Simple Bread Machine Sourdough

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?  

It’s time to end that sadness forever. Because once you master this bread machine sourdough recipe, you’ll have a foolproof loaf you’ll be proud of every time.

cut sourdough loaf on board

Bread Machine Sourdough (Foolproof, No Yeast!)

A truly simple sourdough recipe that is kneaded in your bread machine.  A great everyday bread for the sourdough lover.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
rising time 18 hours
Total Time 19 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 10 slices


  • 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.)
    bowl covered with towel
  • 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 leave it there. 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.
    knead in machine
  • First rise. Let the dough 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.
    dough slashed down center and on side.
  • 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,


My sourdough starter is 100% hydration (equal parts flour and water).  If yours is dryer or wetter, you’ll need to add a bit more flour or water.
To make ahead, fully bake the loaf, allow it to cool completely, and freeze, well- wrapped, for up to a month.
I have sometimes skipped the autolyse step and just thrown everything in the machine.  The loaf was still fine 😉.
Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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:

  • 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.

🍴Baker’s schedule

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.

loaf of bread on cooling rack

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.

🔍 FAQs

Can you bake sourdough in the bread machine?

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.

Can you bake this in the Dutch Oven?

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

Looking for sourdough recipes that WORK, written in a language you understand? Sign up for my sourdough email series that takes you from making a starter to baking all kinds of sourdough recipes! You can grab it here
sliced laf
Simple Bread Machine Sourdough

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Recipe Rating


  1. I just came across this post and I’m so excited to give it a try! My bread machine is a Neretva. It has a “Knead” option. Is this the setting I would use? Sorry, I’m so new to this and still getting accustomed to it. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated. 🙂

  2. Help there is a problem with quantities in this printable recipe. The number of cups changes but the weight (grams) or mls does not. I like to weigh my ingredients but dare not use this recipe until this error is fixed. No one else has mentioned it though.

    1. Hi rosie. The grams will not multiply because I have manually calculated it. there’s no way for me to enter the recipe with both quantities, so if you hit the 2x or 3x button they will ot change. you’ll hve to double those youurself if you choose to double the recipe. the quantities are correct, it’s just thatt he doubling feture does not work with the grams because they are a note i have added after each ingredient.

  3. 5 stars
    this is an awesome recipe! I’ve been struggling with getting BF right with other non bread machine recipes and this solved it for me. I have 2 questions:
    1. what is the reason for sugar in this recipe?
    2. if I wanted to add some stretch and folds to get a lacier crumb, is there a way to incorporate them into this recipe ?

    1. I have found it rises better with the sugar but i think you could leave it out without any disastrous effects. now… for an open crumb, you need high hydration and this technique just won’t work. I have a no knead sourdough and a recipe called “easy artisan sourdouugh” that are still simple but they’re just a whole different ball game. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been exploring with sourdough (Sourdough Tina) recipes for a bit but couldn’t get myself to do an artisan loaf as I was intimidated by the steps and rise times. I had made softer loaves directly in my machine or used the discard in various ways. I found your straight forward recipe and decided to give it a try. What a success! So crunchy, chewy, soft and flavorful. My family ate the entire loaf in a day and raved about it tasting better than store bought. I plan to make this again and again! Thank you.

    1. Christine I’m soooo happy the bread was a success! And don’t be intimidated by artisan loaves; they can be easy too! I have a basic one to try if you don’t feel like pullingo ut the bread machine 😊

    1. yes it will do VERY well in there. you can skip the step with creating steam from a pre-heated cookie sheet. 🙂 bake with lid on first 25 minutes, then remove and bake until browned.

    2. 4 stars
      Hi, thank you for the recipe! Bread turned out delicious cooked in a Dutch oven, but it had big (too big) air pockets in the cooked loaf? What do you think I am doing wrong? Thanks

  5. OK I’m trying this recipe but I was gifted my bread machine and I don’t really know what setting to use. It’s a Cuisinart automatic breadmaker. Would “8- Dough” be the right setting? Or should I set it at “1-White/Basic” and take it out before it starts baking? Thanks for the advise!

    1. The instructions say when the machine beeps after the dough is made, Leave it in the machine for 2 or 3 hours. Read item two and three again to get the whole picture

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious flavor and great texture. Even though I forgot and added the salt with everything else. My only problem was that I did it in my Dutch oven and I could NOT get it out! I had to rip it free and leave the bottom crust stuck to the pot! How can I prevent this?

    1. Hey Cecilia did you use parchment paper? It does sometimes still stick with it. I’ve heard spraying the paper will help. if you didn’t use parchment, definitely do next time!

  7. 1 star
    Not impressed a pain to make and not worth it. I followed the recipe to a t and it was heavy and doughy. I threw it out

  8. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and the crusty roll sourdough recipe! I have used the long rise in the refrigerator with other sour dough recipes after trying this one which really helps when I work and have less time at home.
    The link to print this recipe is not working for me?

  9. 5 stars
    I’m going to switch to the Dutch oven for baking.
    1. Is the cooking temp and time the same?
    2. Can I put in the Dutch oven overnight with the lid?
    3. And do I still need to use the plastic wrap if I do the overnight proofing with a lid on the Dutch oven?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. cooking temp the same, you’ll find it will brown less in the dutch oven. i’d leave t he time the same to start but if it seems. underbrowned, remove the lid and bake a bit longer. you can leave it in the dutch oven with the lid on to proof, no cover needed, HOWEVER i can never. fit mine so i don’t do it. try it empty first and see if it’s worth the trouble!

  10. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    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?

  12. 5 stars
    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.