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Soft Sourdough French Bread

Crispy but soft, tangy and light this sourdough french bread is made with 100% sourdough starter and is absolutely delicious.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Rise Time 16 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 2 loaves

Ingredients
  

Leaven: 8-12 hours before mixing dough

  • 1 Tablespoon sourdough starter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup room temperature water

Dough

  • All of the leaven or 1 1/4 cups bubbly sourdough starter
  • 2 cups room temperature water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6-7 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten *see recipe notes

Instructions
 

Leaven

  • Eight to twelve hours before mixing the dough, add 1 Tablespoon of ripe sourdough starter to a small bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup water to the starter. Mix together and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 8-12 hours until it has doubled in size and passes the float test.

Mixing the Dough

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook add the bubbly leaven, water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil.
  • Add 5.5 cups flour and the vital wheat gluten and mix. Continue adding flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, the dough is tacky (but not overly sticky) and you can pinch of a piece of dough, roll it in your fingers and just have a little bit of residual dough on your fingers. Check out these tips to know if your dough is ready.
  • Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes (set a timer and let the mixer go) and add a Tablespoon of flour at a time as needed.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 8-12 hours (overnight).
  • The next morning the dough will have risen. The amount of rise depends a lot on the temperature of your kitchen. Don't worry, if your starter is very active, it will be okay.
  • Transfer the dough to a countertop. Cut the dough in two sections for two large loaves or in three for three smaller loaves.
  • Pat the dough into a rectangle and roll up cinnamon-roll style, pinching the seams closed as you roll.
  • Repeat with the remaining sourdough loaves.
  • Place the loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet or use a baguette bread pan. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise for 3-6 hours until puffy and almost doubled in size (the time will depend on the warmth of your kitchen).

Baking the Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Throw a handful of ice cubes into the bottom of the oven while it preheats.
  • Slash or score the loaves with a bread lame or sharp knife.
  • Bake the bread for 35 minutes until a nice golden color. Brush with melted butter and let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

Vital Wheat Gluten: If you don't have vital wheat gluten (I buy mine here), you can omit it and use bread flour in place of all purpose flour. 
Keyword soft french bread, sourdough bread