Carol Fenster Offers Tips for Gluten-Free Cooking with Sorghum: May is National Celiac Awareness Month

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The super grains of amaranth, quinoa, and teff provide important nutrients for the gluten-free diet, but Carol Fenster bakes with sorghum because its milder flavor and lighter color make it perfect for breads, cakes, and pastries. To celebrate May as National Celiac Awareness month, she offers a free sorghum-based cookbook, Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, for new subscribers to her weekly online cookbook at http://www.GfreeCuisine.com.

Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Made with Sorghum

"Sorghum tastes more like wheat, making it more appealing to the 3 million Americans who live with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which gluten inhibits absorption of nutrients from food.”

The super grains of amaranth, quinoa, and teff provide important nutrients for the gluten-free diet, but Carol Fenster bakes with sorghum because its milder flavor and lighter color make it perfect for breads, cakes, and pastries. To celebrate May as National Celiac Awareness month, she offers a free sorghum-based cookbook, Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, for new subscribers to her weekly online cookbook at http://www.GfreeCuisine.com.

Like amaranth, quinoa, and teff, sorghum is also an ancient grain and it was used for centuries in Africa and India. It is currently the third-largest cereal crop in America and the fifth largest in the world.

“Sorghum has a lighter color and milder flavor than amaranth, quinoa, or teff so it is more versatile in all kinds of baking such as breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries” says Carol Fenster, who uses sorghum in all nine of her gluten-free cookbooks, including Gluten-Free 101 (http://www.glutenfree101.com).

Sorghum is also nutritious, with a third more protein and twice as much fiber than the brown rice flour typically used in gluten-free baking. Plus, she adds, “It tastes more like wheat, making it more appealing to the 3 million Americans who live with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which gluten inhibits absorption of nutrients from food.”

After 15 years of baking with sorghum flour, Fenster, who also uses it in the gluten-free mixes she develops for Bob’s Red Mill, offers these tips:

1. Blend sorghum flour with starchy flours for better texture. Fenster keeps this all-purpose sorghum flour blend in her pantry: 1 ½ cups sorghum flour, 1 ½ cups potato starch (or cornstarch), and 1 cup tapioca flour. One cup of her blend equals one cup of wheat flour in baking.

2. Use xanthan gum or guar gum to reduce crumbling and improve rise. Without these gums---the two most widely available for the home cook---baked goods fall flat and crumble.

Fenster likes to use whole grain sorghum as a side dish and suggests soaking the grains in water overnight to shorten cooking time. Use the dense, chewy cooked grain instead of bulgur or pearled barley in soups, to replace rice in side dishes, or as a hearty hot cereal for breakfast.

There is no cure for celiac disease; the only treatment is a life-long diet without gluten. Untreated, celiac disease can lead to other autoimmune conditions, certain forms of cancer, and it can be fatal. To celebrate National Celiac Awareness Month, new subscribers to Fenster’s online cookbook at http://www.GfreeCuisine.com (which generates weekly menu plans and grocery lists) during May will receive a free copy of her sorghum-based cookbook, Gluten-Free Quick & Easy.

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CAROL FENSTER
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