Utilization of Sorghum in El Salvador: Grain, Flour and End-Product Quality
Pinilla, Luz Eliana
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There is limited information on the utilization of sorghum for human consumption in El Salvador. Increased wheat prices have driven the baking industry to seek alternative cereals for manufacturing of their products. The white color and bland taste characteristics of Salvadorian sorghum is ideal for use as a partial substitute of wheat (up to 50 percent) or alone in baked goods and a wide variety of foods. Further information on the grain quality, milling characteristics and impact on end-product was assessed to make better use of the available grain. Three different varieties of improved and local cultivars (RCV, Native and ZAM 912) were evaluated for their grain, flour and end-product quality. Grain hardness, color and composition of the grains varied from hard to intermediate to soft. Burr, hammer and roller milling were used for sorghum flour production. Impact of grain characteristics and milling quality was evaluated through the flours produced and their end-product quality. Grain hardness significantly affects flour and final product characteristics. Harder grain, RCV, produced flours more difficult to cook and with a grittier texture than those produced from Native cultivars (floury endosperm). Cupcakes produced from harder grain flours had lower volume and harder texture than cupcakes made from the Native varieties. ZAM 912 was an intermediate hard sorghum variety and produced the darkest flour and darkest cupcakes due to its pericarp hue. Appropriate use of this grain?s flour can be used in baked products with a darker hue (e.g. chocolate pastries). Harder grain flours can be utilized in coarse crumb products (e.g. cookies, horchata, and atole). Hammer mills produced the coarsest particles for all the varieties evaluated. Burr mills produced flour with similar cooking and end-product texture qualities as the roller mill. However, burr mills are not suitable for production of large quantities of whole sorghum flour. Nevertheless, they are more affordable for small entrepreneurs. Cultivars analyzed produce quality flour that can be used in an array of baked foods, i.e. ethnic beverages, porridges, cookies, flour mixes, tortillas, sweet breads. Whole sorghum flour substitution as low as 25 percent in wheat-based foods can represent significant cost savings for its users.