Sourdough French Bread

Recipe by Donna M.
READY IN: 15hrs 50mins
YIELD: 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.