Pile of sorghum grains.
Sorghum, an African grain, is nothing new to the United States, but until recently it was considered only suitable for animals. What was once added to animal feed is becoming increasingly popular in cereals, muffins and breads, instead of or in addition to wheat flour. It is relatively rich in protein, iron and fiber, in addition to the fact that it is gluten-free, it gives rise to sorghum flour, which in some circles is called milo flour and in others jowar atta, welcome in world cups. .
People with the autoimmune disorder called celiac disease cannot digest the gluten protein in oats, wheat or barley. Sorghum means they don’t have to abandon a stack of pancakes or a piece of toast. With twice the protein of white flour, triple the fiber and fewer calories, even customers who can handle gluten are ordering baked goods made with sorghum.
Sorghum flour does not contain gluten, which makes it safe for people with celiac disease.
Some gluten flour substitutes, such as rice flour, can add a gritty texture to cookies or bread. Bakers prefer the smoother texture of sorghum. As nothing in this world is perfect, the downside is that sorghum flour can be a black hole for the liquid. It’s drier than Uncle Bob’s sense of humor, James Bond martinis and the pile of bones that mark the final resting place of a penitent who tried to rid himself of sin by walking through the Atacama Desert together.
Sorghum flour is often combined with tapioca, potato starch, and quinoa to create a gluten-free baking mix for cookies and other goodies.
The solution is to simply add extra liquid in the form of oil or eggs. Gluten, which binds ingredients together, can be replaced by adding cornstarch to sorghum dough or pasta. To convince sorghum flour-based treats to rise, a little extra yeast will usually do the trick.
Like other flours made from seeds or ground grains, sorghum naturally contains fat and doesn’t last forever. It can be kept in the pantry for a month or two, but bakers hoping to dip it less often will do better to ignore it. In the fridge, it stays good for a few more months; in the freezer, it remains viable for half a year or more.
Due to its very mild flavor, sorghum flour is a natural choice to incorporate into sweet breads, cookies or the like. It is becoming more available to the home cook, but because of its gluten-free personality, merchants have found that it sells for much more than wheat flour. Instead, savvy shoppers can go to an Indian market to buy jowar atta. It is an identical product at a lower price