What is Semolina?

What is Semolina?

Semolina is a course, pale yellow flour that is made from “durum” wheat. Durum wheat is the hardest species of wheat, meaning it is has a high protein and gluten content and is highly resistant to milling. The milling process of durum wheat results in coarse wheat middlings, known as semolina flour.

What Does Semolina Flour Taste Like?

Semolina flour has a slightly nutty, sweet taste and a coarse texture that is similar to cornmeal.

Durum vs Semolina

A bi-product of the milling process to create semolina is durum flour, an even finer flour. Durum flour may be milled multiple times once separated from the coarse wheat middlings (semolina). Durum flour is quite fine and resembles more traditional baking flour, whereas semolina flour is much coarser. However, both flours still have high gluten and protein contents. Both semolina flour and durum flour are used to make pastas and bread, though durum flour maybe be used more often for bread-making.

What to Use as a Semolina Flour Substitute

Semolina Flour Subsitute

Below is a list of different types of flours that can be used to substitute semolina flour. Several of the below options are gluten-free to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions and preferences.

  • Durum flour – best for pasta, noodles, couscous, and breads
  • All-Purpose Flour – best for pancakes, cookies, waffles, and other fluffy baked goods; pasta will be softer
  • Spelt Flour – best for bread, cookies, muffins, and waffles
  • Kamut Flour – best for bread, muffins, and scones
  • Rice flour – best for pasta, noodles, and to thicken soups and stews; also good in delicate food products like cakes and pastries; is gluten-free
  • Amaranth Flour – best for pasta, baking, and as a thickener; is gluten-free
  • Quinoa Flour – best for pastas and baked food items, like cookies; is gluten-free
  • Garbanzo Flour – best for pasta or bakery products; is gluten-free
  • Corn Semolina – best to emulate the texture of semolina; dish will taste like corn; is gluten-free

You can always combine different types of flours to find the right flavor and texture of your preference.

Semolina Flour Uses

Semolina Flour Uses

Semolina is used to make a variety of different types of dishes. The high protein and gluten content of semolina flour means it is uniquely ideal for pasta-making, as these properties help to shape the pasta and maintain its shape when cooked. Semolina flour can also add a crispy crunch to pizzas and bread and yields dense, grainy, and nutty desserts. Below are some common uses for semolina flour.

  • Sooji upma, a thick porridge and traditional Indian breakfast dish
  • Semolina cake, like namoura, basbousa, and harisseh
  • Semolina pudding or hot cereal: semolina simmered in milk or water with sugar and toppings of choice
  • Pasta, such as Italian varieties
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur
  • Gnocchi
  • Coated on a baking surface to prevent sticking
  • Sprinkled on potatoes for extra crunch
  • Coated on fish before pan frying for a crispy coating
  • Added to bread dough for crusty, tasty texture and crust

Semolina flour adds a unique flavor, dense structure, or coarse texture to baked goods, pizza, pasta, bread, and much more.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Hannah Herrera

What is Fondant Icing?

You may have seen fondant-covered cakes on popular baking shows or at weddings you've attended. If used properly, fondant gives cakes a smooth, seamless covering that makes the perfect blank canvas for further decoration. While similar in purpose to buttercream and traditional European marzipan, fondant has little flavor and may even be removed from baked goods before eating. Below, we explain what fondant icing is, what it's made out of, and what else it's used for.

>>> Shop All Fondant

What is Fondant?

Fondant is an icing that is used to coat cakes and other baked goods. Typically, it is rolled into thin sheets and then draped over the cake’s surface in order to create a smooth presentation. This coating is prized for its ability to withstand temperature changes better than buttercream and also for the blank canvas it creates when it comes to decoration.

Fondant can also be sculpted to create three-dimensional decorations. Sometimes it is used with molds or rolled to make flowers. Plus, fondant comes in several colors and flavors, and plain fondant can easily be customized with food coloring and flavoring. As a result, many bakers choose this icing for its versatility.

what is poured fondant

What is Poured Fondant?

Poured fondant is a liquid icing that is poured over baked goods to give them a smooth finish. It is made similarly to rolled fondant, but it contains a higher ratio of liquid in order to thin it out. After pouring, it requires time to dry and set to prevent smudging. This type of fondant can also be thickened and used to fill candies and pastries. Many chocolatiers use flavored fondants to fill their chocolates, and you may also find it inside eclairs as an alternative to pastry cream.

