Flours sourced from ingredients like teff, amaranth and other ancient grains offer nutritional benefits to consumers.

It’s one thing to know how an ancient or alternative grain tastes, but how does it perform when mixed with traditional flours, starches or even proteins? How does it hold up to processing? The answer is often found in research.

“Many hold more water than native starch, so experiments with moisture adjustments are especially important,” said Don Trouba, director-marketing at Ardent Mills. “Adding other starches and protein is often necessary.”

Ardent Mills offers numerous flour options, including ancient grains such as spelt, teff, amaranth, buckwheat and sorghum. Most recently, the company introduced a line of colored barleys. 

“These colored grains add visual appeal and subtle flavor variations,” said Zachery Sanders, director of marketing, Ardent Mills. “They also can provide a clean label option for color replacement. Our purple barley and blackjack barley are water soluble and give a rich purple or a slate black color to applications.”

Barley is an underappreciated player in the grain world, Mr. Sanders said. Grown in the United States, this powerhouse ingredient has the potential to be the next “super grain” in terms of overall nutrition, versatility and sustainable growing. Quinoa already has reached super-grain status. In response, Ardent Mills has invested in the crop. 

Ancient and heirloom grains provide a new appeal to basic flours.

“We are deeply committed to bring new wheat and grain varieties to the forefront,” Ms. White said. “This year, that commitment included becoming part of the largest quinoa-growing network in North America. In March 2017, we premiered our new quinoa, which is grown on the Great Plains of Canada.” 

Since 2014, quinoa has experienced enormous growth on menus and in consumer-packaged goods. As most quinoa is imported from South America, it can lend itself to supply challenges and year-over-year price fluctuations. 

“Our North American-grown quinoa solves this problem with supply assurance, predictable pricing and quality that our customers can count on,” Ms. White said. “And, even more importantly, it supports family farms in this new, lucrative market.” 

The quinoa is available in whole seeds, whole grain flour, crisps and flakes. The seeds are small, light-colored, round grains with a unique pop or snap in texture. As one of the most popular ancient grains, it assists product formulators to make multigrain claims, enhance nutritional profiles and increase fiber.

Use of sorghum flour has picked up pace in the baking and snack sector. It is gluten-free, non-G.M.O. and easier to digest than wheat flour. 

“Sorghum is also high in fiber and provides antioxidants like phenolic compounds and anthocyanin, which helps reduce inflammation and lower free radical damage,” Mr. Stephanian said. “It’s a great solution for bakery applications like breads, crackers and snacks.”

Several chefs have been known to work with sorghum to deliver subtle sweetness. With a variety of unique and culinary-forward ways to use this versatile ingredient, sorghum is popping up in bread, baked foods, classic pastries and more.