut.

If you take the time to make this bread, let me tell you it’s one of the best.

The crumb is creamy and delicious, dense without being heavy, and perfect for toast or Italian Tomato Bruschetta. And makes the best croutons.

  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the right temperatures, equipment needed, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. Use a thermometer inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that the temperature is right. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
  • Semolina: buy the superfine one. Though it would be labeled differently, semolina comes in different sizes. Couscous is also semolina, for example.
  • Bread flour: there is flour specially made for bread. It has more gluten than all-purpose. Gluten is the ingredient that develops with kneading and helps the bread grow. The bread will work with all-purpose (not cake) flour, but it’s a good idea to look for it or buy bread flour online.
  • Freezing: this is a wonderful bread to freeze in slices and have ready for toast or bruschettas. Slice it and wrap it in plastic or put it in a Ziploc bag. It will last for a month.

I wanted to bake an all-semolina bread, but it didn’t turn out well. It just didn’t work. So the compromise was to find bread with semolina and bread flour.

I found it, and it’s perfect.

Substituting semolina flour

Semolina flour is unique and doesn’t have a direct substitute.

But, if you still want or need to substitute it, you can use spelt or Kamut flour. They’re whole flours, so the texture and color will vary.

Find them at specialty stores and some supermarkets. Or buy whole spelt flour and whole kamut flour online.

Frequently asked questions

What is semolina bread good for?

This bread makes the best toast for bruschetta and some sandwiches. It’s also great for morning toast with butter, dip in olive oil, or part of an antipasto platter.

What is semolina bread made of?

It’s made of durum flour and usually wheat flour. Durum wheat is used to make semolina, but it’s too hard to use it exclusively. This recipe uses bread flour.

Semolina gives the bread a fantastic golden hue and a crackly crust.

Why is Italian bread yellow?

Semolina gives it that color. It’s used a lot in Italy, especially in the south, so it’s common to see the bread with a golden color.


  • lukewarm water (tap is fine)
  • active dry yeast (for alternatives see Notes below)
  • (210g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour


  • All the sponge, above
  • (70g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
  • (120g) semolina flour
  • – teaspoons salt (If you normally don’t use much salt go for the )
  • olive oil

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To make the sponge

  • Place the warm water in a mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast.
  • Stir in the flour, mix lightly and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

To make the bread

  • Have ready a baking sheet lightly dusted with semolina.
  • Stir the sponge to deflate, and add the flour, semolina, salt, and oil.
  • Turn the risen dough out on the floured work surface.
  • Press with the palms of your hands to deflate.
  • Shape the dough into an oval, folding as you would a cinnamon roll, pinching at the seams after each fold, and place tucked side down on the prepared pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  • Sesame seeds on top: this is optional. Lightly dampen the dough on top (carefully, as you don’t want to tear or deflate it) and sprinkle the seeds.
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until able to lift from the baking sheet with a spatula, and wait until completely cooled to cut.


  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the right temperatures, equipment needed, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. Use a thermometer inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that the temperature is right. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
  • Types of yeast: besides active-dry yeast, you can use instant yeast (¾ teaspoon) and add it to the flour, then add the water. Or fresh yeast (3 teaspoons) that you crumble and mix with the water first.
  • Semolina: buy the superfine one. Though it would be labeled differently, semolina comes in different sizes. Couscous is also semolina, for example.
  • Bread flour: there is flour specially made for bread. It has more gluten than all-purpose. Gluten is the ingredient that develops with kneading and helps the bread grow. The bread will work with all-purpose (not cake) flour, but it’s a good idea to look for it or buy bread flour online.
  • Freezing: this is a wonderful bread to freeze in slices and have ready for toast or bruschettas. Slice it and wrap it in plastic or put it in a Ziploc bag. It will last for a month.
  • Pan: I like to use flats baking sheets dusted with semolina. But cornmeal or oats will work too.
  • Serving Size:
  • Calories:
  • Sugar:
  • Sodium:
  • Fat:
  • Carbohydrates:
  • Fiber:
  • Protein:
  • Cholesterol:

Adapted from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri


Durum flour has a higher protein and gluten content, which means it can last slightly longer than all-purpose flour. It can typically be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years.

