Of all the surprises I get when talking about 9 Grains, millet tops the list. I think of millet and its flour as a “stranger”; a food that’s familiar to very few. And yet most audience members express an awareness, if not downright familiarity, with this pretty and somewhat tricky food.

Perhaps this is because, as my mother pointed out when I went on a gluten-free diet in 2002, I was now forced to consume “bird food.” Bird seed mixes are loaded with millet, and our avian friends seem to love the grain. With (# of millions) of pounds of birdseed sold annually in the USA, it’s thus no surprise that so many know about millet.

Or maybe millet is known because of its long history. Centuries before corn entered the European diet my ancestors were enjoying millet. Centuries before then, people in millet’s origin region, what’s now China and Manchuria (check this), were cultivating and cooking with it. In our multi-cultural world it’s no difficult task to find a restaurant with millet on the menu or a store with bags of it on the shelves. One can, with a bit of searching, find the grain, the flour, puffed millet, millet cereal, even unusual varieties, such as Finger Millet. Or is it just me, finding millet everywhere because of relentless shopping and unstoppable curiosity?

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This generic sourdough starter recipe works with any grain flour, except oats. Use it to make an active, rich-tasting starter that can be incorporated into any sourdough bread recipe, gluten-free or glutenous.

Instructions include "Putting the starter to sleep", "Feeding" the starter, and "Waking up" the starter.

Yield: About 1 quart ready-to-use sourdough starter.

Time to make: 10 minutes per day for 10 days

Tools needed: 1 Qt or larger glass, plastic or stainless steel container with lid. Measuring spoons and cups. Stirring spoon. Zip-lock bag.

This light and flavorful cake uses an unusual flour, tempers that flour's occasional bad behavior with ingredients rarely encountered in sponge cakes, then uses traditional methods to produce an exceptionally tender, moist and fragrant dessert. A lemon buttercream frosting caps this delightful creation.

This strong-but-steady starter is a stable, consistent performer. Used in all the White Lightning bread, bun, and pizza formulations on this site, it's easy to make and, if properly maintained, will last indefinitely.

Included are instructions for putting starter to sleep and waking up sleeping starter.

Yield: about 2 cups "Sleeping" sourdough starter.

Time to make: 45 minutes active, spread over 4 days.

These delicious treats will not only use up any pre-dough left over from bread baking, but are tasty, versatile and easy-to-make. You can alter the amount of salt and spice, or change spices to meet your taste. They're really good with soft cheeses or paté.

Yield:  About thirty-six, 1 1/2-inch X 1 1/2-inch crackers
Time to make: About 20 minutes

Tasty yet light, this whole-grain pan bread stars in both a plain version and a cinnamon-raisin adaptation. Built on a base of millet sourdough leaven, then tweaked with steps that improve dough strength and correct for millet's occasional bitterness, this could easily become your standard family bread, particularly since you can switch from one version to the next.

Yield: One 1 pound 10 ounce loaf bread 


NEW! Watch a Zoom Lesson Video showing the making of this pie. Click HERE.


Dhokla is an Indian bread, related to idli on that continent, or tamales in the Americas. My 9 Grains take on the classic uses millet flour sweetened with honey and spiced with Thai chilies, black pepper and lemon zest. It produces a tender, slightly sweet but spicy cake-bread in about 30 minutes. Dhokla is an excellent complement to chile con carne or BBQ, and a nutritious snack by itself.


This bread riffs on sticky buns, Japanese Milk Bread, honey rolls and cinnamon rolls in a unique format. A soft millet dough is rolled around cinnamon sugar, then spiraled into a cake pan to make a dig-in-and-nosh delight.

This very soft dough is easier to handle if refrigerated overnight before rolling and filling. Choosing this option will require about 50% more time for the bread to rise.

Yield:  One, 3-inch X 14-inch tubular loaf, coiled into a 9-inch circular cake pan.

A mild, grain-flavored, moist-crumb sourdough, this bread features a "custardy" crumb - in the parlance of artisan bakers - and a crisp, chewy crust. It's leavened by a millet starter and is pale, slightly honeyed, and loves additions, such as the golden raisins you see in the photos.

Yield: One, 20-ounce round boule.

Making pizza on a grill is the perfect summer project, since it avoids overheating your kitchen, gets you out-of-doors, and fumigates the neighborhood with delicious aromas.