Thursday, March 16, 2017

Durum Wheat: What Is It and How Do I Use It?

When I was a beginning cook, spaghetti was one of my fallback meals.  I happily ate it two or three times a week.  The one thing that worried me about it, though, was that I might inadvertently buy the “wrong” kind of pasta.

I’d read somewhere that pasta made from durum wheat was the proper product to buy.  So every time I had to restock my pasta supply, I would spend 15 minutes in the grocery aisle carefully choosing packages labeled “durum wheat.”  I wasn’t quite sure what would happen if I bought a non-durum wheat product.  Would the pasta taste horrible?  Be super-sticky?  Dissolve in boiling water? 

This was one of my “terror-in-the-kitchen” worries.  Others included buying the wrong size egg and leaving out an important ingredient in a recipe.  Back then, I believed in following cooking rules, even if I weren’t fully convinced they were correct.

Now that I know a lot more about cooking, I wonder why I was so terrified of making a mistake.  These days if a recipe bombs, I’ll just cook an omelet or some pasta—which gets me back to durum wheat.  

Durum wheat is hard wheat (as opposed to soft wheat). Pasta made with it will hold its shape when cooked.  Sometimes ground durum wheat is used in bread flour.  Regular white flour, which is made of soft wheat, is used to make cookies, cakes and other desserts. 

For easy recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"