All-purpose flour can also be stored the same way but only up to 8 months. It’s also important to note that all-purpose flour may lose its leavening power (ability to cause the dough to rise) over time, which can affect the quality of baked goods.

Overall, both types of flour have a relatively long shelf life if stored properly, but it’s best to use them within a few months of opening the package to ensure freshness and quality.

What Is the Difference Between Durum and Semolina?

Semolina is flour made from durum wheat. To make semolina, a miller will mill durum wheat to coarse granularity (like table salt). This coarseness means flour that’s fantastic for pasta-making but less desirable for bread. Using semolina results in a dough that’s strong and elastic. This dough is perfect for rolling, cutting, and pinching pasta.

Baker’s Notes

Durum Flour has a very high protein level (16%) so you may combine it with any of your favorite medium or low protein flours such as Einkorn, Black Emmer, Spelt, or All Purpose.

Durum Flour is also very thirsty, and depending on the proportion you use, you may go up to 90% hydration.

Ingredients in durum vs coconut flour

Durum flour and semolina flour both come from the durum wheat grain. This grain is much harder to mill, which is why semolina has quite a coarse texture, and durum flour needs to be milled more than once to get a fine consistency.

When looking specifically for durum flour but only seeing semolina, double-check the labels. If it says twice-milled semolina, that will be closer to what you are looking for.

Coconut flour is made from the dried, ground flesh of coconuts. Both flours should have 100% of the ingredients as the durum wheat grain and the coconut meat, respectively.

Durum flour vs coconut flour storage

The freezer is the best option for storing both flours if you want them to last a long time. Freezing also has the added benefit of killing any eggs that may already be present in your flour supply, which may hatch after a couple of months and cause a bug infestation.

If storing them in your freezer isn’t an option, then sealing them in air-tight containers away from light, heat, moisture, and strong-smelling food or chemicals is a must, and be sure to consume them within a few months.

for Main dough

  • 300g active levain (made from your sourdough starter, see above)
  • 320g Durum Flour
  • 250g Artisan Blend Flour
  • 250g All-Purpose Flour
  • 18g salt
  • 680g water (+20g more if needed — Durum and other 100% extraction flours are thirsty, and you may go up to 90% hydration)

Durum flour + coconut flour nutritional facts

*Durum wheat GI, may vary once it is ground to durum flour

As for nutrition value, durum flour is also rich in essential minerals such as selenium and zinc.

Durum is considered a low-GI wheat, which is excellent for those who enjoy a bit of bread while balancing their blood sugar. And here’s a full list of the highest protein flours.

Differences between durum flour and all-purpose flour

Durum flour and all-purpose flour are both made from wheat, but the main difference lies in the type of wheat used and the milling process used.

Durum flour is made from durum wheat, which is a hard variety of wheat that is typically high in protein and gluten. It has a coarse texture and a yellowish color, and it is commonly used to make pasta, bread, and pizza dough.

All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is a blend of hard and soft wheat flours that are milled together. The flour is finely ground, and the bran and germ are typically removed. It has a finer texture than durum flour and a lower gluten content, which makes it more versatile for different types of baking. All-purpose flour is often used to make cakes, cookies, quick breads, and other baked goods that do not require a lot of gluten development.

How To Bake Bread With Durum Flour

You can add durum flour to almost any bread recipe rather easily—but there are a few things to look out for. Let’s talk about how durum affects hydration, how to mix, why an autolyse can be helpful, and what to do if your dough is sticky.

Increase The Hydration

In my experience, to achieve a dough with proper hydration, durum flour needs more water. Most of the durum flour I source is from Canada, which tends to need more water. But as always, when mixing bread dough, hold back a small amount of the water during mixing. Add this reserved water in stages to avoid over hydrated the dough during mixing.

