No trip to the bulk bin area of the supermarket is ever quite complete to me without bagging a few scoops out of the sesame stick container. After so much barley and millet and quinoa has been piled up in my cart, something a little fun and snappy just seems to be in order. I had never even considered making them for myself at home as a result–the whole point of the exercise was that it was a treat–but they seemed like a simple enough thing to whip up in the kitchen once I started to think about it.

And, at the end of the day, they can be more or less a one-bowl-and-stir creation. The shaping is where I got hung up. At first, I thought I could get a dough that would just flow out of the wide nozzle of a pastry gun, but that was a fool’s game. A rolled out and neatly sliced dough was quite tasty when baked up, but the straight-edged rectangles visually said “cracker” to me more than “fun snack!” They just weren’t the little snakes of sesame that my brain recognized and loved. So I picked up a piece of the raw cut dough, rolled it quickly just three times between my palms, and there is was. By the time I had a whole sheet, however, I wondered how much I really cared about the shape. What was so wrong with rectangles, my back protested. So shape them however your tastes demand. Uniformity for even baking is the important thing.

Sesame Sticks: Ingredients

DIY Sesame Sticks
makes about 3 cups

1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) cup fine cracked wheat
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon beet root powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons water

Combine flour, sesame seeds, cracked wheat, turmeric, beet powder, garlic powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. In a small bowl, combine water and oil. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand.

Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic, flattening into inch-thick squares. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling.

Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into small rectangles (approximately 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch). Alternately, roll and cut dough to your desired shape. Uniformity is more important than size to assure even baking.

Sesame Sticks: Shaping

Leave the pieces as they are or roll each one quickly between your palms to form thin rods. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for ten minutes, then flip or roll the pieces around on the sheet so that the bottoms don’t brown. Continue baking 5-8 minutes more, until sticks are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


This recipe was created for my “DIY vs. Buy” column on Serious Eats.