Sourdough French Bread
Makes 2 loaves

3 cups proofed sourdough starter
1T salt
¾ cup warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 to 3 cups white flour

Begin by proofing your sourdough starter. You do this by pouring your starter into a bowl and mixing in ½ cup whole wheat flour, ½ cup white flour and 1 cup warm water. Put this in a warm spot and let it get all foamy and bubbly. The longer you leave your starter to proof the more “sour” your bread will taste. I took my starter out of the fridge at night and let it proof for 12 hours. At that point my starter was very nice and bubbly and had a fantastic sourdough smell.

Now it’s time to make the bread. Pour the starter into your mixer. Add the salt, water and 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix this up. Now add white flour a little at a time. Be careful with this step.. sourdough starters vary in how liquid they are and flour can be more or less dense. Add the white flour until the dough no longer sticks to the side of mixer and the dough is not sticky. Now let it knead for 4 to 5 minutes with a Bosch, 8 to 10 minutes with a Kitchen Aid and 15 minutes by hand.

Put the bread dough in a warm spot to rise. I let this rise until doubled in size and it took mine 4 hours to rise well. This may vary for each person to. Judge the time by the dough. It is done when it has doubled in size.

Now punch the dough down and divide it into two pieces.

Shape the dough into long logs and put them on a French bread pan. Make 4 diagonal slices in the bread. If you don’t have a French bread pan you can place them on a cookie sheet.

Now let them rise again. This process took 3 hours for me. Again judge this according to the size of the bread. Let it rise until doubled in size.

When the bread is ready to bake preheat the oven to 375 and put a shallow pan of water on the rack below where the bread will be baked. I used a pie plate. When the oven has preheated put your bread in and spray it with water. I had a clean unused spray bottle (the kind you would use for cleaning supplies) that I washed and then filled with water for this.

Close the oven door and at one minute interval spray your bread again 3 more times. After 15 minutes of baking remove the pan of water. Bake the bread for a total of 30 to 40 minutes. The bread is done when it is golden in color and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Remove from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.

You will have leftover starter when you are done.  You need to feed it again.  To the leftover starter add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour and 1 cup warm water.  Pour it back into your jar, put a piece of cheesecloth on top secured with a rubber band and put it back in the fridge.  Don't forget to feed your starter each week while it is in the fridge.  When you feed it, add 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup white flour and 1/2 cup warm water.  



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