ingredient information
Flour Millet
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Millet flour is flour made from the grain millet, which actually comes in a variety of types. It’s an uncommon flour to use in the US, though it is beginning to gain in popularity since it is gluten free. This flour may be added to breads to reduce gluten content, or to produce lower carbohydrate bread, and the grain itself, though often thought of as the perfect birdseed, has an extensive history as an important whole grain in cooking, particularly in Asia, where millet may once have been used more extensively than rice. Though you can use many types of low gluten flours alone, millet flour tends to require some type of binding agent when it’s used in cooking. Cooks suggest that no more than a third of wheat flour in recipes should be replaced with flour from millet, but this does little to help those who cannot consume gluten and suffer from celiac disease. You should avoid millet flour if you have hypothyroidism. It has been shown to slightly impair thyroid production, especially if you have more than a couple of servings a day. If you do want to use millet as a flour substitute if you have celiac disease, one of the best binding agents that will substitute for the missing flour gluten is xanthan gum. Used alone, millet flour may work in certain recipes, like those for pancakes or tortillas, but in more complex recipes for bread it usually needs to be mixed with other ingredients so that bread is not too dry and crumbly. Millet also won’t work well alone in yeast breads because its lack of gluten means the bread won’t rise. Nutritionally speaking, millet flour bears some resemblance to wheat. A serving of the flour, judged as one third of a cup (35 grams) contains about four grams of protein, which is very close to wheat. In some ways millet is much superior to wheat. A single serving has 15% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron, and is high in B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. It also has 12% of the US RDA of dietary fiber, which can make for a healthy alternative or addition to wheat. One aspect of millet flour that many people praise is its sweet taste. It’s comparable to sorghum but tends to lack the bitter aftertaste most associate with sorghum flour. You can often cut sugar in recipes when you use the flour, since you’ll be deriving some natural sweetness from millet. Also a little millet flour in breads makes them lighter with a crunchy crust, which many people find delicious.