These chewy, dense, fruit-and-nut filled sticks are a specialty of Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery chain with American outposts in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. We’ve tweaked their recipe to make it accessible to home bakers.
For the starter: Combine the starter ingredients, cover, and let rise at cool room temperature overnight, until expanded and bubbly.
Place the hazelnuts in an ungreased 9" x 13" pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 24 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown. Set them aside. (If you’re using walnuts, bake them for about 12 minutes.)
Combine the starter, flour, salt, water, and yeast, mixing and kneading to make a soft dough. Knead for several minutes; the dough will be sticky, but try to avoid adding more flour. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes. Gently deflate the dough, turn it over, and let it rise an additional 45 minutes.
Knead the nuts and raisins into the dough. Yes, this is a LOT of fruit and nuts to try to knead in; just keep working at it. The finished breadsticks are more fruit and nuts than dough!
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Working on a floured surface, stretch and roll the pieces 10" long. Place flûtes 2" apart on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, six to a sheet. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375°F
Bake the flûtes for 10 minutes. Gently lay a sheet of aluminum foil over each pan. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through the baking time. The finished flûtes will be set and barely beginning to turn golden. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yield: a dozen 10" flûtes.
Note: To avoid the potential of burned raisins on the bottom of the flûtes, bake each pan separately, placing it in the upper third of the oven. Or bake pans at the same time, but for 30 minutes only, even if the flûtes haven’t yet begun to brown.