November 17, 2011

Sourdough French Bread

The wait is finally over. Sourdough bread reigns supreme in our kitchen. It turns out, the starter is the hardest part. After that, if you have a bit of patience, some flour, water, and salt the rest is easy-peasy.

Sourdough French Bread:

Mix one cup sourdough starter, 3/4 cup luke warm water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the dough hook to knead the ingredients until they begin to come together into a ball. Untangle the dough ball from the hook and let it rest in the mixer for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 5+ minutes. Shape the dough into a loose loaf. Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with a light layer of olive oil and return the loaf/ball the the bowl. Now, it's time for the longest wait. Cover with a damp towel and plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 4-8 hours. I've found that about 6 hours is the minimum for me. The dough should double in size and not spring back when touched.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Form into a loaf and set on a cookie sheet. I set mine on a silicon baking mat - those things are the best! You could also sprinkle the cookie sheet with a light layer of cornmeal to keep the bread from sticking when it bakes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap for the second rise - this time on 1-3 hours.

When the dough has doubled in size, remove plastic wrap, slash dough 2-4 times with a sharp knife and brush with water. I use my husbands silicon grill brush and it works great! Bake the bread for about 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 400° or until the outside is a nice light brown and the inside reads 200-210° on an instant-read thermometer. Set bread on a cutting board to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

Then all that's left to do is keep yourself from eating the entire loaf in one sitting!


  1. Ok, besides making the starter, the other part that scares me is keeping the starter alive. How do you do that?

    PS - veeery pretty profile pic. :-)

  2. It's much easier than I thought it would be. It lives in my refrigerator and requires basically no maintenance. I use it about once per week and feed it when I use it.

    Feeding means I replace the 1 cup of starter I use in my recipe with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour in the starter and it starts growing happily again. Crazy.