Over the past couple of years, I have been taking my regular recipes and giving them a sourdough option. Today I want to share how I took my French bread recipe and turned it into a sourdough French bread that is light, fluffy and soft. Its a hit! My kids have requested that I make it once a week.
With all the other things I bake for them every week, this should be a tall ask, but honestly this French bread recipe is super easy and by adding sourdough discard, you get that amazing sourdough flavor.
If you bulk ferment this, you also get the amazing benefits of true sourdough bread. This bread can be made using an active starter or with a sourdough discard. You can use a small amount of yeast if you use discard to give this bread a boost in the rising process.
I love making french bread and my kids absolutely love the sourdough french bread. The sourdough discard french bread is so soft and makes amazing. My son loves to use it to make sandwiches, as it has a nice soft that holds together well.
Benefits of Sourdough
- Sourdough bread may support gut health. The fiber and polyphenols in sourdough bread are more bioavailable. It is easier to digest and is an important fuel source for our gut microbes.
- The fermentation process and higher fibre content makes sourdough a useful option for those with blood sugar management issues. This is because, unlike many commercially produced breads, sourdough has less of an impact on blood sugar levels.
- Research suggests that the fermentation process improves the bioavailability of fibre and minerals. This is because a naturally occurring compound found in grains, called phytic acid, is broken down and this enables us to access the grain’s nutrients more readily.
This sourdough French bread is similar to my super easy French Bread recipe, but a couple of things have changed.
Sourdough French Bread
- 1 stand mixer
- 1-2 baking sheet
- wire racks
- 500 grams water
- 200 grams active sourdough starter or discard
- 10 grams salt
- 35 grams olive oil
- 35 grams honey
- 800-850 grams flour can use bread flour or all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp yeast if wanting to make a quicker batch of bread and using sourdough discard
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp water
Using Discard and Yeast
- Put the water, honey, sourdough starter, and yeast in the mixing bowl. I like to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to do this. I also use my dough hook to mix this dough.
- Give this mixture a quick mix.
- Add the olive oil 3 cups of flour and the salt to the mixer and add turn on thr mixer. Mix it no low/medium until all is well combined.
- Continue to add 1/2 cup of flour at a time until you reach a dough that will pull away from the bowl and is soft and elastic.
- You need to read the dough because many times the amount of flour will be different. If you add too much flour the loaves will be heavier.
- Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.
- Once it is kneaded thoroughly, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a sunny place for 30 minutes to an hour.
- While it rises, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and remove the top rack in your oven. You want to bake your bread on the middle or bottom rack.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, its time to split the dough into two equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough sections into snake like shapes. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with cloth or plastic wrap and let the bread loaves rise. They should just about double in size.
- You can check if your dough is proofed by poking the side of the dough. If the indent stays the dough it ready to bake. If it bounces back completely it needs to rise a bit more.
- Once it has risen, use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut some diagonal slashes in the loaves, perpendicular to the length of the loaf.
- Brush on the egg wash and put them in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.
- Check it at around 20 minutes.
- Let the top crust get nice and golden brown.
- When the loaf is done baking move them to a wire rack to cool. Cut a slice to enjoy with your favorite soup or pasta!
- Store in bread bags or linen bags. You can also freeze the loaves and reheat them for later use.
True Sourdough with Bulk Fermenting
- This is easily mixed up the night before you need to bake them.
- If doing this the night before, mix your dough the same as you would is you were using the yeast, except you will omit the yeast.
- Once it is all kneaded, put the dough in a large container with a lid and let it rise overnight on your counter.In the morning, shape your dough and let it rise on a parchment-lined sheet pan covered with a towel.
- It will take about an hour to rise, possibly more. Once it has almost doubled in size, apply your coat of egg wash and cut some diagonal slash marks to the dough and put the loaves in a hot oven at 400 degrees.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes before checking. Let it bake another 5 minutes. The top should be nice and golden brown and if you tap the top it should sound hollow.
Alternate Bulk Ferment
- If you want to make this dough earlier in the day, you can use this method.
- Mix your dough as instructed and put it in a container where it can raise for approximately 6 hours.
- Once it has fermented for 6 hours, you can shape your loaves, place them on a parchment lined pan and cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the loaves out of the fridge, slice them with diagonal slits.
- You can add your egg wash right now, or omit it if you choose. You can also add some boiling water to a pan to add some steam to the oven.
- Bake the bread 18-20 minutes. Check the bread at this point and check for a nice color on the top. You may need to bake it for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.