John Franke divulges why he loves to bake with sorghum flour
If you’ve switched to a gluten-free diet, do you miss baking with all-purpose flour? You might want to try naturally gluten-free sorghum all-purpose flour. “It’s the closest to all-purpose flour that I’ve found,” confirms restaurant consultant John Franke. “I use it for everything from bread and biscuits to muffins and cakes.”
Ancient grains are on trend. A few years ago, few people knew what quinoa was. Now it’s mainstream. Today, the focus has turned to sorghum, an all-American crop with many benefits that support U.S. farmers and our economy. Sorghum uses up to one-third less water than some comparable grain crops, making it good for the environment.
What exactly is sorghum? It is an extremely versatile super grain that can be served like rice or quinoa. It can also be popped for a tasty variation on popcorn for home movie nights. Sorghum can easily be used in hummus, tabbouleh and even risotto. “In recipes, it’s rich and earthy but its flavor does not detract from other ingredients,” explains Franke.
Even better, this versatile grain packs some powerful nutrition such as:
- Protein for bone, muscle, skin and enzyme development
- Iron to support the immune system and the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity
- Vitamin B6, which is essential for making antibodies and enhancing nerve function
- Niacin for blood circulation
- Magnesium to support calcium absorption and body temperature regulation
- Phosphorus to help form healthy bones
Cooking with sorghum is easy
Franke advises that using sorghum flour in place of all-purpose flour just requires adding a little extra baking powder. “It’s very sturdy and consistent, unlike some other gluten-free flours I’ve used.” In fact, it’s so easy that he’s using it to teach his young son how to cook. “He loves making muffins, cookies and cakes with sorghum.”
For other types of recipes, this whole grain is easy to cook using your oven, stovetop, slow cooker or rice cooker. Whole grain sorghum can even be frozen and then reheated without losing its great taste. “I suggest making it in advance using different stocks and spices. Then freeze it for future use,” advises Franke.
What’s on your family’s menu and how can you substitute sorghum? Check out www.simplysorghum.com for recipes and cooking tips, as well as a list of supermarkets near you that carry sorghum products.
John Franke Bio
John Franke graduated in 1994 from Johnson and Wales University. After graduating, John began his professional career in Dallas, TX with Harvey Hotels, Neiman Marcus, and Pappas Restaurants before embarking on missions and humanitarian work in Burkina Faso, Africa from 2003-2007.
Franke then joined forces with Front Burner Restaurants as the Vice President of Culinary Operations. During his 11-year tenure, Franke led the culinary development for multiple brands. His focus with the menu development for each brand was driven towards building relationships with local farmers, ranchers and growers to produce unique but approachable offerings in all scratch/high volume kitchens. In May 2019, he launched Franke Culinary Consulting, LLC. With more than two decades of experience, Franke brings extensive knowledge in menu development, team building, vendor relationships, and kitchen design, to all his clients.
GLUTEN FREE SORGHUM JALAPENO BACON CHEDDAR DROP BISCUITS
Yield: 20 each
- 11 oz Sorghum Flour (All Purpose Plus Flour)
- 2 TBSP Baking Powder
- 1 ½ TBSP Light Brown Sugar
- ¼ tsp. Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 each Large Egg
- 2 TBSP Unsalted Butter, melted
- 4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 1 ½ oz. Bacon Bits
- 1 oz. Jalapeno, stems and seeds removed, ¼” dice
- ½ oz. Parsley, chopped
- As Needed Bacon Fat, melted (optional)
- Using a wire whisk, combine flour, powders, sugar, and salt in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl.
- Add milk, egg, and butter and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Add cheese, bacon, jalapeno, and parsley and mix until just combined.
- Using gloved hands, drop ¼ cup sized dough portions 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined and sprayed full sheet tray.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes.
- Rotate pan and bake an additional 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and brush tops with bacon fat.
- Serve immediately or cool and hold at room temperature in a sealed container. The biscuits can be frozen as well in a sealed container.
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