Let your bread machine do all the hard work for you and say goodbye to overly complex sourdough recipes forever.
Table of contents
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Truly foolproof. Most people love the idea of baking with sourdough because they see pictures of beautiful artisan loaves with deep crust, slashes, and all the rest. And then the reality of their bread is a flat, weird, situation that is not quite what they expected. Anyone else? This recipe is going to end that sadness forever.
- No yeast. This recipe has no yeast, so it is true sourdough bread.
- Beautiful for sandwiches. (No big holes!) This recipe is pretty low-hydration, but I think you’ll be surprised by how nice the texture is. It turns out a great, consistent loaf of bread.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
You’ll need the following for this easy loaf:
- bread flour
- active sourdough starter (your starter MUST be well-fed, healthy, and vigorous! I follow a relatively low-maintenance starter regimen and keep mine out on the counter.)
- A bread maker! A basic model is fine; you are only using it for kneading and rising. I have this brand and use it almost every day.
- Parchment paper. A sheet that will lay flat is much easier than wrestling with a roll every day.
Day 1: Prepare the dough in the bread machine and shape the loaf
This bread has an autolyze step that is a fancy word for “mix everything in a bowl and let it sit there”. Pour all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, EXCEPT THE SALT, and mix it up.
It may look dryer than you are used to seeing with sourdough bread. That’s okay. Don’t add any more water. You can use your hands to make sure any dry bits get mixed in.
Cover with a towel and just let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes. I always measure out the salt and put it in a little container on top of the towel so I don’t forget to add it later.
Come back after the 30 minute rest and the dough will probably seem less dry. Great!
Then we put the dough and the salt in the bread machine bucket. Set in on the dough cycle and press start. You don’t need to fold the dough or anything crazy like that. Just walk away.
Since this is a true sourdough without yeast, it needs a longer rise time than what the bread machine gives it. Let it complete the cycle, turn itself off, then leave it for 2 to 3 more hours. It won’t double in size, but should look noticeably puffier. The cooler the room, the longer the rise.
Now we take out the dough and shape it into a loaf. It will feel sticky, but should not be too difficult to work with. Don’t flour your hands or anything else. Prepare a baking sheet by laying parchment paper on top and sprinkling it with cornmeal,
Roughly shape it into an oval without mashing it down. Just gently shape. I don’t use any type of fancy technique. When it looks like a smooth oval loaf, great.
Place the loaf on the baking sheet and cover it with heavily greased plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. I have left it in there up to 18 hours without any trouble.
Day 2: Bake the bread
When you bake up in the morning, it’s time to bake your bread machine sourdough. The earlier the better.
Preheat your oven to 450 with one rack in the center and one rack in the lower middle. Place an empty rimmed baking sheet on the lower middle rack. We want to heat it up so it can create steam. The steam is an essential part of getting a well shaped loaf.
While the oven is preheating, take the loaf out of the fridge. It may not look that much bigger than it did yesterday. Don’t worry.
Gently rub it with flour (I use rice flour, but any kind is fine for this). and then slash it. If you want an “ear” on your loaf, do you main slash parallel to the baking sheet.
Once the oven has preheated, pour 1 cup of water onto the hot, empty baking sheet.
Immediately place the baking sheet in as well, close the door quickly, and set the timer for 45 minutes.
See how much oven spring you get with the steam? Amazing.
Let it cool at least 4 hours before slicing.
🥫 Storage instructions
Your loaf will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 4-5 days. (Towards the end, it will be good as toast but not much else.)
You can also freeze sourdough as long as you allow it to cool completely (overnight is best), and wrap it tightly before freezing.
Yes! Some readers have baked this in the machine. But you can’t just run a cycle from start to finish. You’ll need to remove the dough to rest in the fridge overnight, then pop it back in to bake in the morning.
You sure can. The steam and baking sheet is really a workaround for those of us who don’t have one. 😊
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- No bread maker? No problem. Stand mixer sourdough is basically the same thing (and you can actually just knead it by hand too!)
- Bread flour is best for this, but you can use all-purpose flour. However, you’ll need to reduce the water by 20% or else the dough will be too wet.
📘 Related Recipes
- My sourdough roll recipe uses the same steam technique and adds a pinch of instant yeast for a fluffy roll with a crisp crust.