Gentle Mixing Is Key

Dough with high percentages of durum flour will have a more delicate structure and can break down easily. As I do with my Pane Siciliano recipe, I prefer hand mixing when using high percentages of durum wheat. Gentle mixing will result in a loaf of bread with more volume and a tenderer, lighter crumb. The slap and fold kneading technique is the perfect technique to use when working with durum.

If you’re using a mechanical mixer on a large batch of dough containing durum wheat, mix on a lower speed for longer. For instance, instead of 3 minutes on speed 1 and 3 minutes on speed 2, do 5 to 6 minutes on speed 1.

Reduce The Fermentation Timeline

Related to the gentle mixing above, reducing the fermentation timeline will help maintain dough structure and reduce dough breakdown. In my Pane Siciliano, I opt for a cold overnight proof, but I would not extend the total fermentation time past 24 hours. A same-day (direct) bread dough might yield greater volume and better internal structure. When baking direct and proofing the dough on the counter, use the poke test to determine when it’s ready to bake.

Perform a Longer Autolyse for Increased Extensibility

Bread dough with a high percentage of durum tends to be very strong and elastic. This is partly due to durum’s high protein content. To reduce dough elasticity, perform an autolyse to increase extensibility.

Stretching and folding durum bread dough.

Like I do with my Pane Siciliano, a longer autolyse allows the dough to stretch farther. A dough with high extensibility will be more relaxed and filled with gasses. This results in sourdough bread with more volume and a lighter texture.

The Dough Is Sticky, and That’s Okay

Bread dough containing a high percentage of durum flour will feel sticky—this is normal. The best way to deal with sticky dough is to keep your hands wet or floured at every step.

Additionally, oil your bulk fermentation container to keep it nonstick. Before you transfer mixed and kneaded durum dough into a container, spread a layer of oil from edge to edge. I prefer using olive oil, but a neutral-flavored oil will also work.

At a glance, durum flour

  • Is a variety of wheat
  • Adds a golden color to the crust and crumb
  • Is high in protein but not high-quality protein for bread-making
  • Is most often used in pasta (as semolina)
  • Semolina flour is durum wheat milled coarse
  • Durum flour is durum wheat milled fine

Can I Use Both Durum Flour and Regular Wheat?

Often, bakers will blend durum with traditional wheat. Blending the two results in bread with a golden crust and crumb but a lighter and more open interior. The durum adds flavor and color, while the wheat brings better gas-trapping characteristics.

When blending the two, I use around 20 to 40% durum wheat to the total flour (in baker’s percentages) in the recipe. The higher you push the durum percentage, the denser and more cake-like the crumb will become. Though, what you sacrifice in lightness and openness, you gain in color and flavor.

Coarsely milled semolina is on the left, and finely ground durum flour (semolina rimacinata) is on the right.

Ingredients in durum flour vs all-purpose flour

Durum flour typically contains only “durum wheat”. Keep in mind, semolina flour is a different, coarser type of flour made from durum wheat and is not the same as durum flour.

All-purpose flour contains wheat flour and may be enriched with additional nutrients like iron and folic acid. However, the specific ingredients vary depending on the brand.

What Is Durum Flour?

Generally, durum flour is durum wheat milled into a fine powder. It’s also called “durum extra fancy, “ “durum type 00,” or “semolina rimacinata” (twice-milled semolina, in Italian). Since it’s milled into a fine powder, it has better baking performance than coarse semolina.

What Is Durum Flour Good For?

Durum flour is great for bread, focaccia, and pizza; you can even use it to make pasta. When you use it in bread dough, you’ll get a dough that’s elastic and strong. It will result in flavorful bread with a lighter texture and a more open interior.

Why Is Durum Flour Yellow?

Durum wheat is rich in carotenoid pigments, bringing a highly desirable bright yellow color to pasta and bread. These compounds help contribute to the sweet flavor of bread and pasta and bring essential nutrients such as provitamin A and antioxidants.


  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2 bannetons or towel-lined mixing bowls
  • Dutch oven or other heavy pot or pan
  • Lame or a sharp knife for scoring

Differences between durum flour and coconut flour

Durum and coconut flour are very different. Durum is actually much closer to all-purpose flour – they are both gluten-containing wheat flours and not suitable for paleo, keto, or gluten-free diets.

