Digestive Biscuits

These were made for last weekend’s Flour Sale at Green Acres Farm, Kemberton. They grow and mill organic wheat on the farm and sell it at the farm gate on pre-arranged days. This weekend the weather was glorious and the farmer, Mark, led a farm walk explain his agro-ecological approach to organic farming. These biscuits were enjoyed afterwards with a cup of tea and were well received.

digestive biscuit

I especially wanted to make these biscuits as I have used a high proportion of semolina in the ingredients. When the grain is milled and sifted on the farm’s stone mill, it is graded into fine sifted flour, semolina and bran. The semolina is the larger pieces of endosperm (the white part inside the grain, take a look at this article to learn more about wheat grain composition) that pass through the stones. They are included in wholemeal flour, but are sifted out of the white flour. This semolina is potentially a valuable food product if we can find uses for it. I use it to dust my proving baskets, flour the surface when shaping my breads, add in to bread doughs to add texture and add to delicious biscuits such as this digestive. This semolina is different from the semolina we can buy. The semolina in the shops is made from durum wheat which is an exceptionally hard wheat with a high protein level. It can be used in place of the semolina in this recipe but a more suitable alternative might be oatmeal or wheat germ.


170g wholemeal flour
170g semolina from a stone mill or oatmeal or wheat germ (see note above)
Half teaspoon fine sea salt
Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g cold unsalted butter
55g dark brown sugar (you can use other sugar but this lends a lovely treacly flavour)
Approx 40-60g milk (you may need more or less depending on the absorbency of the flour)


Using a food processor – These are most easily made in a food processor using the metal blade. If you are using a processor place the flour, semolina, bicarbonate of soda, salt and butter in the machine and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the sugar and pulse very briefly. Add 40g milk and pulse. It should start to come together. Add more milk if you think it needs it. You will need to get your hands in to bring the dough together as you want to avoid overworking the dough as this can make the biscuits a bit tough. 

Making by hand – If you are making these by hand, place the flour, semolina, bicarb and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the butter in cubes and rub the butter in using your fingertips and a light touch. I pick up bits of butter and flour and rub once through my fingers and move onto the next bit. Continue with this until the mixture starts to resemble coarse sand or breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and gradually add the milk until the mixture comes together as a dough. 

Form the dough into a sausage shape. Wrap the dough in cling or a food bag and place in the fridge to chill. It will be happy in the fridge for a few days. You can now choose to roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out shapes or take the easier option of cutting off slices of dough. The rolling out will make a smoother textured biscuits. Cutting the dough will make the biscuit a bit more crumbly. 

Place the biscuits on a lightly greased tray or on a tray with baking parchment and bake in a preheated oven at 180C or gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes depending on how crisp you like your biscuit. The longer the bake the crisper the biscuit.  Cool on a wire rack. 

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