Sorghum flour, sometimes called sweet flour or Milo, is a widely used type of flour, largely in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world. It is made from the starchy seed of a grassy plant and is a staple part of many diets.
What is Sorghum?
Sorghum is a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family and is grown in arid regions of the world. It is also known by various other names including milo, sweet flour, great millet, broom corn, and jowar. It is the most widely grown crop in Africa and is the fifth-most-important cereal crop in the world.
Sorghum is sensitive to environmental conditions such as drought, temperature, and soil fertility. This makes it a dependable crop in parts of the world where climate change has caused volatile and unpredictable weather patterns. In some places, it has become a significant crop for biofuel production due its drought resistance. With many farmers using sustainable practices, sorghum has become an important crop not just from a food security perspective but from a global environmental health stance too.
What is Sorghum Flour?
Sorghum flour is made from grinding the dried starchy seeds of the sorghum plant. It is gluten-free and high in carbohydrate.
The milling process to produce the flour may involve a few different steps. Immediately after harvest, the grain is dried with heat, then it is allowed to cool and stored in bins. The cooled grain is then cracked, de-hulled, and passed through screens which sift out the grains making them ready to mill.
Flour is usually considered white, although sorghum flour is darker in color than white flour, as it retains some of its bran, which is where much of the nutrients reside. It is available in light, medium and “whole” varieties. The distinction between light and medium blends is the amount of the bran retained - with the light flour having more bran removed. Whole sorghum flour is essentially pureed seeds and has the lightest color.
The consistency of sorghum flour can vary and generally speaking it has a fairly coarse texture. Its mild, earthy flavor is slightly sweet and nutty, similar to that of wheat flour.
Nutritional Benefits of Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is packed with nutrients, providing vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a good source of dietary fiber and provides good amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and potassium.
Sorghum flour is proven to be a beneficial component of any diet. It is especially good for managing blood sugar, fighting inflammation, and helping digestion. It contains zeaxanthin and lutein, two powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from oxidative damage.
Moreover, its high nutritional value makes it a great choice for people with gluten intolerances or Celiac disease since it is naturally gluten-free.
Cooking with Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is an excellent replacement for all-purpose flour, particularly if you’re cooking with ingredients renowned for their gluten-free characteristics such as buckwheat and amaranth. It should be added to a recipe as a partial replacement depending on the type of bread or cakes you are baking.
When cooking with sorghum flour it loves moisture, so recipe adjustment is often necessary and it may require more liquid or oil when compared to recipes that call for wheat flour. Additionally, sorghum flour may require additional leavening in some recipes, such as an extra teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda.
Sorghum flour also works well in porridge, pancakes, and even vegan cheese sauces. Additionally, sorghum can also be cooked like any other grain.
In conclusion, sorghum flour is a nutrient-rich, gluten-free flour that can be used to make delicious baked goods, porridge, pancakes, and more. It lends a nutty, sweet taste to recipes and is easy to work with, requiring little adjustments. Its benefits for health and nutrition make it worth considering for home and commercial bakers alike.