Durum Flour Online Sources

Here are a few places that sell fantastic durum flour suitable for bread (and pasta):

Now that you know where you can buy durum flour, let’s look at some tips for using it in bread.

My sourdough Pane Siciliano is made with durum flour and topped with white sesame seeds.

Baking with durum flour vs all-purpose flour

Because durum flour has a high gluten content, it’s ideal for making doughs that need to be stretched and shaped, like pasta and pizza dough. Durum flour also has a nuttier, richer flavor than all-purpose flour that nicely enhances the flavor of baked goods.

All-purpose flour is better for most other types of baking, including cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads. It has a lower gluten content than durum flour and a finer texture that is more suited to these types of baking projects. All-purpose flour can also be used to thicken soups and sauces.

Durum flour and all-purpose flour nutritional facts

Durum flour and all-purpose flour have almost the same nutritional facts, with one major difference. Durum flour typically has a lower glycemic index than all-purpose flour because it’s less processed. This means it raises blood sugar levels more slowly. Of course, if you’re looking for a REALLY low glycemic index flour, check out almond flour.

Both flours are relatively low in fat, with less than 1 gram per serving. It’s worth noting that while both types of flour are a source of carbohydrates, they are also highly processed and may be less nutrient-dense than other whole grain alternatives like whole wheat flour.

What’s Next?

Now that you understand durum flour, it’s time to use it and bake some sourdough bread.

Make my Pane Siciliano with 100% durum flour and the most beautiful golden crust and crumb. Or, if you want to blend durum and another wheat, my Seeded Sourdough is delicious.

Durum Flour FAQs

A variety of other foods are made from durum wheat, including Indian rotis, or chapattis (where durum flour is usually called “chapatti flour”), couscous, and bulgur.

Is Altamura bread made with durum flour?

Altamura is a town and comune of Apuglia in southern Italy. The people in this area are famous for making bread with high percentages of durum flour with a golden crust and crumb.

So, which one should you choose?

If you’re making pasta, bread, or pizza dough, durum flour is hands-down the best choice due to its high gluten content and nutty flavor. However, if you are making cakes, cookies, or other baked goods, all-purpose flour is the more versatile option.

My advice? If you’re really serious about your pizza dough, go with durum flour. Italian Tipo 00 flour is even better. But all-purpose flour will do the trick if you’re in a pinch!

Is durum flour good for baking?

Durum flour is good for baking, especially for making pasta, bread, and pizza dough, as it has a high gluten content and a nuttier flavor than all-purpose flour.

Is durum wheat the same as white flour?

No, durum wheat is a type of wheat that is used to make durum flour, which has a yellowish color and a higher protein and gluten content than white flour. White flour is made from soft or hard wheat and has a finer texture and lower protein content than durum flour.

What is the difference between durum wheat flour and all-purpose flour?

Durum flour is made from durum wheat, which is high in protein and gluten, has a coarser texture, and a nuttier flavor than all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is a blend of hard and soft wheat flours that has a finer texture and a lower gluten content, making it more versatile for different types of baking.

  • Make levain the night before (around 9 or 10pm): Add starter to the water and whisk. Then add flour, mix well with a whisk or your hands until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature (ideally 74-78F) until it doubles or, even better, triples in volume (8-10 hours).
  • Autolyse (next day, around 8 am): Add water to flour and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Dissolve salt in 20g water, and place in a shallow well in the  autolysed dough.
  • Mixing: Measure out 300g of active levain. Add to the autolysed dough and gently incorporate the salt water and levain into the dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Bulk Fermentation: Perform two sets of gentle coil folds, letting the dough rest for 30 minutes after each.
  • Perform two more sets of coil folds, letting the dough rest 1 hour after each.  It should become soft, silky, and very extensible.
  • The dough will have increased at least 50% in volume, and show clear signs of fermentation. If not, do another coil fold and let ferment another 30 minutes.
  • SHAPING:  Generously sprinkle counter top with whole wheat flour, and gently dump the dough onto the counter. Use a dough scraper to cut in half.
  • Shape each half into a loaf, as desired. For round boules, pull each of the four edges of the dough to the center, and then flip it over so the seams are on the countertop. Gently round the dough with your hands until the skin is taut.
  • PROOFING: Transfer the shaped loaves into your generously floured proofing baskets, seam side up, and let rest for at least 90 minutes, and up to 4 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. (You may also let rise overnight in the refrigerator.)
  • Preheat a Dutch oven at 500F for the last hour of the rising time. Carefully remove preheated Dutch oven and gently turn a boule into the pan seam side down.
  • Scoring:  Score in a simple X, or as you like.
  • Baking: Cover and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on. Then remove the lid, lower the temperature to 450F, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown. The internal temperature should be around 205F.
  • Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool and repeat with the second loaf.

