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Recipe for :

Clarke's Onion and Herb Ficelle

This recipe is published with the permission of the Flour Advisory Bureau.

Since 1956 the Flour Advisory Bureau (FAB for short) has been providing information on all matters relating to and concerning flour and bread in the UK to the public, media, schools, health professionals, the catering, retailing and baking trade.

FAB is also keen to encourage people to eat more bread as part of a healthy, balanced diet. From educational material to issue led PR initiatives, the promotion of bread in all its variety, versatility, vitality and not least the nutritional value has always been a priority for FAB.

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For the Sponge:
75g strong white flour
75g warm water
1/2 tsp dried active yeast
1tsp malt extract

For the dough:
300g strong wholemeal flour
125g strong white flour
250ml cold water
10g salt
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
handful of chopped, mixed, fresh herbs (of your choice)


  • First mix the sponge (this will help get the yeast started). Dissolve the yeast and the malt in the warm water, then mix in the flour. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook the onions in the olive oil over a low heat for 12 - 15 minutes, until soft and transparent (but not brown). Add the herbs, transfer to a dish and leave to cool.
  • Measure whole wheat flour, white flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir the onions in with the yeast mixture, then mix this with the flour. Stir together with your hands until you have a rough dough, then tip this out on to a floured surface and knead for 1 - 2 minutes. Replace the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave for 15 minutes. Then give the dough one more light knead, replace in the bowl and leave for 45 minutes. Leaving the dough for a short time between two short kneads will give a better result to the final loaf.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly knead each piece into a ball, then flatten it with the palm of your hand. Roll each flatten disk up (like a mini swiss roll), then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Then roll each piece of dough into a stick approximately 12 inches long, place on a flour dusted baking sheet, cover with a cloth and leave to prove for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until lightly coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 4

Recipe by Clinton Kay from Clarke's Bread
Flour Advisory Bureau