AskDefine | Define durum

Dictionary Definition

durum n : wheat with hard dark-colored kernels high in gluten and used for bread and pasta; grown especially in southern Russia, North Africa, and northern central North America [syn: durum wheat, hard wheat, Triticum durum, Triticum turgidum, macaroni wheat]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A hard variety of wheat, Triticum turgidum or Triticum durum, whose flour is used to make pasta and bread





Extensive Definition

Durum wheat or macaroni wheat (also spelled Durhum;Triticum durum or Triticum turgidum durum) is the only tetraploid species of wheat of commercial importance that is widely cultivated today. It was developed by artificial selection of the domesticated emmer wheat strains formerly grown in Central Europe and Near East around 7000 B.C., which developed a naked, free-threshing form. Durum in Latin means "hard", and the species is the hardest of all wheats. Its high protein and gluten content, as well as its strength, make durum good for special uses.


Durum wheat is a tetraploid wheat, having twenty-eight chromosomes; unlike hard red winter and hard red spring wheats which are hexaploid and have forty-two chromosomes each.
With the rise of Islam, the crop diffused rapidly throughout the Middle East, the Maghreb of North Africa, and Muslim Spain. In some parts of the Muslim Mediterranean, durum was the only wheat grown. New varieties appeared in the Maghreb, Yemen and Central Asia. Durum was amongst the agricultural products that were exported from the Muslim world to the West.
Several medieval Muslim authors referred to the grain, noting it for its durability:
After the Mongol invasions, many Persian and Turkic recipes from the Muslim world were adapted in Chinese cuisine, some of which included durum as an ingredient. An example is the paste of gullach, today produced from beans, which was originally made from durum.
In the United States, records indicate that durum wheat was grown in Montana as far back as 1841 and in South Dakota by the 1890s.


Husked but unground, or coarsely ground, it is used for semoules in the cous-cous of North Africa, and other parts of the Arab world. It is also used for Levantine dishes such as tabbula, kishk, kibba, bitfun and the burghul for pilafs. In Arab cuisine it forms the basis of many soups, gruels, stuffings, puddings and pastries. Durum is one of the most important food crops in West Asia. Although the variety of the wheat there is diverse, it is not extensively grown there, and thus must be imported. Durum is grown widely in the northeastern regions,
In the Middle East and North Africa, local bread-making accounts for half the consumption of durum. Some flour is even imported. On the other hand, many countries in Europe produce durum in commercially significant quantities.
To produce bread, durum wheat is ground into flour. The flour is mixed with water to produce dough. The quantities mixed vary, depending on the acidity of the mixture. The dough is fermented for hours and then mixed with yeast and lukewarm water. The quality of the bread produced depends on viscoelastic properties of gluten, protein content and protein composition.



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External links

durum in Danish: Durum-Hvede
durum in German: Hartweizen
durum in Spanish: Triticum durum
durum in Esperanto: Durum-tritiko
durum in French: Blé dur
durum in Italian: Triticum durum
durum in Hebrew: דורום
durum in Georgian: მაგარი ხორბალი
durum in Dutch: Durum (tarwe)
durum in Polish: Pszenica twarda
durum in Slovenian: Trda pšenica
durum in Swedish: Durumvete
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