What is in Fondant?

Fondant is made of sugar, water, and corn syrup. More structured fondant for sculpting usually contains gelatin as well. Some bakers also choose to use marshmallow fondant on their cakes, which is made from melted marshmallows, powdered sugar, and water.

Is Fondant Edible?

Yes, fondant is 100% edible. In the media, you will sometimes see fondant being removed from a baked good before it is eaten, but this is simply because some people don’t like the flavor or texture of this icing.

chocolate fondant

What is Fondant Cake?

Sometimes, the term “fondant” is used to refer to certain types of baked goods themselves. Especially in the UK and France, the term “fondant” can be associated with a type of chocolate cake that is molten in the middle, like what Americans call chocolate lava cakes. Fondant fancies, or small cakes that are coated in poured fondant, are also popular in parts of Europe. In the US, though, “fondant cake” generally denotes a cake that has been coated in fondant rather than buttercream or another icing.

If you want your cakes to have a seamless and professional look, fondant is a great finishing touch. This sugar, water, and corn syrup mixture can be manipulated into three-dimensional shapes and even thinned to a liquid for dipping and pouring. Overall, this versatile coating allows bakers to express a lot of creativity with their confections.

Posted in: Bakeries | By Christine Potts

How To Manage Customer Reviews for Your Restaurant

In the era of consumer-generated content, restaurant owners can’t afford to ignore online reviews. Online reviews of restaurants and referrals are what can bring customers into your business or turn them away from dining with you. Learn more about how to get customers to keep coming back, leaving more reviews, and how to handle what customers are saying about your restaurant on the internet.

Getting Customer Reviews

Getting Customer Reviews

Customer reviews greatly impact whether customers who found your business online will come to your restaurant or not. If you recently realized this, you might be wondering how a restaurant gets customers to give good reviews. Make a habit of chatting with diners each shift, ask them how the meal was and simply tack on, “well, if you loved your meal, we’d appreciate a review on Yelp/Google/Facebook!” This will help generate reviews on your platforms and come across more genuine.

How to Encourage Positive Reviews

Good online reviews for your business is what will bring new customers through your doors, but how do you get existing customers to speak highly of your service for the rest of the world to see? One tip is to create little signs and place them at the center of your tables. This will help get your request in front of all of the eyes of your visiting patrons. Be careful not to offer incentives on your signs. True customers will write a review out of the goodness of their heart and a love for your business without any benefits.

Additionally, if you have an email marketing list, you can also send an email to your subscribers asking for a review. Link to your restaurant’s review pages and social platforms to make it easier for anyone to access.

Stay on Top of Review Channels

Now that more of your customers are leaving reviews on your Yelp profile or Google My Business listing, you have to make sure you are able to keep up with responding to them. You probably assume Yelp is the #1 destination for reviews, but don’t overlook Facebook, OpenTable, and Google. If you set up a business profile, you can be notified whenever there is a new review.

But if that’s not possible, make a point of checking all review pages regularly so you can respond to your customers in a timely manner. Do the same with your social media channels, since people often come to those platforms to read comments from other customers.

Respond Promptly and Appropriately to Customer Reviews

Every review someone leaves your restaurant, whether it’s positive or negative, provides you with an opportunity to interact with that customer. It also allows you to leave an impression on others who read the review and your response.

As soon as you see a new review, respond as soon as possible. Social platforms, like Facebook, actually track your comment or message response time to give users a heads up on how soon you are likely to respond to their inquiry. You can even create a Google Alert for your restaurant name so you can be notified when there are new mentions of your brand on the internet. This will help you keep track of your business’s reviews a lot easier.

When responding to a customer comment or review, thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave feedback. Showing your appreciation tells that customer (and others) that you genuinely care about the customer experience. If the customer mentioned an issue or had a complaint, handle it carefully.

Handling Negative Reviews

Handline Negative Reviews

It’s easy to get defensive when someone seems to be criticizing your restaurant, but sending a hotheaded reply will only damage your brand’s reputation further. Instead, take some time to sit on the feedback before you make your next move. In running any kind of business, you have to accept that you won’t be able to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time. You may have days where you or your staff just aren’t up to your usual stellar performance. There will always be customers who want to be unhappy and complain about your business.

