A product can be called durum wheat semolina pasta only when it is the result of the extrusion, rolling and drying of dough made exclusively from hard wheat and water without the addition of coloring agents or preservatives. The special properties of durum wheat mean that the starch is not lost and the pasta does not overcook, ensuring a unique and authentic taste.
What are the differences between the two different types of wheat?
Soft wheat grains break easily and are used to obtain white flour that is employed in many ways according to the degree of refining: type 0, 00, type 1, type 2 and whole wheat. Soft wheat flour is generally used for making bread and bakery products because the dough obtained is relatively tough and quite extendible. Soft wheat flour contains less proteins and absorbs less humidity compared to hard wheat flour.
Hard or durum wheat grains are more difficult to break apart, they have a course texture and a yellow-amber color. From the milling of hard wheat we obtain semolina, whole wheat semolina and re-milled semolina. Compared to white flour, semolina is granular and has an intense yellow color because it contains carotenoids. It is tougher and less extendible than white flour and this is why it is suitable for the production of bread and pasta.
Nutrition Facts of durum wheat semolina
Pasta is made from only two ingredients: water and semolina, therefore the quality of the pasta depends exclusively on the quality of the durum wheat semolina. From a nutritional point of view it contains more proteins and gluten than soft wheat flour and the products made from it preserve longer, have a lower glycemic index and contain carotenoids, organic pigments that bond and eliminate antioxidants. The ability of hard wheat to retain the starch contained in it ensures perfect cooking and prevents the pasta from sticking.
In order to maintain the tradition of pasta, the Italian law imposes to use durum wheat semolina for the production of dry pasta (Law n.580 of 1967 and amendments). However, the recent authorization to sell pasta made from soft or mixed wheat has led to the introduction of low quality pasta brands in our supermarkets that do not respect the ancient art and offer a product with organoleptic characteristics that are not comparable to real Italian pasta.
How is Fabianelli’s durum wheat semolina pasta produced?
Since 150 years, Pastificio Fabianelli uses only semolina coming from prime quality durum wheat, free from impurities and with tenacious gluten. Once it reaches the production site the semolina is subject to strict controls and is stored in special silos. During the kneading phase it is mixed with 20-30% of water and creates a net of gluten that enfolds the starch keeping it from dissipating in the water during cooking. Once it has reached the optimal consistency and plasticity the dough is extruded by means of teflon or bronze dies especially designed to calibrate the thickness and obtain the desired pasta shapes.
The subsequent drying phase is the most delicate and Fabianelli chooses to adopt the slow method with moderate temperatures so that the quality of the finished product is not compromised. The initial part of this process involves the surface layers of the pasta that begin to harden and to lose one third of the total humidity content, after which, the definite drying phase is carried out in special ovens. The pasta is then brought back to room temperature and carried towards the packaging phase by means of conveying belts where automatic machines pack the product in boxes and transparent bags ready to reach the stores all over the world.
This is why durum wheat semolina pasta is different…..beware of imitations!