Sorghum Flour: An In-Depth Look at this Popular Gluten Free Flour

Sorghum Flour: An In-Depth Look at this Popular Gluten Free Flour

Learn everything you need to know about sorghum flour, this versatile gluten free flour.

When you think of gluten free flours, you probably think of staples like almond flour, rice flour, and coconut flour. You may even think of less commonly used options like chickpea, quinoa, or even cassava flour. But what about sorghum flour?

Like many gluten free alternatives, sorghum is an ancient grain loaded with nutritional benefits. Though may not be familiar with it, once you learn what it has to offer it will quickly become a staple in your gluten free pantry. Sorghum flour is naturally gluten free, high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, and, best of all, it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that makes it a perfect alternative to wheat flour.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at sorghum as a gluten free flour including what it is, what health benefits it provides, and tips for baking with it. You’ll also receive a collection of tasty recipes featuring this tasty gluten free flour.

What is Sorghum Flour?

Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain that belongs to the Panicoideae family, the second-largest subfamily of grasses that contains over 3,500 species. Also included in this family are staple crops like sugarcane and maze (corn). Though sorghum may be new to you, it originated in parts of Africa and Australia over 5,000 years ago and is currently considered the fifth-most important cereal crop grown in the world.

Also known as great millet, durra, jowari, or milo, sorghum is used for animal feed, human consumption, and ethanol production. Though it originated in Africa, it is widely cultivated throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions. It is the fifth-most important cereal crop in the world and the third-most important in the United States. In fifth place worldwide, it only follows rice, wheat, maize, and barley in terms of importance.

The most commonly grown species of sorghum is Sorghum bicolor, typically an annual species that grows in clumps reaching as tall as 4 meters high. The grain itself is very small, ranging from 2mm to 4mm in diameter and has a light color and a mild, sweet flavor. One of the things that makes this crop so popular is the fact that it is extremely drought-resistant. It has a large root-to-leaf ratio, a protective waxy coating on its leaves, and it goes dormant rather than dying in times of drought.

What Are the Health Benefits?

Sorghum is naturally gluten free and there are a number of different varieties, though sorghum flour is usually beige or white in color and has a mild-tasting sweet flavor. This flour is often used in gluten free flour blends, though you can sometimes find 100% whole grain sorghum flour in specialty stores. The best place to find it, however, is online.

Though some gluten free flours have little to offer in the way of nutrition, that is not the case with sorghum flour. This gluten free flour is rich in protein, iron, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. It contains about 120 calories per ¼ cup flour with 1 gram of fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of sugar. It also contains small but significant amounts of phosphorus, niacin, and thiamine.

In addition to being rich in nutrients, sorghum flour has the added benefit of being low-glycemic. This is important for people with diabetes because it is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than other carbohydrates, preventing a sudden sugar spike. Sorghum flour is also rich in fiber which benefits your digestive system and helps you feel fuller for longer. It is rich in antioxidants as well and has been shown to help fight inflammation and heart disease.

Tips for Baking with Sorghum Flour

In terms of its culinary uses, sorghum is popular in many parts of Asia and Africa for use in flatbreads. In India, it is a staple source of nutrition, commonly used in traditional Indian breads called bhakri or jowar roti. In Korea, it is cooked with rice or used as a flour to make cakes called susu bukkumi. In Central America, it is sometimes used to make tortillas, and, throughout the world, it is a popular wheat substitute used in gluten free recipes.

Here are some tips for gluten free baking with sorghum flour:

  • When shopping for sorghum flour, look for 100% sorghum flour that hasn’t been refined, enriched, or bleached.
  • Try using sorghum flour in gluten free recipes for baked simple goods like bread, muffins, cookies, and pancakes.
  • Substitute sorghum flour for wheat flour as part of a flour blend, using 15% to 30% sorghum flour for the best results.
  • Use a binding agent like xanthan gum or cornstarch when baking with sorghum flour to make sure your recipe turns out with the right texture.
  • When baking with sorghum flour, use a little more oil or fat and an extra egg to improve the texture and moisture content of your recipe.
  • Sorghum flour combines well with other mild-tasting gluten free flours like rice flour, corn flour, or potato starch.
  • Store your sorghum flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
  • Try cooking sorghum as a whole grain using a slow cooker, rice cooker, or even on the stovetop like you would cook rice or barley.

Now that you have a better understanding of what sorghum flour is and how to use it, you’re probably ready to try it for yourself! Read on to see some delicious recipes featuring sorghum flour that you can try on your own at home.

4 Gluten Free Recipes Featuring Sorghum Flour

1. Sorghum Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract then beat smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until well combined then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Chill the dough until firm then preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment and shape the dough into 1-inch balls.
  7. Place the dough balls on the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart and flattening slightly.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown then cool on a baking rack before serving.

2. Peach Sorghum Skillet Cake

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, low-fat
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F then grease a 10-inch ovenproof skillet.
  2. Whisk together the sorghum flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined then pour into the skillet.
  6. Arrange the peach slices on top of the batter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake for 5 minutes or so before slicing to serve.

3. Lemon Blueberry Sorghum Muffins

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups sorghum flour
  • 1 ½ cups potato starch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Start by preparing the sorghum flour blend – whisk together the sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour in a large bowl.
  3. Measure out 2 1/3 cups of the sorghum flour blend into a separate large bowl.
  4. Whisk in the sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, canola oil, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
  6. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth then fold in the blueberries.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle each muffin with a little extra sugar.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out and serve warm.

4. Simple Sorghum Pancakes

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the sorghum flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water, butter, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients then pour in the wet and whisk smooth.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
  5. Spoon the batter into the pan using ¼ cup per pancake and cook until bubbles form in the surface of the batter.
  6. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook to brown on the underside.
  7. Slide the pancake onto a plate and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the batter.
  8. Serve the pancakes warm with butter and your desired toppings.

 

Sorghum flour is a nutritious and versatile gluten free alternative to wheat flour. If you’re looking for a simple way to spice up your gluten free pantry, give this fantastic gluten free flour a try using one of the tasty recipes above!