S is for Sorghum

Sorghum is my new favorite all purpose gluten free flour. I cannot use it straight up to replace wheat flour in every recipe. But it works in many. I also like that my regular grocery store stocks it now, it is not crazy expensive, it is easy to work with, and it’s whole grain. It is not a nutritional super food, but it sure beats refined starches.

Sorghum flour is successful in pancakes (recipe below), waffles, muffins, piecrust, and fruit crisp toppings. The flavor has some natural sweetness. And I am in love with sorghum syrup, which is made from sorghum stalks. They look and stand tall just like corn stalks.

Pancakes with sorghum syrup, fruit and a sprinkling of nuts for dinner is true comfort food for me. If you have sorghum flour on hand, you probably have the other essential ingredients in your pantry. 100% sorghum flour pancakes are a great introduction to sorghum.

I do make a special trip to the health food store to by 6 jars of syrup at time. It is thicker and not as sweet as pure maple syrup. Perfect for my taste. A mix of sorghum syrup and corn syrup is available in my regular grocery store. But I don’t want the corn syrup part. Just 100% sorghum syrup please.

My “go to” recipe for pancakes includes buttermilk, nice thick buttermilk. But I do not always have it so I substitute soured milk with tasty results.

Please notice, I use soured milk, not spoiled milk. You simply add a tablespoon of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, to a measuring cup. Then add milk to the one-cup line. Stir and allow to sit for a few minutes and you will notice the milk curdles. That is soured milk.

Right now, there are many posts and comments in the blogosphere regarding the safety of distilled vinegar. Please see Gluten Free NYC and Tricia Thompson’s blog post on diet.com. There is a simple solution if you choose not to use distilled vinegar, use lemon juice. You get a similar tart flavor, acid and no gluten.

I used cows’ milk, but you could try this with other kinds of milk. Goat, hemp, nut, rice or soy. I am interested to know if you try any of these and how you like the results. The lower protein milks probably will not curdle. But you still need to add the acid to make the baking soda fizz and raise up the pancakes.

The finished soured milk pancakes are a bit thinner than the buttermilk version. And the batter itself thinned while I was cooking the pancakes. The first pancakes cooked up evenly round. The later, thinner batter made scalloped pancakes that looked a bit like pretty flower petals. They all tasted great.

sour-milk-sorghum-pancake photo by vsimon

Sour Milk Sorghum Pancakes with Sorghum Syrup and Blueberries

Serves 2                                               Metric measures

1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar       15 ml  

   (not malt or flavored vinegar)

nearly 1 cup milk                                   225 ml

2/3 cup sorghum flour                           75 gm

1 teaspoon sugar                                  5 gm

1 teaspoon baking soda                         4 gm

½ teaspoon salt                                    3 gm

1 egg                                                    1

2 tablespoons oil                                   30 ml

1 cup blueberries                                   130 gm

sorghum syrup

Measure lemon juice or vinegar into a one cup liquid measuring cup. Add milk to the 1-cup line. Stir and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, soda, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk together soured milk, egg, and oil.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisk until smooth.

sorghumpancakebatter

stirring-out-the-lumps-in-sour-milk-sorghum-pancake-batter photo by vsimon

Preheat griddle and oil it. Ladle enough batter onto the griddle to make a 3-4” pancake. Do not make them too big, or they will be very hard to flip. Drop blueberries onto the batter. Cook until bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook a few minutes more.

Adding the blueberries to the batter on the griddle evenly distributes the berries, and keeps the color of the pancakes lovely. Stirring the blueberries into the batter in the bowl can make the pancakes an unappealing grayish blue. This is a bigger problem with frozen berries as they thaw.

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sorghum-pancake-with-blueberries photo by vsimon

Sorghum has also saved the day for gluten free beer. Beer with pancakes?  Ick. No, I usually have tea or milk. I do not drink much beer so I cannot comment on sorghum beer. Other than, I think it is cool that it is available.

What wonderful things have you made with any type of sorghum?

Update 8-30-2009  This post was entered into the Slightly Indulgent Monday kick off blog event, started by Amy Green of  Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. The whole grain sorghum flour and the rich syrup make this slightly indulgent. I can’t wait to see what else is entered!

M is for Millet- Muffins Two Ways

It looks like birdseed, heck, it is birdseed. Other than being gluten free, what is so great about millet? It makes great crunchy muffins for one thing. Today we do two, one with buttermilk, one vegan.

I started with a wheat flour and whole grain millet recipe from Cooking Light. Imagine millet in a mainstream magazine like Cooking Light. They were delicious, so I had to experiment. Both versions of these whole grain gluten free muffins are equally tasty.

You can substitute only millet flour for the wheat flour. Or use a gluten free flour blend. The straight up millet flour version has more whole grain flavor. The blend is milder. Do not omit the millet seeds though. They give the muffins the fun crunch.

