Nov 162009

Remember that Boeuf Bourguignon? This is the bread I made to go with it. It is amazing. It is the bread recipe I’ve been looking to make forever. It easily replaces (and is so much better) than the sourdough boules you’ll find at your local grocery store bakery. Soft and slightly tangy sourdough flavor,

with a firm crust that crackles when you squeeze it

and a soft interior that squishes down pleasantly to the tooth. This would be excellent formed into boules and filled with your favorite holiday dip (crab? Spinach? Hot artichoke?), sliced and eaten as a sandwich and is amazing served simply with butter next to a bowl of hot soup (or, ahem, Boeuf Bourguignon).

I like this recipe because it’s kind of a “cheater” sourdough recipe. It allows you to make bread in one day, without having to make a sponge or (gasp!) plan for it a day in advance, because you cheat a little and use a little bit of commercial yeast, yet still tastes like amazing sourdough bread.

Plus, the egg wash makes the outside shiny like you bought it at a fancy bakery.
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup recently fed sourdough starter
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for the salt. Stir to combine and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead until a dough forms, then, wet hands with water and knead for five to seven minutes. If hands get sticky, re-wet them.

Your dough will be well-formed, but sticky and a teensy bit slack. It is important not to add very much more flour to the dough. You will be surpried how much better your bread will be when you knead with wet rather than floured hands.

Allow dough to rest for twenty to thirty minutes on your board.

Upon returning, add salt to the dough and knead (with wet hands) for five minutes more, making sure that the salt gets well incorporated throughout the dough.

Form into a ball and place into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about ninety minutes.

Once dough has risen, either cut into two pieces (to form two smaller loaves, each suitable for dinner for four, or so) or one large loaf.

In my most recent batch (the one photographed above) I split the dough into two and formed one into an oval loaf and the other I braided using Leila’s technique.

Form dough and allow to rise, covered, on a prepared pizza peel covered in cornmeal, or on a rimless cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Let rise for about one hour.

30 minutes into the second rising, begin heating oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a baking stone on the bottom rack.

Once loaves are risen, slash loaves, if appropriate, and brush with an egg wash. Immediately place in hot oven on baking stone and quickly close the door (if using the parchment paper technique, just scoot it off the cookie sheet with a few quick movements with your arm. Note that you’ll be scooting the bread on the parchment paper onto the baking stone, leaving the cookie sheet empty.)

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool at least an hour or two before eating.


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 November 16, 2009  Posted by  Baking, Sourdough Tagged with: ,

  7 Responses to “Sourdough French Bread”

  1. How would this work with whole wheat flour?

  2. Hi Susannah! You could try substituting some of the AP flour with whole wheat but I would leave the bread flour alone. You might need a bit more liquid if you use partial whole wheat, and it might not taste as much as traditional "french" bread, but let me know if you try it! Can't hurt trying! 🙂


  3. I tried using a whole wheat starter, 2 cup freshly ground hard white wheat, and 3 cups of white bread flour. It turned out SO well! Easy and very yummy! It rose faster than I expected, so perhaps I'll cut the yeast a bit next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Original comments from former blog:

    ButterYum said…

    Yum, your bread looks fabulous!

    Quick question about your onion marmalade… do you separate the 1/4-inch onion slices into individual rings?

    I purchased a ton of onions yesterday and I can’t wait to give this a try! Actually, today would be great, so if you don’t mind, would you please visit my blog and post your answer. Much appreciated!


    9:20 AM
    ButterYum said…

    Thanks for your quick reply. I’m heading onto the kitchen right away!



    9:32 AM
    ButterYum said…

    PS – I never cry when chopping onions. My secret? I wear contacts. Seriously – it works!


    9:35 AM
    ButterYum said…

    Oops, one more quick question… do you use salted or unsalted butter?


    10:01 AM
    Sarah said…


    10:23 AM
    Mrs. P. said…

    Your bread is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing 🙂


    11:10 AM
    Mimi said…

    I love the braid, really pretty!

    11:47 AM
    Mary said…

    What a wonderful loaf. It looks and sounds delicious. Have a great holiday.

    12:59 PM
    heartnsoulcooking said…

    What a BEAUTIFUL!!! loaf. It looks and sound DELICIOUS!!!

    6:58 PM
    Farmgirl Susan said…

    Your bread is beautiful! I’ve had this page open for days – can’t stop drooling over that gorgeous crust. Love how you braided the loaf. 🙂

    1:33 PM

  5. I just made my first sourdough bread. I used 100% whole wheat with whole wheat starter. I was little scared to make it but I am glad I made it. My kids loved it. Sooo good with garlic butter and pesto butter.Thank you very much. Happy Happy 🙂

  6. […] Imagine you’re sitting in front of a crackling fire. Suddenly, you smell something delicious coming from the kitchen. Creamy, a little smoky,   A perfect meal for a wintry night, lightly melty over a forkful of sourdough french bread. […]

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