Simple Bread Machine Sourdough

A truly simple sourdough recipe that is kneaded in your bread machine.  A great everyday bread for the sourdough lover.
4.93 from 104 votes

Let your bread machine do all the hard work for you and say goodbye to overly complex sourdough recipes forever.

Have you ever had a complete baking fail?  Well of course, we all have. But have you ever had a two year long baking fail?  I bet you have not. When I first tried baking with sourdough, I failed at it every single week for two years before I finally quit.  When I restarted years later, I was determined to succeed and it still took me FOREVER. 

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?  

I am going to share a great recipe that is going to end that sadness forever.  This recipe has no yeast, so it is a true sourdough bread. But it breaks some of the sourdough rules because it is kneaded fully, like a yeast dough, in the bread machine.  It’s not baked in there (that would not work at all.) But if you are looking for a truly simple sourdough recipe, you have found it.

When I was developing this recipe, I knew that it couldn’t be a high hydration, super open crumb bread. That requires folding and a million steps. That’s fine, but it’s not what I wanted. I wanted a true, yeast free sourdough that could be made easily enough that it could be our everyday bread. So I had to make this a 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.

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Step by step bread machine sourdough bread:

Day 1: Prepare the dough in the bread machine and shape the loaf

This bread has an autolyse 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.

patterned mixing bowl with sourdough ingredients mixed together

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. 

tea towel on top of mixing bowl with small ramekin of salt on top

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.

bread dough in bread machine bucket with salt on top, before kneading

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, 

sourdough bread dough on baking sheet with parchment and 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 heaviliy 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 good 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.

dough on baking sheet with slashes before baking

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.

It is the perfect bread for sandwiches or toast with a chewy crust, great flavor, and beautiful interior with holes that aren’t too big for sandwiches.

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Here’s the recipe!

bread machine sourdough loaf on marble surface and wooden cutting board
4.93 from 104 votes

Bread Machine Sourdough

Print Recipe
A truly simple sourdough recipe that is kneaded in your bread machine.  A great everyday bread for the sourdough lover.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:45 mins
rising time:18 hrs
Total Time:19 hrs 15 mins
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread flour 15.85 ounces/ 450 grams
  • 1 cup lukewarm water 7.75 ounces/ 220 grams
  • 3/4 cup fed sourdough starter 5.65 ounces/ 165 grams
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and sprinkling 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 dry not to use any flour when shaping it.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Place the covered loaf in the refrigerator to proof overnight.  Anywhere from 8-16 hours will be fine.
  • 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.
  • 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,

Notes

I use a 100% hydration sourdough starter (equal parts flour and water), if yours is dryer or wetter, you will need to slightly tweak the amount of water in the dough.
I have done this recipe both by weight and volume and the results were similar.
To make ahead, fully bake the loaf, allow it to cool completely, and freeze, well wrapped, for up to a month.

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: breads
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beginner sourdough bread, bread machine sourdough bread, simple sourdough bread
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

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Click here to subscribe By on October 21st, 2019

342 thoughts on “Simple Bread Machine Sourdough”

  1. 5 stars
    I made sourdough starter early this year after the pandemic hit. I have tried many recipes on the internet, trying to find the easiest and the one with the least hands on time, but with a great outcome. This recipe was what I was looking for. The only thing I do differently is to put it in my dutch oven overnight in the rerigerator instead of on the baking sheet. I skip the water and just leave the lid on for the first half hour of baking and remove the lid for the final 15 minutes. It’s a keeper. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Hi Katie, Thank you for this recipe! This is my umpteenth attempt at a bread recipe; I’m terrible at breadmaking but this one finally worked! I’m so happy! Saving this for every weekend =) do you have any fun tips for variations such as adding seeds?

    Reply
    • hi Megan! I would do five min on low, rest 5 minutes, five more minutes on low. and maybe another round. look for “windowpanes”. (search my site for kneading in a stand mixer and I have a video to show you what you’re looking for!)

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this bread a few times now! Super easy and always wonderful. Especially since my starter has matured. Going to serve it today with a Cajun Corn Chowder. Thanks for the recipe ?

