Posts Tagged ‘sorghum pizza’

The Sorghum Also Rises (part 2)


This was the sorghum pizza I made a few months ago and it was fabulous. Made with Starline Organics sorghum syrup and sorghum flour with fresh spinach, Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese, cilantro pesto, Italian soprasetta and roasted red pepper. Yummy!

“Holy Crap, can you taste the cinnamon in this dough?” I screamed over the chaos of this busy tuesday at Avalanche Pizza as I first tasted it. The crust on this pizza was magnificent. I looked around the dough table like a confused dog. “Hey guys, taste this…I put some cinnamon in the pesto but this taste is coming from the crust.”

All four employees concurred with me, the sorghum flour formula was 2 to 1 in this dough and made such a wonderfully sweet, grab-the-roof-of-your-mouth-and-lightly-spice-the-back-of-your-throat experience that it triggered memories of cinnamon in all of us. 

These guys all gobbled this pie up with abandon and I felt like doctor Frankenstein-in a good way and sorghum was my new friendly creation.

There are two types of sorghum, the Sorghum Bicolor, or seeded cereal which when milled is eaten throughout the world, (Below.) In India, they make Chapati with it as well as other unleaven breads from this millet-looking grain.

       The other sorghum is from the saccharatum group. This is what Matt Starline grows here in Athens, Ohio in his lower, swampy pastures and what we made sorghum syrup with (see blog entry.) This is sometimes referred to as “Chinese sugar cane” or “sorgo.” It’s deliciously sticky flavor was a cheap alternative to maple syrup in the late 19th century.


Matt Starline and the Amish make the sorghum syrup from Matts 2011 crop of sorghum cane. Right is the finished product in order; first of the batch and the darker end of the batch of sorghum syrup.

 This fantastic grain was initially cultivated in Ethiopia in 4000 B.C. and since it’s such a young culinary treat, I decided to do what no one has ever attempted. (Insert sarcastic, lying cough here.) I am gonna make this pizza with sorghum flour and syrup now.


For the Pesto:

One big bunch of cilantro (2 cups)

One whole chopped jalepeno

One half tablespoon cinnamon

two to three garlic cloves, minced

One cup extra virgin olive oil

half cup sorghum syrup

One pinch powdered coriander

salt to taste


Mix all in a bowl adding the sorghum syrup last. Blend with an immersion blender or food processor adding salt to taste.

For the pizza:

Two cups sorghum flour

One cup high gluten flour (or bread flour)

One half teaspoon yeast

One cup water

One half teaspoon salt

One cup Bulgarian Kashkaval Cheese. (Or any mild cheddar or mild sheeps milk cheese.)

One cup fresh spinach

Five slices (or 3-4 ounces) of julienned soprasetta or Italian salami.

One half roasted red pepper

Cilantro pesto (made above) as needed after the oven.


Put 2 cups sorhum flour in bowl, add one cup bakers or higher gluten flour, mix in half teaspoon yeast. Add one cup water.


Mix well. You may have to add more water or flour until a cohesive dough ball forms. Cover at room temp for four hours.


The dough will have almost doubled after four hours. Cut in half and reserve other half. Form another ball. let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 460 degrees with an upturned heavy cookie pan or pizza stone in the oven.


Using fingers, form a pizza round. Remember, there is less gluten in this dough so be careful. Place on parchment.


Place Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese on dough, then spinach and soprasetta followed by the roasted red pepper.


 Cook in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until done. NOTE: The sorghum flour does not brown like wheat flour so gauge the doneness by the bottom of the pizza and the feel of the crust instead of the appearance. Pour cilantro pesto on and enjoy your sorghum pizza.


















The Sorghum Also Rises


On a cold December 13th, I got up at the crotch of dawn, drove 45 minutes due east through the moutainous Ohio countryside to get to the barnyard of Willie Gingrich who lives on Tabor Ridge Road. My friend Matt Starline promised to meet me here and show me how to make organic sorghum syrup with the Amish. As I stepped out of the car, I was not only assaulted by a baseball bat of cold air but the sight of Willie butchering a 500 pound hog that was hanging from a tree in his front yard.

“That’s a nice pig.” I said.

“He was a nuisance in the barnyard. That’s why he’s hangin’ from my tree…upside down…and slit open.” Willie said as he cut three inch wide strips of skin off with a box cutter ensuring that none of the fat got pulled off with the skin.

 I made a mental note to avoid  nuisance-like behavior around Willie.

 Just then Matt appeared from a weathered shed that for all purposes looked like it was on fire. Matt had brought the sorghum cane that he had cut from his river-bottom field and it sat stacked high on a trailer. He himself looked like a Siberian hunter out here in the cold and I looked down thankful I had beat-up jeans and crappy shoes on. This day making sorghum syrup looked like it was gonna get messy.


The organic sorghum cane that Matt brought all the way up State Route 550 and the juice from can which tasted like green candy.

Sorghum is native to Ethiopia and is thought to be cultivated between 3000 and 4000 B.C. Some say that the seeds were brought to the new world by slaves. There are two types of sourghum; the grain sorghum (Sorghum Bicolor) and the (Saccharatum) which is used for the sap that is abundant in the thick stems. Sorhum is considered to be one of the four most important grains in the world and is higher in protein and lower in fat than corn and easier to grow than corn. It is used extensively in Africa, India, China and the Near East. (No, that’s not Pittsburg.) Sorghum is not used that much anymore in the U.S.

      Matt with the lighter syrup on the left from the initial cooking and the darker version on the right after hours of cooking.

I am intent on making a pizza out of both types of sorghum, but first I want to know how Matt Starline makes his syrup. here is a great video of how the stuff is made. Like Matt said, “No one does this stuff anymore.” The government doesn’t even want these guys to label it ‘Molassas,’ because of rules; (i.e. corporate lobbiests) and regulations, (i.e. those made by our politicians after they were bought off by these corporations.) Can’t a guy just grow some cane, juice it, cook it and jar it without a hassle anymore?


Alright; I hope you come back  for a great freakin’ pizza with both Ohio sorghum syrup and Ohio sorghum flour in the next post.