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buttermilk-millet-muffins photo by vsimon

Buttermilk Millet Muffins Yield 12                                                             Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 cup oil

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ cup millet flour or gluten free flour blend

2/3 cup millet seeds

2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal

1 ½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small boil, whisk the wet ingredients well. That is the buttermilk, egg, oil and dark brown sugar. Sugar, any sugar, is considered a wet ingredient in baking. Weird, I know. Brown sugar does mix better with the wet ingredients than the dry ones.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients. That is everything else.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until completely mixed.

Mixing ingredients like this, wet into dry, is called the muffin method. I learned that in 7th grade Home Economics.

Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes. The xanthan gum and the ground flax seed will hydrate, or soak up some liquid. The batter will get thicker and the muffins will rise better. That is newer knowledge, I did not learn that in 7th grade Home Ec.

Put 12 muffin papers in muffin pans. Fill the papers about ¾ full. Sprinkle tops with raw sugar crystals if desired. They are big and sparkly, a nice touch. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

 

millet-seed-heads photo by Shi_Yali

Did you say you wanted those muffins dairy free, egg free, vegan? Can do.    I have recently discovered Amazake, a fermented rice beverage. During fermentation, the starch of the rice is broken down into sugar, naturally sweetening the drink. These muffins are a bit sweeter than the buttermilk version. Personally, I could reduce the sugar here to 2/3 cup. But my husband likes them with the ¾ cup amount.

Amazake is as thick as buttermilk. It might be a bit hard to find, and it is more pricy than buttermilk. Still, it is a great ingredient.

To replace the egg, I increased the ground flax seed meal. This adds structure just like xanthan. The first trial of these muffins, I left the xanthan in. Wow, that batter could stand alone. I cooked it anyway. The muffins were certainly edible, but they sure did not need the xanthan.

The second batch is xanthan free. Worked like a charm. And since there is no buttermilk, there is no need for baking soda either.

Also, I think this is funny, our cats LOVE these vegan muffins. One is very big and will eat any dairy, or anything with dairy, that she can get at. The other is very small and it seems she rarely eats anything. To our surprise, both cats want these muffins. They want more than just crumbs. These are just simply good, as good as the dairy version.

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dairy-free-egg-free-soy-free-millet-muffin  photo by vsimon

Dairy Free, Egg Free Millet Muffins  yield 12                                            Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 cup amazake

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1 ½ cup millet flour or gluten free blend

2/3 cup millet seeds

½ cup ground flax seed meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mix amazake, dark brown sugar, and oil.

In a large bowl, mix everything else. Let this batter sit for 5 minutes too, it will thicken. Fill muffin papers ¾ full. Top with raw sugar if you like. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention, nutritionally, millet is rich in the B vitamins, niacin, B6 and folic acid. And it is a good source of fiber.

Please let us know how you use millet. Or if you are familiar with Amazake.

10-21-09 This post is submitted to the GF Lifestyle Blog Carnival for November, host by Sustaining Health Holistically, a gluten free, vegan, raw blog.

B is for Buckwheat

At our house, we love breakfast for dinner. And 100% buckwheat waffles are often our go to choice. I do not use 16 different flours, just buckwheat flour. No need for gums either. I adapted a popular buckwheat and wheat pancake recipe so it is now gluten free and much, much lower in fat.
You can easily make pancakes with this recipe. I just think waffles are more fun and I do not mind taking a bit of extra time at dinner. I also like to fill all the little holes with tasty toppings. These buckwheat waffles are light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Please do not let the color of the raw batter alarm you. It is gray with black specks. But it browns nicely as it cooks.
Like many whole foods, buckwheat is a nutrition powerhouse. One-half cup of flour is about 200 calories, only 2 grams fat, 6 grams fiber, and 7 grams high quality protein. It offers a wide range of nutrients. Notably, thiamin, niacin, B6, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese.
Best Buckwheat Buttermilk Waffles
Adapted from Buttermilk Pancakes ll at AllRecipes
Serves 2
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
Preheat waffle maker. And preheat oven to 150 degrees, or the lowest setting.
Mix dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl.
Mix liquid ingredients (buttermilk though oil) a medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
My waffle maker makes two 4.5 inch square Belgium waffles. Belgium waffles are thicker than standard waffles. I put one third of the batter into the maker three times. You might put more or less batter in at a time. Try not to overfill the wells or the batter will ooze out and make a big aggravating mess.
Cook waffles until steam no longer comes from the waffle machine. As each waffle is done, place in oven, right on the bare rack. This keeps them crispy.
Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. They can be warmed in the toaster on a medium setting.
My favorite way to serve them is with some chocolate chips on top, all nice and melty. Then raspberry sauce, which are simply pureed berries from our garden that we freeze to use all year round. And some syrup, either sorghum or maple. Wow, what a treat.
The Worlds Healthiest Foods reports that regularly eating buckwheat helps control blood sugar. And it lowers total serum cholesterol, reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and improves the ratio of HDL (the good kind) to total cholesterol. Not bad for a silly looking seed.
Despite the wheat name, buckwheat is gluten free. The triangle shaped seeds are called groats, or kasha if they are roasted. Buckwheat is important in eastern European and Chinese cuisine. Today we feature a central European delight, Belgium waffles. You can also make simple All-American pancakes with the same recipe.