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Sourdough French Bread

Since receiving the recipe for the Sourdough Starter, I've made this French bread countless times. In fact, one year I donated 2 dozen loaves for a benefit dinner! These loaves rival any found in stores and can be made with relative ease. — Delila George, Junction City, Oregon
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    2 loaves (10 slices each)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup Sourdough Starter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • CORNSTARCH WASH:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the Sourdough Starter, oil, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough additional flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 20-30 times (dough will be slightly sticky). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each into a 12x8-in. rectangle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch ends to seal. Place seam side down on 2 greased baking sheets; tuck ends under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • With a sharp knife, make 4 shallow diagonal slashes across top of each loaf. In a small saucepan, combine water and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Brush some over loaves.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Brush loaves with remaining cornstarch wash. Bake until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 116 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 237mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • Ashley
    Jun 28, 2020

    This recipe is perfect if you want a mild sour dough taste. When I want a stronger tang I like to add 3/4 tsp of citric acid along with the salt in the recipe, and I increase the amount of starter to 3/4th a cup-1 cup. I also let dough rise for an additional hour during both rising times.

  • Angela
    Jun 8, 2020

    This is the best tasting French bread with a fairly simple recipe. My kids keep asking me to make it again and again with my husband nodding In agreement. Plus I get 2 loaves out of it. I will never buy store bread again. Just follow the recipe and it’s perfect every time.

  • Leslie
    May 17, 2020

    First time I have made this recipe. I adjusted as follows: 1. I mixed: 240 grams of flour 280 grams of water 56 grams sourdough starter the night before as someone suggests below. In the morning, I mixed the remainder of the ingredients. [be sure to remember to subtract the ingredients used overnight.] 2. I used Bread Machine [instant yeast] as that is what I have on hand. To use the Bread Machine yeast, I reduced the amount of yeast by 25% - that measures out to 9.46 grams of Bread Machine yeast; 3. I added that to the remaining dry ingredients [270 grams flour, 2T sugar, 2t salt, 2T canola oil. I heated the remaining 112 grams of water and added that to the mixture]. I added all of that to the sourdough starter/flour-water mix I had prepared the night before. I mixed everything in my KitchenAid mixer with dough hook. I likely added about another cup of flour to get the mixture to form into a soft ball. [otherwise too sticky.] Where I could convert from volume measurement to weight measurement I did. 4. Also as someone suggested below, I had a pan of water in the oven to be able to get a great crust. Looks amazing and tastes as great as it looks!!

  • aaltvater
    Apr 22, 2020

    The best French bread I think I’ve ever had. Super easy, thank you!

  • karen
    Mar 5, 2020

    I simply followed the very easy recipe and to my great satisfaction I enjoyed two loaves of delicious sourdough french bread. The only thing I did differently was to put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, which I learned is important to get that great crunchy crust. My loaves look stunning and the taste lives up to how they look. This recipe will go to my "top three" recipe file! You've GOT to try this!

  • Rae
    Jan 1, 2019

    Brilliant recipe - I have made french bread before but the dough was through my bread maker (which broke). I followed the directions to make the dough and left it to rise for 1 1/2 hours - only I didn't knead it with flour - instead I used a wooden spatula and left it in the bowl - I covered that with a plate. 1 1/2 hours later I am laughing - apparently I miscalculated the rise - the plate was lifted up an inch over the top. I went through adding flour, dividing, and rolling out - only for one loaf I sprinkled it with dark cocoa powder (unsweetened), then rolled it up. For the second loaf I rolled it out, then added raisins (about 1/2 cup) using the rolling pin I gently pushed them into the dough - followed with a sprinkle of Cinnamon. My loafs are rising at the moment and will hit the oven shortly - looking forward to seeing how they do. My next loafs will be with Rosemary (I have fresh bushes and will need to dry out some leaves) yum - can't wait to try the breads :)

  • Bijouslily
    Dec 11, 2018

    This is my go bread recipe. I've made it following the recipe exactly and it is really great. I've now tweaked it just a little and add 2/3 c of starter now to get more of that sourdough flavor. I've also added rosemary to this recipe and it was amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  • Terry
    Mar 19, 2018

    I love this recipe-the bread turned out quite dense and chewy. Will make this again!!

  • Ty
    Sep 10, 2017

    Excellent... here's a good way to take it up a notch with the sourdough flavor. The evening before you make the bread, Mix 2 cups of the flour and 1 and 1/4 cups of the water with the sourdough and leave it on the counter. The next day, mix the rest of the ingredients as provided in the recipe remembering to reduce the flour and water by the amount used the day before. To take it up a notch more, add 1 Tablespoon of dried rosemary to the dough. I also follow Ken Forkish's suggestion and instead of scoring the dough, turn the dough seam side up... it does the exact same thing as scoring without having to worry about the size, depth and number of scores.

  • BigAppleAnnie
    Jan 29, 2017

    Ah! Here's the recipe I searched for and didn't find, as mentioned in my comment about the recipe for Sour Dough Starter. Great ... gonna do this asap!