Why Semolina Flour Is Preferred For Eggless Pasta Dough

So long, boxed spaghetti. Making your own fresh pasta is a deceivingly simple endeavor. You start with a base of flour and add some combination of wet ingredients, whether water, oil, or egg. Gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid, and soon enough, you'll have a nicely kneaded ball of dough. From there, you can roll, flatten, and slice your preferred shape of pasta. 

However, homemade pasta — just like the store-bought stuff — leaves ample room for both variations and substitutions. If you're vegan or simply want to make lighter pasta, eggs are a no-go in do-it-yourself recipes. Typically, pasta doughs with eggs utilize 00 flour: a super fine Italian flour likewise used in pizza doughs. 

However, if you're making eggless pasta, switch to semolina flour instead. You may recognize the name "semolina" from seeded semolina bread. Or, it may sound entirely unfamiliar. Either way, semolina flour presents a surefire way to make eggless pasta. The reason for semolina's success? Well, pasta itself may not be considered a protein — but the protein content of semolina flour primes your dough for success. 

The high protein in semolina flour creates a stable, bound dough

The merit of semolina flour comes down to its protein composition. At its most basic definition, semolina flour is a golden flour made of durum wheat that comes coarser than standard all-purpose flour. Semolina actually boasts the highest gluten level of any durum wheat and likewise has a high-protein content. 

Such a composition is critical for making eggless pasta. Case in point: In egg-based pastas, the egg acts as a binder for the pasta dough and helps the mixture come together. Semolina flour, however, already has a decent amount of protein and gluten. So, it acts as a binder in pasta dough, no eggs necessary. Bob's Red Mill recommends using water in lieu of eggs at a ratio of 2/3 cup of water for every two eggs. You may have to experiment with your wet and dry ingredients, but you'll have a successful semolina pasta in no time.  

Granted, kneading an eggless pasta often requires a little more grunt work. However, if you trust in the power of semolina flour, the dough will come together with time. You can make your eggless pasta with just semolina flour or incorporate some 00 flour in addition. Once you get your dough bound and uniform, all you're left to decide is the shape of your pasta and the best sauce to pair it with.