- Sourdough baguettes are hand-kneaded but also a similar process.
- And if you want to do all the crazy folding and buy some neat tools, here is a true artisan bread recipe you might like.
📖 Here’s the recipe
Bread Machine Sourdough (Foolproof, No Yeast!)
- 3 cups bread flour 15.85 ounces/ 450 grams
- 1 cup lukewarm water 7.75 ounces/ 220 grams
- ¾ cup fed sourdough starter 5.65 ounces/ 165 grams
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
- Autolyze. Mix the bread flour, starter, sugar, and water in a large mixing bowl. It will seem dryer than most sourdoughs, but don't add more water. Use your hands to make sure everything is incorporated into a ball. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let it rest on the counter. (It helps to measure out the salt into a separate container on place it on top of the towel so you don't forget to add it later.)
- Knead. Place the dough and salt into the bread machine bucket and select the dough cycle. The machine will beep when the cycle ends, but let it rise another 2-3 hours in the machine, for a total rise time of 3-4 hours. The dough should look noticeably puffier, but may not have quite doubled in size.
- Shape. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and sprinkling it with cornmeal. Take the dough out of the bread machine and gently shape it into a round or oval loaf. The dough will be slightly sticky, but try not to use any flour when shaping it. Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.
- Second Rise. Place the covered loaf in the refrigerator to proof overnight. Anywhere from 8-16 hours will be fine.
- Prep for baking. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with two racks: one in the center, one in the lower middle. Place an empty rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack while the oven is preheating. Remove the loaf from the fridge and gently rub with flour. Slash the loaf with a lame or sharp serrated knife.
- Bake with steam. When the oven has preheated, pour 1 cup of water onto the empty baking sheet to create steam. Immediately place the loaf inside, close the door, and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before slicing. 7. Store at room temperature, well wrapped, for up to three days,
354 thoughts on “Simple Bread Machine Sourdough”
Is there any way in which I could do the second rise without using a plastic wrap?
Would it work if I use a an hermetic bowl
Epic fail for me …. Didn’t rise, too dense, followed the recipe to the letter!
Same here. Then I started reading about altitude. I’m at 5,000 ft. HUGE difference in recipe amounts. Don’t know if that could be your issue too, but thought I’d mention it. From what I’ve read, at 5k ft, reduce sugar 6%, increase flour 5%, increase liquid 15%, and if using other ingredients for other recipes, increase egg 6%, decrease baking soda or powder by 40%, and decreasing baking time by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of posted baking time.
Good thought on the altitude adjustments. I live at sea level and mine didn’t rise properly either. The guess on mine is if was kneaded properly. The doughwas so dense that my machine was stalling during the knead cycle. I switched to a stand mixer with dough hook. The quantity of dough was really enough to allow the mixer to do a thorough job either. I might try the stand mixer recipe which uses double the ingredients or try added a bit more liquid to the machine recipe to soften the dough a bit. Anyone have their machine not be able to handle this dough?
hey, my guess is that you measured flour by flour instead of weight (which is totally fine), it just sometimes requires a little tweaking. it’s normal for the dough to be a little dense, but if the machine is straining you’ll want to add some water. first make the dough as written and then watch the machine like a hawk. add water a couple teaspoons at a time, let it mix in for a few seconds and re-evaluate before adding more. the texture changes quickly. good luck! 🙂
This is one of our go-to recipes. Great having an easy way to make bread without manufactured yeast! Read one of your tips on another recipe to use a covered dutch oven instead of pouring water in bottom baking sheet. It works great for this recipe.
We’ve found it easier to wrap loaf in two pieces of oiled plastic wrap for proofing. Need to be extra careful that it’s well wrapped or an exposed part of dough might dry out. We bake at 425 on convection for 35 minutes. Using dutch oven might shorten the baking time.
Noticed your link to buying bulk flour is broken now, and main site doesn’t work. Do you have a favorite place to buy quality baking flour in bulk?
Very successful and yummy and so easy. My 20year old bread machine has been resurrected again as I did not know that I could use it for sourdough. Thank you for all persisting and your determination to make a great sourdough.
so happy the recipe is working well for you maureena! and long live your bread machine 🙂
Just made this bread maker sourdough. Brilliant! And a lot less messing than kneading it myself. Thanks.
Terrific recipe. We’ve used it many times this past year.