Sorghum Flour: A Versatile African Flour

Sorghum flour is milled from grains of sorghum. Sorghum is a grain that has been around for millennia. The oldest records of it date back to 1000 BCE and were found near the border between Egypt and Sudan. Sorghum can grow even in arid climates, which explains why it grows in arid regions all over Africa.

Sorghum would go on to be cultivated in parts of Asia, including China and India. Archaeological evidence points to the likelihood that sorghum traveled to India from East Africa at some point in the first millennium BCE. It would eventually wind up in Australia.

Sorghum was unknown in Ancient Rome but was widely grown in the Middle East and was an especially popular crop in Ancient Iraq. It would eventually make its way from the Middle East to Islamic Spain and then to France. It most likely reached America via the slave trade from West Africa. Early on, it was dubbed Guinea corn.

Benjamin Franklin wrote the first known documentation of American sorghum production in 1757 when he wrote about it being used to manufacture brooms. In the following century, sorghum was cultivated extensively in the attempt to break the market dominance of West Indian sugar plantations.

Sorghum Flour

These days, sorghum is almost unknown outside of the South. In its heyday, sorghum was better known because of the sweetening ability of sorghum molasses. It’s cultivated in many Southern states, including Texas and Kansas.

Sorghum gets its name from the Italian word sorgo, which comes from the grain’s Latin name: Syricum granum. The Latin translates to grain of Syria.

Sorghum flour flavor profile

Sorghum flour’s flavor is sometimes as mildly nutty and earthy. The flavor is so mild that it is sometimes referred to as neutral. Others find the taste of sorghum to be bitter or metallic.

Health benefits of sorghum

Sorghum flour is considered highly nutritious because of the nutrients it contains, which include:

  • Antioxidants: The bran in sorghum flour is rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for fighting many serious illnesses.
  • Vitamins: Sorghum flour is full of B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.
  • Minerals: You can get a variety of minerals from sorghum flour, including iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Use sorghum flour in your diet to treat or prevent illness and health issues like:

  • Cancer: The antioxidant benefits of sorghum flour make it helpful for combating cancer.
  • Obesity: Sorghum flour contains tannins that reduce the availability of calories and thus facilitate weight loss.
  • Gluten sensitivity: Sorghum contains no gluten, which means that it is safe to eat for people who cannot consume gluten.

Common uses

Sorghum flour is used as a wheat flour alternative for making gluten-free foods, including pizza, cakes, and bread. It is often used along with other gluten-free flours. In Africa, sorghum flour is used to make flatbreads and couscous. Because sorghum flour contains no gluten, items made with it as the main flour often require a binder such as egg whites, cornstarch, or xanthan gum.

You can also use sorghum flour to replace a portion of the wheat flour in wheat flour recipes. Experts recommend using no more than 30 percent sorghum flour when using it in a wheat flour recipe. You can use it as a thickener as well. A slurry made with sorghum flour can give body to soups and sauces similar to one made with cornstarch or wheat flour.