Sourdough French Bread
You can produce an authentic French loaf in your own kitchen. This really works! Adapted for the bread machine from a recipe found in "World Sourdoughs From Antiquity", by Ed Wood.
- 2 cups proofed sourdough starter (see Step 15)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cups white bread flour
- 2 tablespoons white cornmeal
Put ingredients, in order listed, into bread machine pan.
Set machine for dough cycle and start.
At end of dough cycle, turn dough out onto a floured surface.
If dough is too sticky, knead in a little additional flour.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions and flatten each into a 1 1/2 inch thick oval.
Fold oval in half once lengthwise and pinch seam to make an elongate loaf.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the loaves on the sheet seam side down.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees F) until about doubled in bulk.
Place a shallow pan of hot water on the lower shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Make shallow slashes in tops of loaves with a razor blade or finely serrated knife, held at a 30 degree angle.
Place the loaves in the oven and immediately spray them and the oven walls with water from a fine mister, and avoid spraying oven light.
Repeat this spraying 3 additional times at one minute intervals.
Continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes or until brown, but remove pan of water from oven after the first 15 minutes.
Remove loaves from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.
*To proof sourdough culture, start with 1/2 cup of culture and stir into it 1 1/2 cups warm water and 1 1/2 cups flour.
Cover with plastic and let sit 8 to 12 hours (the longer it sits, the more 'sour' your bread will taste).
At this point, measure out the 2 cups required and proceed with recipe; returning any extra to the starter pot to save in the refrigerator until you want to use it again.