Millet is a delicious and nutritious grain if a bit mysterious. I’ve been working with it lately, cooking the grain up into pilafs, making porridges, fermenting it, making it into milk, desserts, and working with the flour in baking.
Several Ah Ha’s I’d like to pass along about millet flour:
Start with the whole grain and toast it. It’s easy to mill into flour, at home with a spice grinder, for the amounts you’ll need for a baking recipe. Toasting millet radically improves its flavor, and helps to open up the nutritional content of the grain.
Make it into a Protein/Starch/Gum mix. Millet flour is fairly high in protein but lacks gluten. It tends to be dry tasting on its own, so I realized that it’s best to buddy it up with a starch and a gum. I chose potato starch for its ability to hold moisture, but other starches could be used to suit where you live and what’s available. I used ground flaxseed for the gum, because it’s nutritious in its own right, easy to buy, and grows traditionally in the same areas as millet.
Let it ferment. Letting millet go through a fermentation process, like sourdough will increase its nutritional bioavailability, help it to retain more moisture, and heighten its flavor profile.
Use it for baking that naturally carries moisture like dosas, idli, muffins, fritters…
Use it with a fat to help offset its dry nature.
My Millet Flour Blend 1 ¾ cup /344g whole proso millet Toast and grind into flour using a spice grinder 1 cup /172g potato starch 2 tablespoons /13g flaxseed ground This mix is 2 parts millet to 1 part starch and 2 tablespoons flax per 500g of mix I haven’t tried other millets because they’re unavailable in the USA !!!
More Fermented Flatbreads
Food For Thought
It takes me into my heart when I really consider millet. How long people and millet have been together, 10,000 years? How it's one of the five sacred grains of China. How it's this hard working grain that takes less water, and will grow in poorer soils. How it feeds the poor. That there are places in Africa where it's eaten three times a day. How in my country it's used as bird seed, and most people have never tasted it. How it's so nutritious, and all of us-- rich and poor are so in need of nourishment. Nourishment for our bodies and our hearts. I've been meeting good people, people who care a lot, and are working to bring millet to us. This grain that will grow in drier and hotter conditions. A grain full of health. I go deep into my heart when I think of these things, standing at my stove toasting millet seed, pressing millet roti, smelling the baked bread, breaking it and bringing it to my mouth to eat.
Spiced Millet Roti
Ingredients Use all of the millet flour blend 1 teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon toasted whole cumin ground 1 teaspoon toasted whole coriander ground ¼ cup /55g ghee or coconut oil 2 teaspoons pickled jalapenos minced ¾ cup /100g minced onion ½ cup+/ 4oz/ 114g water kefir, kefir or yogurt You can also use 1/2 cup of sourdough starter They may need a little more liquid
Instructions for Making Dough I use a food processor but this can be done by hand.
Toast whole millet on medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet until it begins to pop and smells toasty about 4-5 minutes. Let cool. Grind millet in a spice grinder in several batches until flour consistency. Add millet flour, and all other dry ingredients to the food processor. Spin to combine. Add ghee and spin to incorporate into flour. Add jalapenos, and onion combine briefly. Add liquid with the machine running until it becomes a thick dough. Put batter into a bowl and ferment with a towel over at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours or until slightly sour.
Instructions for the griddle Preheat a griddle on medium heat. I use cast iron. Separate the dough into 14 balls of 65g each Press the balls with a tortilla press lined with parchment paper Griddle the roti for 2 minutes with a lid covering it, Flip the roti and cook for another 2 minutes with the lid on. Cook as many roti as needed. Remaining dough balls can be stored in the fridge in a mason jar for up to a week to use as needed. Roti are delicious by themselves, or with a topping, dal, chutney. They're like a corn tortilla except better. With Love EnJoy!
Dough balls will ferment in the fridge and can be used as needed. They'll last several weeks slowly fermenting. You can also save dough balls that are already fermented, and use as needed. This is a fab fast food. Just press and griddle!
A Couple Cool Millet Activists
Dwiddly-- Working towards improving millet cultivation practices in India The Millet Project--Rediscovering the traditions of cultivating and consuming millets.