The key is to not take a negative review to heart. No matter how it was packaged, this feedback was designed to help you improve your business for future customers. If someone complained about a rude server, speak directly with that employee to ensure he understands what is expected of him in terms of interacting with customers. If you keep getting complaints about him, maybe it’s time to consider letting him go.

Once you’re able to respond from a place of calm, reply to the review. Start by apologizing for the customer’s experience. Then work to remedy the situation. You could offer a free meal or a gift card so that the reviewer can have a better experience with your restaurant. If you can, plan the visit so you can personally introduce yourself and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Making Changes to Your Business Based on Reviews

You want your restaurant to be a well oiled machine, but not every restaurant is perfect. Your customers will be the first to point out something they don’t like. For example, if you consistently get feedback that your prices are too high, consider lowering prices a little. If you’re getting a lot of complaints of menu items being unavailable, make sure your POS and inventory management software alerts you when you’re getting low on ingredients so you can reorder the ingredients before you run out of everyone’s favorite tomato bisque. Making changes like these are important and future customers will notice.

Use these tips to generate more customer reviews, respond in a timely manner, and respond appropriately. Your existing and new customers will appreciate the lengths you go to in order to keep them happy. Learn more about how you can make your restaurant stand out online.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing | Management & Operation | By WebstaurantStore

Best Summer Beers 2019

At the first sign of warmer weather, preferences in beer styles start to lean towards lighter, crisper beers with lower alcohol content. An industry term used to describe the perfect summertime beer is crushable, which means that a beer is easy to drink and the ABV is low enough that you don't have to feel bad for having seconds or thirds. Most of all, the ideal summer beer should be well-balanced and thirst-quenching. We've made a list of some of the best summer beers to serve at beer festivals, outdoor weddings, and barbecues this season:

Shandies or Radlers

Golden hued beer with a frothy head in a beer glass

Both of these beer cocktails are made by blending a blonde lager with either juice or soda. The result is a citrusy, flavored beer with a low alcohol content. Ginger beer, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or grapefruit juice can all be used to create a refreshing, sessionable beverage that's easy to drink on a hot summer's day.

Give These a Try:

  • Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler (Kansas City, MO), 4.1% ABV
  • UFO Big Squeeze (Boston, MA), 4.5% ABV
  • Victory Brewing Company Cage Radler (Downingtown, PA), 3% ABV
  • Leinenkugel Grapefruit Shandy (Chippewa Falls, WI), 4.2% ABV


When the first saisons were brewed in Belgium, they were made with local, seasonal ingredients that were available in the winter months. Then they were stored until the seasons changed and given to field workers, known as saisoniers, to quench their thirst as they worked under the summer sun. This style of beer has a lot of variation but the key characteristics are that it is highly carbonated and often fruity or spicy.

Give These a Try:

  • Ommegang Brewery Hennepin (Cooperstown, NY), 7.7% ABV
  • Funkwerks Saison (Fort Collins, Colorado), 6.8% ABV
  • Boulevard Brewing Co. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (Kansas City, MO), 8.5% ABV
  • Side Project Brewing Framboise Du Fermier (St. Louis, MO), 8% ABV


Four hands clinking beer bottles together for a cheers

Gose, pronounced goes-uh, is a German sour wheat beer with added salt and coriander. These beers are tart, crisp, and often have notes of lemon or grapefruit. The saltiness shouldn't overpower the flavor but instead complement the sour quality of the beer. Low ABV and the minimal presence of hops make sour beers highly drinkable and refreshing.

Give These a Try:

  • Lost Nation Brewing Gose (Morrisville, VT), 4.8% ABV
  • Duclaw Brewing Company Gose O’s (Baltimore, MD), 5.5% ABV
  • Westbrook Brewing Company Lemon Cucumber Gose (Mt Pleasant, SC), 4% ABV
  • Dogfish Head Brewery SeaQuench Ale (Rehoboth, DE), 4.9% ABV

Milkshake IPAs

Milkshake IPAs are getting their time in the sun. A type of New England IPA, this beer style contains lactose or milk sugar, which gives it a creamy mouthfeel. It might also contain fruit, oats, and vanilla to enhance the flavor and texture. You'll find milkshake IPAs in flavors that sound like they belong in an ice cream shop, like strawberry, peach, and mango.

