Recipe: Fonio Breads

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Recipes & more Fonio

Wonderful breads can be baked from the millet species Fonio. Whether aromatic Fonio sourdough bread with a nutty flavour or gluten-free bread made from your own Fonio starter - Fonio is the basis for these delicious bread recipes. Recipe from Alexis Görtz, Edible Alchemy

Sourdough is a culture of wild, natural bacteria and yeasts that live harmoniously together in a mixture of flour and water. To make delicious sourdough bread, all one needs is flour, water, salt and yeast.


  • 100 g flour
  • 100 g water


  1. Combine equal parts (weight in grams) flour and water (e.g. 100g flour 100g water) in a jar with a cloth cover so it can breathe and interact with the yeasts in air (aerobic).
  2. Feed daily equal parts water and flour until bubbling (around day 3-7).
  3. Activate the starter by feeding (equal parts water and flour) ~5-8 hours before preparing the dough.
  4. The starter should be at its highest point and full of bubbles when using for baking. If you have a flat or tired starter, your bread will be flat too.
  5. When not using starter: put it in fridge and will last 2-3 weeks without feeding – when using after long refrigeration, it will need 2-3 feedings before its active enough to bake with again.

Note: If starter is left out too long, it will rise to its highest point and then fall and produce hooch (a watery liquid on the top). Pour it out and feed the starter. Do not mix it in as it contributes to an unbalance of yeasts in sour.

In this recipe we incorporate the nutrient dense fonio flour to make a flavourful and nutty tasting bread. As fonio doesn’t have gluten, the loaf will be denser than a regular sourdough.


  • 275 g active sourdough starter (e.g. wheat, rye, spelt)
  • 300 g lukewarm water
  • 300 g wheat flour
  • 300 g fonio flour (milled in a home-stone mill or high-powered blender)
  • 12 g salt


  1. Mix sourdough starter and water together in a bowl.
  2. Add flour and kneed for 5 mins until the dough is not tearing and smooth. You may have to wet your hands as the moisture evaporates as you do this. Put on a couple of your favourite songs to time yourself and to dance to as you kneed.
  3. Let dough sit for 20min-1hour for the flours to absorb the water and become easier to work with.
  4. After the wait, add and fold in salt and any other spices, flavours, raisins, nuts, seeds here. Do not punch bread down, but rather try to stretch and fold. By doing this we are creating networks of gluten webs that will hold our bubbles in better. Stretch until it can, do not break the stretch as it weakens the dough.
  5. Stretch and fold about 30 times around turning the bowl.
  6. Let the dough rest for 20-40 minutes on the counter after last stretch and fold.
  7. Shaping: Shape the dough ball by folding the four edges and dragging the dough ball on the counter surface until it rolls into a perfect bun shape.
  8. Place in a rising basket.
  9. Place basket in a plastic bag or with a wet cloth over top to hold moisture and then in the fridge overnight to slowly rise and proof before baking. OR: Let sit on the counter for 4-6 hours (depending how warm your space is – be careful not to over rise) before baking.
  10. When your dough has risen in the basket, tip it over onto the baking surface and with a sharp razor or knife, slice the top of the bread as an X so it can rise and stretch up as it bakes.
  11. Turn the oven to 220 degrees.
  12. Put a glass or metal bowl over top of your bread to create a controlled heat environment where steam is allowed to build up.
  13. For extra moisture and steam, put a small eggcup of water inside or spritz the loaf with water before putting it in the oven.
  14. I do not pre-heat the oven or bowl before putting my bread in for this method. Simply put in the bread covered with the bowl and start timing. However, every oven is different, so adjust as needed.
  15. Bake bread for 30-35mins with bowl covering bread.
  16. Remove bowl from bread (careful – as its hot!) and bake an additional 11-15 mins to make a crusty flavourful darkened crust.
  17. Let bread sit at least 30 mins before slicing into. It is still baking once out of the oven. I know – it’s tempting!

Note: If you have a Dutch-Oven, one must pre-heat it in the oven for 30 minutes before putting the bread in with the lid on.


  • 300 g Fonio
  • 300 g Water


It takes about 3 days to have an active starter. Make sure you have a jar that is big enough to hold a rising sourdough (approx. 500ml).

Day 1:

  • Mill the fonio in a home-stone mill or a high-powered blender.
  • In an open vessel combine 100g fonio flour and 100g warm unchlorinated water.
  • Use a paper-towel and an elastic band to cover the vessel so that wild yeasts can enter the mix.

Day 2:

  • Add 100g fonio flour and 100g warm water to the mix

Day 3:

  • Take out about 1/2 the mixture and add 100g fonio flour and 100 g warm water.
  • After about 5 hours after feeding, you should see that the mixture has risen. To check this, it’s good to have a transparent vessel to observe the bubbles in the mixture.

In this recipe we ground all our grains fresh which adds an amazing nutty flavour to the bread.


  • 500 ml water
  • 15 g psyllium husk
  • 150 g active sourdough starter (instructions here)
  • 15 g salt
  • 30 g agave syrup
  • 100 g fonio flour
  • 100 g tapioca starch
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 100 g brown rice flour
  • 100 g oat flour


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the water, salt, agave syrup, sourdough starter and psyllium husks together. After some minutes the psyllium husks make a gel consistency.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in another mixing bowl. You can mill the grains fresh using a home-stone mill or even a high-powered blender.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined.
  4. Pour into a bread pan. Either line the pan with baking paper or use some oil on the edges to allow the bread to come out easier. Cover with any seeds or nuts if desired.
  5. Cover bread with a wet cloth or a plastic bag and put into fridge overnight to allow for a slow rise.
  6. The next day take out the bread from the fridge and pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Bake for 80 min. Then remove from pan to cool down.
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