Add all of the ingredients to the bread maker and leave to knead (stop after 10 minutes). When kneaded, leave to rest for a further 10 minutes inside the bread maker pan.
Cover the pot in cling film to prevent the dough drying out. Leave to prove until it has doubled or tripled in size. If it's summer leave for 4-5 hours and if it's winter remember to leave it in a warm place.
Actually you can leave the dough in the bread maker pan (like Step 2) or leave it to rise in an airtight container.
Punch out the excess gas and roll flat. Gently roll the dough up away from you. If you have a big oven please do this on an oven plate.
When rolled, pinch the seam closed and place the bread seam-down. If it's summertime, please leave to prove in the oven inside a 45l plastic bag full of air. (Prove for 1 hour if it's summertime).
When the dough has doubled or tripled in size, score it a few times and bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C. Please don't spray the bread with water.
The soft french bread is ready.
Cut the bread and eat as-is or use for sandwiches.
This is what your bread should look like at the second proofing. We put it in a plastic bag filled with air to stop any sticking. The end of the bag should be firmly secured with rubber bands.
Story Behind this Recipe
I don't like hard bread... but I really love french breads where you can taste the wheat. That's why I decided to make a soft version.
Adjust the water content of the bread starter to control the texture of your bread.