Semolina flour is the most popular type of flour for making pasta. It is yellow due to the carotenoids it contains and rich in protein. Semolina flour holds its shape well, which is why pasta made with it does not fall apart when exposed to boiling water. While you won’t find any flours with all of the same properties, it’s not too difficult to find ones that have some of the important ones. If you’re looking for a semolina substitute, try one of these:
Your best bet: Khorasan flour
Often sold under the brand name Kamut, Khorasan flour is milled from a type of wheat first used in Ancient Egypt. It has a similar nutty flavor as semolina and is often recommended as one of the best semolina substitutes because of its high protein content. It is a good source of other nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Another reason it is considered a good semolina substitute is that its gluten is not as difficult to digest as the gluten from semolina. It is a good substitute for semolina in pasta and baked goods.
A decent second choice: All-purpose flour
While semolina flour consists entirely of hard wheat, all-purpose flour is made from a combination of hard and soft kinds of wheat. The blend balances out the protein level so that you get a flour that you can use for applications where you want chewiness and others where you want softness. More protein makes baked goods chewier while less of it makes them softer.
All-purpose flour is a versatile blend that you can use to get either result. All-purpose flour doesn’t have enough protein to provide the same firm texture that you would get from semolina flour but it has enough that you can something close to it. It will give you a fine pasta that has much of what you want from semolina pasta and will work for baking as well.
Arguably, the main advantage of all-purpose flour is that it is easy to find and relatively inexpensive, unlike other substitutes.
In a pinch: Spelt flour
Spelt is another grain that belongs to the wheat family. It has been widely used for centuries in Europe and the Middle East. It looks a lot like wheat but has a few significant differences such as the fact that its outer shell is much harder than that of wheat, even the durum wheat used to make semolina flour.
Spelt is nutritious and has a higher protein content than wheat flours like semolina flour. Spelt flour has a nutty flavor that is similar to the flavor that you get from semolina flour and it contains gluten, which makes it useful for making pasta and some baked goods.
Spelt flour has the benefit of being relatively easy to digest. It has a downside in that it has less dietary fiber than wheat flours.
Flour made from spelt has recently become popular among people who cannot eat wheat; however, it is not a good option for people with celiac disease since it does contain gluten.
In Italy, 00 is the classification for the finest flour. You can use 00 flour as a semolina flour substitute. Like semolina, 00 flour is full of protein and makes great pasta. This fine flour is perfect for making pasta silky and smooth.