Baking with durum flour vs coconut flour

When it comes to flavor, durum flour has a nutty note that pairs well with most savory dishes and makes a really tasty pizza dough. A lot of bread recipes call for substituting a percentage of all-purpose flour with durum wheat to change the flavor profiles and make slightly more rustic loaves. The more durum used in a loaf of bread, the more cake-like in texture the bread will be.

Durum wheat is slightly more absorbent than all-purpose flour, meaning you may need a bit more liquid in your dough. It is less absorbent than coconut flour, though, which can require significantly more wet ingredients.

What is Durum Wheat?

Durum (Latin for “hard”) is a hard wheat that’s high in protein, minerals, and vitamins (like vitamins A, B, and E). Often, you’ll use durum for pasta-making, where it’s milled into coarse semolina. But you can use durum for bread-making when it’s milled into fine flour, too.

While durum wheat is high in protein, the quality isn’t as high for bread-making. Using a high percentage of durum in a recipe will lead to bread with a tighter crumb and less volume. But what you lose in openness and volume, you gain in flavor and texture.

When using durum wheat for bread, you’ll find your bread has a:

  • Soft and tight-knit crumb
  • Unique, appealing aroma
  • Bread with a nutty, almost sweet, flavor
  • Golden crust and crumb
  • More rustic crust, sometimes with cracks

Next, let’s look at how bakers can use durum wheat to make flour suitable for bread, pizza, and more.

Finely milled durum wheat transformed into durum flour extra fancy.

At the end of the day, both durum wheat and coconut flours have unique qualities that make them stand out when cooking various dishes – When deciding between the two, look at what you are cooking. If it is bread, pasta, or pizza dough, give durum a try, even mixing it up with a little all-purpose flour in varying ratios to play with flavor, color, and texture.

For desserts, it’s the coconut for me, as I like the taste and consistency a bit more in a sweet baked good.

What is the difference between durum wheat and whole wheat?

Durum is a little harder to mill and has different properties when used in cooking. For example, durum wheat stretches better, which means it’s suitable for pasta, and whole wheat rises better, making it good for yeast breads. Both can come in refined and unrefined forms.

Scientifically speaking, all wheat is from the same genus (Triticum), but durum wheat is the species Triticum turgidum while whole wheat flour is generally made of common wheat, which is Triticum aestivum.

What type of flour is durum flour?

Durum is a high-protein, finely-textured flour that is frequently used for pasta. Because of its high gluten-forming protein content, it holds together well without a whole lot of binders, which makes it great for thin crusts as well.

Does coconut flour spike blood sugar?

Yes, coconut flour can spike blood sugar. However, because of its relatively low glycemic index (GI) score (only 45 vs all-purpose at 85), it’s a comparatively better option than all-purpose flour. If you’re looking for a super low-GI flour to avoid spiking blood sugar, try almond flour.

Using Coarse Semolina in Bread Dough

Using semolina flour in bread is possible (in fact, I use some here in my Seeed Sourdough). But you’ll get better baking results when using durum that’s very finely milled.

So my rule is: if you have semolina and want to bake a recipe calling for durum flour, go for it! But, if you’re at the market or online and see the option, buy durum flour next time for bread-making.

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