When you’re making a pizza, there’s nothing worse than having your perfect creation ruined at the last minute when the dough gets stuck to your tray, peel, or pizza stone. Have you tried dusting pizza dough with semolina?
Dusting pizza dough with semolina is the traditional way to prevent the pizza from sticking to the baking surface, or to a pizza peel. It is a coarse flour that can handle high temperatures, and it doesn’t add much flavor of its own. There are alternatives that you can use, but semolina is often the best choice.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about why you might want to try dusting pizza dough with semolina, as well as the alternative ways that you can make sure your delicious dough doesn’t end up a sticky mess.
Why Do You Dust Pizza Dough with Semolina?
If you’ve not really heard of this technique before, it can be pretty revolutionary for the home pizza baker. It’s all about avoiding every cook’s worst nightmare: having your food stuck to the tray.
When you’re making a pizza, you spend a lot of time carefully stretching and thinning out the dough, then arranging all of your toppings, so it can be very frustrating for it to just fall apart when you try and move it. Have you ever wondered how chefs can throw their pizzas into and out of the oven without any trouble? That’s the magic of semolina.
Dusting your surfaces, like a tray or even a pizza stone, is standard practice when you are making anything with dough, but you need something a bit more specialized for a sticky pizza dough that is going to be cooked at high temperatures.
Semolina is the traditional choice for dusting a pizza peel, stone, or baking tray, as it creates the perfect barrier between the dough and the surface – to stop it from getting stuck.
What Is Semolina?
You might be wondering, what even is semolina in the first place? Well, semolina is a special type of flour that is made from durum wheat, rather than the more common wheat that is used to make regular, plain flour.
It is much more coarse than other flour types, with a consistency that is similar to fine sand. If you rub semolina between your fingers, you can actually feel the separate granules.
When you use it for dusting pizza dough, the little granules act almost like ball bearings – separating the dough from the surface that you’re baking it on, or moving it with, so that it doesn’t have a chance to get stuck.
Why Should You Use Semolina for Dusting Pizza Dough?
So, why is it that semolina has become the gold standard for dusting with pizza dough? Well, it simply has all of the ideal properties that you want when you’re looking for something to keep your pizza from sticking.
Semolina flour is just the right level of coarseness to allow your dough to easily slide away from the surface, and it has a very neutral flavor.
It is also able to handle really high heat, which is the best way to get a perfectly crisp pizza. If you’re cooking on a pizza stone, for example, you might be heating it from around 500°F all the way up to 900°F. Most other flours will burn at those temperatures.
How Do You Use Semolina for Dusting Pizza Dough?
So, if you’re convinced and you’re ready to give semolina a try, you will want to know how to go about it in the right way. Fortunately, it’s a very simple process, though there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Dust the surface, not the dough. You don’t really want to work the semolina into your pizza dough – instead, you want it to form a layer between the dough and the surface.
- Don’t overdo it. Semolina doesn’t add much in the way of flavor, but too much of it can create a very grainy texture on the bottom of your pizza.
- Don’t forget your pizza peel. If you’re going to transfer your pizza from one surface to another, like from a peel to a stone, don’t forget to dust each step! There’s no point perfectly dusting your pizza stone just to have the dough stick to your peel.
What Alternatives to Semolina Can You Use?
Of course, you don’t have to go with semolina for this job. There are other options for keeping your dough sliding around like an ice skater.
Many people use cornmeal as an alternative to semolina, although it does have more flavor to it, and it doesn’t handle the heat as well. It is still nice and coarse, but it can burn when the surface gets really hot. Some chefs also use regular flour, but you have to work quickly to stop it from getting absorbed into the dough and ending up stuck anyway.
Oiling your pan can work too, though it will make the end result a little greasy and you won’t get the crispy bite that you really want.
You can also adjust the way that you are making and cooking your dough to reduce how much it is sticking. A really hot pizza stone should allow the dough to crisp up quickly without getting stuck, or you might find that your dough is simply too sticky in the first place, or hasn’t been kneaded enough.
Is Semolina Good for You?
Of course, the semolina is going to attach itself to the bottom of your pizza, so you’re going to be eating it as well. It might do a great job of keeping your pizza from sticking, but is it good for you?
Actually, semolina is very good for you, and it has many health benefits. It’s a really great alternative flour option, even though you will only be eating a tiny amount when you’re using it as a dusting for your pizza dough. Semolina flour is:
- Rich in protein: You can get a lot of protein from eating semolina flour, which is great for people who are avoiding meat.
- Rich in iron: Iron is a vital part of our blood and if you are not taking in enough of it, you can become tired or even anemic.
- Low glycemic index: Compared to regular wheat, semolina has a lower glycemic index, which means that it doesn’t get digested into blood sugar as quickly in the body.
- High in folic acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent neural problems, and it’s really important for pregnant women to ensure that their babies develop healthily.
So, if you’re buying a big bag of semolina to dust your pizza dough with, you might want to think about using it for other things as well!
Can You Cook with Semolina?
Don’t just think of semolina as a kitchen tool, like parchment paper – think of it as an extra ingredient! There are many different things that you can make using semolina flour, and it is a delicious and healthy alternative to regular flour.
Most often, semolina is used to make pasta or couscous, but it is also great for many other things besides. You can use it in place of plain flour in almost any recipe, although it does have a slightly different taste and a coarser texture.
Some of the best recipes to make with semolina are:
- Pasta: Semolina flour is the perfect option for making pasta from scratch as it has a high gluten content, so it makes an elastic dough that is less sticky.
- Bread: Many different types of bread can be made with semolina. It tends to absorb more water so it works very well for a higher hydration loaf.
- Cakes and puddings: There are hundreds of different dessert recipes that use semolina to create a really wonderful texture.
- Pizza: Not only can you use semolina to dust your surfaces, but you can also use it for creating the dough itself! A semolina pizza tends to have a bit of a stronger chew to it, that you can really sink your teeth into.
Summary: Dusting Pizza Dough with Semolina
So, should you be dusting pizza dough with semolina? Yes. It is definitely one of the best ways to prevent your pizza from sticking to your baking trays, pizza peels, or pizza stones.
Semolina is the traditional dusting option because it doesn’t add much flavor, it is the right coarseness to create an ideal non-stick barrier, and it can handle the kind of heat that you want for baking the perfect pizza.
If you want your pizza to be able to fly straight off your peel and into the oven without losing its shape– dusting with semolina may be the way to go.
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