Crunchy ficelles

Crunchy ficelles

French Lessons
500 g
20 mins
Cooking time
12 mins
Steve Brown

This is another simple bread dough that we use to make long, crunchy breadsticks to serve as an accompaniment with soups, salads and cheese plates – so much more interesting than boring old croutons. The dough is left to prove in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This subdues the activity of the yeast and prevents the dough from rising too quickly and too much. To make traditional ficelles, rather than this crunchy version, simply allow the dough to prove for a second time (15 minutes or so) after rolling into long, thin breadsticks.


Quantity Ingredient
110ml water
10g salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
300g strong bread flour
50ml clarified butter
90g butter, softened
sea salt


  1. Before you start, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh yeast and water until completely dissolved.
  2. Put all the ingredients except clarified butter and sea salt into your electric mixer. With the dough hook attached, knead on the lowest speed for 5 minutes. Make sure the flour is mixed in completely. Cover the bowl with a cloth and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Scoop the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a rectangle, around 1 cm thick. Use a sharp knife to cut long thin strips, about 2 cm wide. Roll each strip on the work surface to make long, thin breadsticks.
  4. Transfer to a baking tray. Brush each breadstick with a little clarified butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and lift the ficelles onto wire racks to cool. They can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.


  • Truffle ficelles: Mix 2 tablespoons chopped fresh truffle and a few drops of truffle oil into the basic dough while kneading.

    Mushroom ficelles: Mix 2 tablespoons cep powder into the basic dough while kneading.

    Olive ficelles: Mix 3 tablespoons finely chopped green or black olives into the basic dough while kneading.
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