Sourdough French Bread

"You can produce an authentic French loaf in your own kitchen. This really works! Adapted for the bread machine from a recipe found in "World Sourdoughs From Antiquity", by Ed Wood. Prep time includes proofing time for sourdough starter."
photo by Daniel M. photo by Daniel M.
photo by Daniel M.
photo by CrazyBreadLady photo by CrazyBreadLady
photo by Bonnie G #2 photo by Bonnie G #2
photo by Red_Apple_Guy photo by Red_Apple_Guy
photo by Bonnie G #2 photo by Bonnie G #2
Ready In:
15hrs 50mins
2 loaves




  • Put ingredients, in order listed, into bread machine pan.
  • Set machine for dough cycle and start.
  • At end of dough cycle, turn dough out onto a floured surface.
  • If dough is too sticky, knead in a little additional flour.
  • Divide dough into 2 equal portions and flatten each into a 1 1/2 inch thick oval.
  • Fold oval in half once lengthwise and pinch seam to make an elongate loaf.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the loaves on the sheet seam side down.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees F) until about doubled in bulk.
  • Place a shallow pan of hot water on the lower shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Make shallow slashes in tops of loaves with a razor blade or finely serrated knife, held at a 30 degree angle.
  • Place the loaves in the oven and immediately spray them and the oven walls with water from a fine mister, and avoid spraying oven light.
  • Repeat this spraying 3 additional times at one minute intervals.
  • Continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes or until brown, but remove pan of water from oven after the first 15 minutes.
  • Remove loaves from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.
  • *To proof sourdough culture, start with 1/2 cup of culture and stir into it 1 1/2 cups warm water and 1 1/2 cups flour.
  • Cover with plastic and let sit 8 to 12 hours (the longer it sits, the more 'sour' your bread will taste).
  • At this point, measure out the 2 cups required and proceed with recipe; returning any extra to the starter pot to save in the refrigerator until you want to use it again.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Donna, this is a wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing it. I made mine into two long loaves in a french bread form. Although i sprayed them with water when they went into the oven, I find that a pan of ice cubes works nicely. Plus, you don't have to mess with it once the bread is in the oven. Thanks again.
  2. Superb! Light and a nice thick crust. Hope you don't mind DonnaM I was concerned there was no sugar so I added 1Tblsp sugar as well as 1 tsp Vital Gluten. I read that it helps with sourdough. I will be making this one again and again!
  3. Nice, light loaf with good texture and flavor. I had one cup of sourdough starter in my freezer, so I thawed and proofed it as directed in step 15. Then I followed the mixing and kneading directions. I put all the dough in one large loaf pan. After making slit in top of loaf, I spritzed the top of loaf with water. I put sauce pan of water and the loaf of dough in a COLD oven and turned temp. to 375 degrees and baked the required time - about 40 minutes. The bread turned out very light and high, as it rose even more while the oven was heating. I will be making this bread weekly for sandwiches. Thanks Donna for a very good recipe!
  4. I used another sourdough recipe and made it through two rise cycles in my bread machine and then baked it following your directions. Worked fantastic!
  5. I make this dough/bread several times per week in my Zoj. Don't forget to preheat a metal pan on the bottom of the oven and through a couple of handfuls of ice cubes into it when you put in the bread. I preheat the pan as long as I preheat the oven. The steam it gives off makes the crust so much better. Also, when I make it I always brush the tops with beaten egg whites prior to baking. <br/><br/>I have several variations I have used as well. I sometimes sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, with garlic powder and some parmigiano regianno cheese, or even with some grated asiago (after adding a cup of grated asiago to the dough as well when the mix-ins beeper sounds). Try these and I'm sure you'll enjoy these tasty options.



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