Give These a Try:

  • Westbrook Brewing Company Pineapple Shake IPA (Mt Pleasant, SC), 7% ABV
  • Odell Brewing Co. Cloud Catcher (Fort Collins, CO), 6.8% ABV
  • Full Sail Brewing Company Malted Milkshake Style IPA (Hood River, OR), 6.8% ABV
  • Weldwerks Brewing Company Pina Colada Milkshake (Greeley, CO), 8% ABV

Kolsch Beers

Kolsch-style beers are brewed with a unique process that was developed in Cologne, Germany in the 17th century. The brewing style combines elements of ales and lagers, which allowed the Kolsch beer to be stored without becoming sour. Traditionally, the proper beer glass for serving Kolsch beer is the stange glass, a narrow, straight-sided glass. This glass encourages the drinker to enjoy the highly carbonated beer quickly and in small servings. The mouthfeel of Kolsch is light and crisp, while the flavor balances sweetness with notes of bitterness.

Give These a Try:

  • Huss Brewing Company Koffee Kolsch (Tempe, AZ), 4.75% ABV
  • Mother Earth Endless River (Kinston, NC), 4.96% ABV
  • COAST Brew Company 32°/50° Kolsch (Charleston, SC), 4.8% ABV
  • New Belgium Passion Fruit Kolsch (Fort Collins, CO), 4.3% ABV

Session IPAs

The history of session beers goes back to England during WW1, when factory workers were allotted two drinking sessions per workday. While it's not recommended to drink on the job today, the session beer was created out of a necessity for a beer with low alcohol content that wouldn't impede the ability to operate machinery. The current criteria for a session beer is an ABV of around 3 to 4 percent, though some will reach closer to 5 percent. Session IPAs combine the fruity, hoppy flavor of an India pale ale with a low ABV that makes them a perfect choice for a drinking session at a summer barbecue.

Give These a Try:

  • Lagunitas Daytime Session IPA (Petaluma, CA), 4% ABV
  • Golden Road Brewing Company Wolf Pup Session IPA (Los Angeles, CA), 4.5% ABV
  • Oskar Blues Brewery Pinner Throwback IPA (Longmont, CO), 4.9% ABV
  • 21st Amendment Brewery Down To Earth Session IPA (San Francisco, CA), 4.4% ABV


Pilsner glass overflowing with frothy beer

Pilsners are the quintessential summer beer. In addition to being light and refreshing, they also pair well with a lot of summer foods. High carbonation, a delicate aroma, and a dry finish make pilsners one of the most popular beer styles in the world. On a humid day, a crisp pilsner is the perfect beer to keep you cool.

Give These a Try:

  • Deschutes Brewery Da Shootz Pilsner (Bend, OR), 4% ABV
  • Peak Organic Brewing Company Fresh Cut Pilsner (Portland, ME), 4.6% ABV
  • The Post Brewing Company Howdy Beer Western Pilsner (Boulder, CO), 4.5% ABV
  • Ardent Craft Ales Pilsner (Richmond, VA), 5% ABV

Wheat Beers

Wheat beers encompass a few different styles, including hefeweizen and Belgian witbier, but all feature low bitterness and the increased presence of fruity esters. Aromas like bananas, clove, or bubblegum are common. These beers are light, effervescent, and have a light, tart finish. The delicate flavor of wheat beers pairs well with summer foods like seafood, salads, and dishes flavored with citrus.

Give These a Try:

  • Revolution Brewing Sun Crusher Hoppy Wheat Ale (Chicago, IL), 5.3% ABV
  • Three Floyds Brewing Company Gumballhead (Munster, IN), 5.6% ABV
  • Oskar Blues Brewery Priscilla Wit (Longmont, CO), 5.2% ABV
  • Allagash Brewing Company White Belgian-Style Wheat Beer (Portland, ME), 5.3% ABV

With such a wide selection of beer styles to choose from, your summer tap list will be filled with drinkable, thirst-quenching beers that will keep your customers cool and refreshed. Try serving these crisp, sessionable beers at outdoor weddings, barbecues, and picnics.

Posted in: Bars & Breweries | By Michale Ferguson
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