This Simple Sourdough French Bread is recognized by its light and soft crumb encased in a beautiful well-browned crust and even more delectable to eat. It’s a showstopper and sure to be your new favorite sourdough recipe!
This simple sourdough french bread pairs well with any meal. It’s beautiful to showcase and it’s even more deliciously soft, fluffy and chewy on the inside. I often make these loaves on repeat because they are so versatile and everyone loves them.
These french breads pair so nicely with homemade soup and chili. Or get creative and use the loaves to build a sub sandwich, a meatball sandwich or even an open face sub with bruschetta on top.
NEED A SOURDOUGH STARTER?
Before we get started you will need a sourdough starter. If you do not have one yet, here is a Day by Day Guide to help you make your own Sourdough Starter. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of sourdough, check out my “Why Sourdough?“
Ingredients to make simple sourdough french bread:
- Sourdough Starter
- Bread Flour
- Filtered Water
- Honey, Maple Syrup or Sugar
- Avocado oil
- Unrefined Salt
How to make Simple Sourdough french bread
To a stand mixer, add sourdough starter, flour, water, sugar, oil and salt. Mix on high for 5 minutes. This helps work the gluten while fully incorporating the sourdough starter throughout the dough. The dough should be a very pliable ball and not stick too much to your hands.
Remove the dough and place into a lightly greased large glass bowl. Cover with tight fitting lid or reusable shower cap to keep in moisture. Place in a warm spot and let dough ferment for 6-12 hours. It should expand and grow to nearly double its starting size.
Remember to watch the dough and not the time. Sourdough is a natural process and dependent on the temperature of your home. If it’s summertime and your home is very warm, your sourdough ferments will go quicker than winter months where your home is cooler. Sourdough thrives in a warm environment.
Once the ferment has doubled remove dough from the bowl and place onto counter. I like to lightly grease my counter so the dough doesn’t stick. You can also use a small smear of water.
Grab your Kitchen Scale and divide the dough in half making sure both halves are the same weight.
Roll each half into a long rectangle. The length of your dough is how long your bread will be. So make sure it will fit onto your cooking pan.
Starting with the long side closest to you, roll each rectangle into a log similar to a cinnamon roll. Pinch the seams together both on the long side and at the top and bottom of the log. You can even tuck the ends gently underneath the log to make sure the seam stays pinched shut during cooking.
Place dough logs onto a french bread baking pan. If you don’t have one you can also lay them onto a cookie sheet. The baking pan does help hold the shape and structure, while also allowing them to bake evenly because of their ventilation.
It does make baking these easier so if you plan to bake a lot of french bread I recommend investing in a french bread baking pan.
Proof the dough logs for 1-2 hours. They should get nice and puffy during this time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grad an egg and add 1 tsp of water. Mix together water and egg and brush onto each dough log. Using a bread lame slash diagonal lines down each log. Or if you prefer one long line down the center from one end to the other, by all means go that route! The cuts allow the bread to rise and expand during baking.
Bake the loaves for 17-20 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside.
Allow them to cool slightly and enjoy!
Struggling to get your sourdough starter to rise?
As I stated above, sourdough thrives in a warm environment. So what do you do in the winter when your house is below 70 degrees? Well you can either allow more time for the ferment. Or you can help aide your sourdough ferments by using a seedling mat.
Simply place your seedling mat onto the counter, plug it in and place the bowl of fermenting sourdough on top. The mat gives off a minimal amount of heat and it’s just enough to help aide the ferment. It gives it that warm environment needed to thrive.
Have you ever used this method before? I live in the Midwest and winters get cold! This is an absolute necessity for me to get through those cold winter months. Because after all, winter and fresh bread just go together!
10 ideas to use with simple sourdough french bread
- French Bread Pizzas
- Pair with soup or chili
- Sub Sandwiches
- Meatball Sandwich
- Open faced with bruschetta or cut log to dip bread into bruschetta
- Garlic Bread
- French Toast
- Top with Spinach and artichoke dip
- Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Crazy enough but you can turn it into croutons or homemade bread crumbs
Pin for Later:
Let’s make Simple Sourdough French Bread
- 200g Sourdough Starter
- 450g Bread Flour
- 250g Filtered Water
- 1/4 cup Honey, Maple Syrup or Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Avocado oil
- 2 tsp Unrefined Salt
- 1 Egg + 1 tsp water (for egg wash)
1. To a stand mixer, add sourdough starter, flour, water, sugar, oil and salt. Mix on high for 5 minutes. *Dough should be pliable and not stick too much to your hands. If using honey or maple syrup add an extra tablespoon or two more of flour until dough is no longer sticky.
2. Place dough into a lightly greased large glass bowl. Cover with tight fitting lid or reusable shower cap to keep in moisture. Place in a warm spot and let dough ferment for 6-12 hours. *It should expand and grow to nearly double its starting size.
**Optional Stretch and Folds: After Dough is mixed, place into a covered greased bowl. Rest dough for 30 minutes then perform your first set of stretch and folds. Take your hand and reach under the side of the dough. Gently pull dough upwards and fold over itself. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and stretch the dough again and fold. Repeat 2 more folds for a total of 4 times. Cover and rest dough for more 30 minutes. (I recommend setting a timer to alert you) Perform a total of 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes for two hours. This is not necessary but really helps build structure in the dough and I do highly recommend doing it if you have time.
3. Using a Kitchen Scale divide the dough in half making sure both halves are the same weight.
4. Roll each half into a long rectangle. *The length of your dough is how long your bread will be. So be sure it will fit onto your cooking pan.
5. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll each rectangle into a log. Pinch the seams together both on the long side and at the top and bottom of the log. You can even tuck the ends gently underneath to make sure the seam stays pinched during cooking.
6. Place dough logs onto a french bread baking pan. *If you don't have one you can also lay them onto a cookie sheet. And proof the logs for 1-2 hours in the oven with the light on. *Please don't turn your oven on during this time! Dough should get nice and puffy.
7. Remove proofing dough from oven and Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
8. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp of water to a small bowl and mix together. Brush egg wash onto each dough log. Using a bread lame slash diagonal lines down each log. Or if you prefer one long line down the center from one end to the other, by all means go that route!
9. Bake at 400 degrees for 17-20 minutes, until they are golden brown on the outside. Allow them to cool slightly and enjoy!
For a longer ferment you can cold proof in the fridge for up to 24 hours after the second proof. Remove and allow them to come to room temp then follow baking directions.
To freeze, wrap tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in plastic bag with air removed so they don't get freezer burnt. Good frozen for up to 2 months.