Its yellow color and coarse texture might have led you to think that it was cornmeal, but this flour is made from wheat.
If you’ve ever seen cellophane bags of semolina flour at the supermarket, its yellow color and coarse texture might have led you to think that it was cornmeal. However, this flour is made from wheat. Specifically, it’s the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat, the same variety used to make most dried Italian pasta and Moroccan couscous.
Semolina’s deep yellow color comes from high concentrations of carotenoids (the same compounds responsible for the brilliant colors of carrots, mangos, and apricots). We use semolina flour in our Thick-Crust Sicilian-Style Pizza (see related content) to give the dough a slightly sweet, rich flavor; a finer, more cake-like crumb; and an appealing buttery color.
You can find durum semolina flour in many supermarkets near the flour or specialty grains (Bob’s Red Mill durum semolina flour has a coarse texture that we like in our pizza dough) and in Italian and Indian markets.