Baking | Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … rustic bread with caramelised onions, walnuts, dehydrated tomatoes and mozzarella

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

Millet & Whole Wheat French FougasseMillet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … this bread is like music to my ears; a celebration of all things ‘breadily‘ good! Rustic, earthy, chewy … good to grain! Warmer days are here. Feels like we missed spring somewhere along the way and landed up in summer. The days can only get hotter as the mercury hits 32C. At times like these, yeast is my BFF, performs beautifully, making me want to experiment endlessly.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse We had a beautiful wholewheat soda bread that Sangeeta made while we drove from Pune to Baramati for the vineyard visit. I think I ate most of it, greedy me. It was bursting with earthy flavours of whole wheat and sun dried tomatoes. The whole wheat was stone ground and you could tell because of the texture. It had been given a good dunking of extra virgin olive oil too.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse Bread like this makes you wake up and notice how good whole grain can get. Plain flour just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. The more I see plain flour breads on menus across eateries and in stores, the worse I feel. Whole grain is good and it’s a good choice to opt for.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse 4Someone once told me that the luxury of plain flour bread is the way to go. You can eat salad and maybe soup on the side, other greens and veggies to tank up on fibre, and yet not feel guilty about ‘white bread’. I beg to differ.

BreadWhole grain isn’t a punishment. Get used to it gradually and it might be difficult to return to plain flour. It’s a choice you have, and a good one you might make especially if you have young kids with changing palettes.  Make a gradual change and you’ll be surprised at how they jump to fresh home made whole grain bread.

Dehydrated tomatoesSun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful addition to breads. My last experience of store bought ones from Fab India was pathetic. I didn’t have time to make some, so figured the Philips AirFryer could help a bit. I have now begun caramelising onions after Abha mentioned it to me one day! Great discovery! 1 tsp of oil for 1 sliced onion is all it takes, and a few minutes.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse In went sliced tomatoes tossed in olive oil, dried herbs, garlic and some sea salt. Can say YUMMM? Just wonderful… it took about 15-20 minutes as I experimented on different settings but was thrilled to get just what I wanted. I always have a batch bottled in the fridge now.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse The fougasse is as rustic as it gets. You will find a selection of French Fougasse, this flat French bread, on my blog as we love it at home. I began with a plain flour bread, graduated to part pain flour, part whole wheat, and this time did a version with some sprouted ragi flour / millet.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse Rustic, moorish, and delicious! If you are a new to whole grain breads,  the earthy flavours will gradually grow on you. It’s a dough that takes well to additions. Roasted garlic, roasted bell peppers, salty olives, sun dried tomatoes, caramelised onions, feta, fresh herbs, nuts {I particularly like walnuts in here} but let your imagination lead you.

[print_this]Recipe: Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse  your picture

Summary: Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … bread as rustic as it gets. If you are a new to whole grain breads,  the earthy flavours will gradually grow on you. It’s a dough that takes well to additions. Roasted garlic, roasted bell peppers, salty olives, sun dried tomatoes, caramelised onions, feta, fresh herbs, nuts … let your imagination lead you!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour {plus resting time}

  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 100g wholewheat flour
  • 75g finger millet {sprouted ragi flour}
  • 300ml warm water {divided 200ml + 50ml+ 50ml}
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 30g olive oil + 15g for garlic
  • 10g /1.5tsp salt
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced &  dehydrated {or sundried tomatoes}, chopped
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced, caramelised
  • 100g mozzarella, chopped
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • Extra olive oil for brushing
  • Sea salt for sprinkling


  1. Squeeze out the roasted head of garlic and mash with 15g /1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Reserve in a small bowl.
  2. Take 50ml of water {lukewarm} & dissolve the yeast into it. Stir the salt and 30ml of olive oil into 200ml of water.
  3. Mix the flours, make a well in the centre and pour the yeast/water mixture into it. Use the remaining 50ml  water if required.
  4. Knead to a dough, kneading further on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, till smooth & elastic.
  5. Thermomix: Place both flours, salt and yeast in bowl of TM and whiz for 5 seconds on speed 10. Add the 250ml water and olive oil and mix on Speed 6 for 30 seconds. {Gradually add remaining 50ml water as required}. Knead in closed position for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Place in an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap & leave in a warm place for about an hour until doubled.
  7. Punch down & divide into 2.
  8. Roll one half out to about an 12″ oval, spread half the roasted garlic olive oil mixture on the base, sprinkle over half the snipped tomatoes, caramelised onions, half the walnuts and half the cheese. {Reserve some tomatoes and onions for topping if you like}
  9. Season lightly salt and freshly ground pepper. Roll up gently like a swiss roll.
  10. Fold over the dough 2-3 times on itself to incorporate the stuffing.
  11. Shape each back into a flattish ball, then fold the bottom third up, & top third down to make an oblong. {I made one big round bread and one oblong, but the latter is tradional}
  12. Roll into ovals with a flat base, cut slits diagonally, three on each side. Pull slightly to open the cuts. {Repeat with the other half.}
  13. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover with cling wrap & leave to double for 35-40 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  14. Preheat the oven to 220C, brush the loaves with olive oil, sprinkle over sea salt {and tomatoes and onions if you like} and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes till golden brown. Brush with more olive oil as they come out of the oven. Cool on racks. Serve warm {that’s how we love it} or at room temperature with extra virgin olive oil or butter!


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


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