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Background: I would like to cook baghrir. There are many recipes, all very similar: put fine semolina, warm water, yeast, sugar, salt in a blender and blend it for a few minutes, in the end it should have a liquid consistency. I tried it once but it was a disaster, I figure the problem is that it wasn't liquid at all, but very thick and sticky. It didn't have many bubbles and stuck to the greased pan badly.

Semolina, according to Wikipedia, is coarse by definition. So the first problem is that fine semolina sounds like an oxymoron to me, a finer version of it would be flour basically. I can only buy one type of it anyway (here in Switzerland), here's a close up photo: https://i.stack.imgur.com/3sQwG.jpg . Looks quite coarse to me. Also I don't think my blender has any effect. Here's a photo of it: https://i.stack.imgur.com/y7U78.jpg . I know it says chopper, but it has sharp blades that rotate so I figured it should work. I saw a video that suggested that blending coarse semolina should give you fine semolina. So I tried grinding raw semolina for a few minutes and the result looked exactly the same, I couldn't tell it from the original.

So the recipes suggest fine semolina, blended even finer, and I have coarse one and unable to blend further. Do you think this issue could cause my batter to behave badly? Any suggestion to fix this?

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    "thick and sticky" would suggest not enough water rather than 'wrong semolina' Semolina, by definition, is made from durum wheat. Check that's what you have. – Tetsujin Apr 19 at 16:52
  • I don't know about the quantity, I was just following the recipe, the quantities are usually the same in multiple recipes. My package shows Hartweizengriess, definitely durum. – fejesjoco Apr 20 at 8:21
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Three things:

  1. "Semolina" refers to meal or flour made from durum wheat using particular grinding methods. It is available in coarse, medium, and fine, the last of which is almost as fine as regular wheat flour. However, since a medium grind is used for making pasta, that's frequently all you can find in stores, both in the US and Europe.
  2. Bagrir apparently requires fine semolina, and likely will not easily work with medium or coarse, because the batter will not homogenize well using coarser grains (I base this on my experience with similar South Indian pancakes). I suspect that an expert Moroccan chef could make medium grind work, but not someone making them for the first time.
  3. A regular blender will not grind coarse semolina into fine. For this, you need a food grinder, grain mill, or at least a high-powered blender like a Vitamix (and then you need to follow the special instructions for grinding in it).

Conclusion: maybe wait until the craziness is over and you can buy fine semolina online again. Alternately, if you have an Indian market in your area, you can look for "fine Sooji", which is the same thing.

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  • Thanks, that answers all my questions! I'm a bit disappointed that this is not highlighted in the recipes. Also I'll miss the texture of coarse semolina, looks like it might end up more like normal pancake in the end. – fejesjoco Apr 20 at 8:20
  • I've run across the "fine semolina" problem before, which is why I answered this. Even more confusingly, some American writers will say "fine semolina" when they actually mean medium (pasta grade), or even meaning cream of wheat. – FuzzyChef Apr 20 at 18:14
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I never have made baghrir, so I can't guarantee that this will work. But if your problem is indeed only particle size, I would suggest that you just buy your raw material ("semolina") from a specialized provider online. If there are none in Switzerland, I suppose that German mills may ship to you.

My suggestion would be to try buying Weizendunst. This is a grade of milling that is finer than Grieß (which is the typical translation for "semolina") but coarser than flour. This will give you a particle size that is smaller than what you can buy in the supermarket. Seeing that this kind of dish was likely traditionally prepared with home milled semolina anyway, you are unlikely to need something very exact in milling size. If that's too difficult for you, just try flour - Spätzlemehl might work better there, since it's coarser than baking flour.

The durum vs. soft wheat difference might be more important. I frankly don't know if original baghrir are made with durum or wheat flour, the term "semolina" is a bit unfortunate in English because it sometimes refers to the milling grade only, sometimes to durum flour only, and sometimes requires a combination of the right milling grade and durum wheat. If nobody else tells you which wheat is meant, you might want to get one pack of both kinds and see which turns out closer to the original.

The "didn't have many bubbles" and "stuck to the greased pan" parts don't sound like a problem with the flour size though, more like the wrong temperature. Make sure that the temperature is hot enough, that you have enough oil - not just brushing a bit of fat on the pan, use enough oil and if needed add after every pancake - and be prepared to sacrifice the first one or two pieces, they are always worse in any style of pancake.


To address the exact question in the title, "fine semolina" is not an oxymoron at all, there are just many milling grades for flour and semolina. The German Wikipedia defines them as:

  • coarse semolina: 600-1000 µm
  • medium semolina: 475-600 µm
  • fine semolina: 300-475 µm
  • Dunst: 150-300 µm (no idea what the English term is, likely they either label it as flour or as semolina, not recognizing a middle type)
  • flour: less than 150 µm

And above coarse semolina, you have other grades like bulgur and broken wheat.

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