Whole-Meal Ficelles


Cook with what you have, the complementary concept to “write what you know.” I’m in love with alternative grains. I’ve got nothing against good old wheat, but it’s just… boring, you know?

This recipe yields enough for a person to have eight complementary-protein meals (each ficelle is about 190 calories). Serving suggestions (gawd, I feel like Susie Homemaker) include:

  • Nonfat yogurt infused with Vietnamese red sauce
  • A nice lamb stew
  • An unusual counterpoint to a very spicy eggplant cabbage curry


  • 4C unbleached flour
  • 1C millet
  • 1C quinoa
  • 1/4C flaxseed
  • 1/4C dried onion flakes
  • 1/4C granulated garlic
  • 1T light salt
  • 1T yeast
  • 1.5T sesame oil
  • 1t sugar
  • Optional: chili pepper flakes, cracked peppercorns, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients but optional ones and oil in a mixer
  2. Add warm water until you’ve got a firm, slightly sticky ball
  3. Take 1/2 the oil and coat bowl. Roll dough into bowl, cover, and let rise 45-60 minutes
  4. Knead thoroughly, then divide into 16 equal balls
  5. If you’re using optional ingredients, spread them evenly on a cutting board
  6. Pull 2 oven baking racks and loosely lay tinfoil on them, letting them (so the ficelles can rest on them). Use the reserved sesame oil to LIGHTLY coat the tinfoil. If you’re a foodie with ficelle racks, please accept my total hatred of you 😉
  7. Roll each ball into a snake about 12″ (30cm) long
  8. If you’re using optional roll-ons, by all means roll them on. The ficelles.
  9. Lay the ficelles down on the racks and cover (if you’ve not got enough towels, support your local energy oligopoly and use plastic wrap)
  10. Let rise for 20 minutes, then set the oven to 475°F. Put a cast-iron or metal pan in the bottom with 1″-2″ water in it (don’t use Pyrex, it may well explode!)
  11. Let the ficelles rise an additional 15 minutes.
  12. Bake for 9 minutes, then reduce temperature to 425°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  13. Remove, and let cool on wire racks (or flipped upside-down in their trays at least 15 minutes before cutting open.

Yield: 16 ficelles