    Reply
  4. Love the recipe and process. I’ve been adjusting for my conditions over the past several months.
    1) I always weight my ingrediants, grams (g). Measuring by volume doesn’t seem to come out quite right for me.
    2) For a more sour flavor, I feed my starter a flour combo – 1/3 AP flour, 1/3 Rye flour, 1/3 Whole Wheat flour (whatever your total feeding amount – e.g., 40 g, 40 g, 40 g)
    3) I proof overnight in a 10″ oval proofing basket (banneton), it prevents is from flattening out overnight, adds a pretty design and takes up much less space in the fridge. NEVER bake in banneton – transfer to baking pan with parchment.
    4) I have a dual conventional and convection oven, so I bake first 30 min in conventional @ 440F with water/steam in bottom pan, then switch to convection with reduced temp to 395F for 10 minutes which produces a really nice cursty crust. NOTE: temps and times may vary depending upon your local temp, humidity and elevation.

    Reply
  5. Hi Katie,

    I was given some starter, but even after feeding religiously, it hasn’t doubled or bubbled! How can I be sure that the starter is okay to use before I try your bread machine recipe? As well, I do a no-knead bread (also 3 cups flour) in a cast iron pot, which I understand can be used for this recipe too, but I bake at 425 for 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered. What timing would you suggest? Yours of 45 minutes, or 60 as I usually do? My first sourdough was a flop, so I am super excited to try your bread machine recipe? Thank you! Janice

    Reply
    • hi janice! yikes! if it hasn’t bubbled or doubled I would not use it yet! is your house really cold? maybe try feeding it more often? you definitely need a bubbly starter for this recipe! as far as the baking time, if you are doing a dutch oven, I would do 30 minutes on, then remove and check at 20 minutes off, knowing that it might take more. hope this helps! 🙂

      Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Dear Katie,
    Turned out great! Tastes like San Francisco sourdough! I did add a pinch of yeast though. This was my very first attempt at starter & breadmaking!
    Thank you so very much! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! ????????????

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    This is a brilliant recipe that works every time! I’m very happy I found it after making sourdough that resembled cowpats…I use a dutch oven to cook it and it comes out really well. I just mustn’t make it too often because it’s too delicious!

    Reply
  8. 5 stars
    Never baked sourdough bread before but this recipe is fantastic and love that my bread-machine do most of the work!
    Baking my 3d one tomorrow for the weekend.

    Can you recommend another easy recipe but doing it the traditional way – without the bread machine’s help that is?

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
      • Thank you so much! My dough is ready for kneading in the bread machine now but I will definitely try your Dutch oven recipe over the weekend! So exciting…….my daughter is visiting on Sundah and I am surprising her with a sourdough plant and a loaf as well! Yayyyy!

  9. 5 stars
    Great recipe and great bread. Made the first loaf as instructed. Second loaf was made in a bread tin and cooked at 190 degrees celsius for 35 to 40 minutes. Again a great loaf, lighter in colour and with a softer crust- much better for older teeth. Also makes for easier slicing and/or freezing. You are my new best friend. Stay safe and well.

    Reply
  10. The results are incredible…so much so they I’ve been making this bread in a blink. I’m an absolute srdough lover and this has become my go to loaf for the wkend. Thank you.
    I have also been wondering..I do like a bit of a more lacy crumb and wondered if you ever tried folding the dough after the machine kneading process. like instead of leaving the dough in the machine on e u turned it off remove it and fo abt 3
    /4 folds every half hr.
    Do you think this would make a difference?.
    It would be interesting to see the outcome.
    Also I have been using this recipe with various different flours like seeded wholegrain mixed with white etc but is it always necessary to use ” bread flour for this recipe? In some countries bread flour is non existent, and although I have tried plain flour the results were really just as good as any. I do love this recipe as it’s so versatile. Thank you.

    Reply
    • hi indi! its a such a low hydration dough I don’t know if doing any folds would really help. you could try increasing the hydration AND doing folds and see how it goes! if you use all purpose flour, just keep in mind it absorbs MUCH less water. you’ll want to reduce the water by about 20% in that case 🙂

      Reply
  11. 5 stars
    Hi Katie
    I got some starter from my cousin over the weekend, and they don’t have a bread machine so they taught me the more traditional method of kneading etc and I thought it was a pain.
    I tried your recipe out, left out the sugar, but did everything else, and the results are incredible! So happy with how my bread turned out and it was super easy as well. My only comment is next time I’ll have the oven a bit less hot and maybe reduce baking time by 5 or 20 mins. The kids love the bread but the crust is a bit crunchy for them.
    Thank you from South Africa ????????

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Thank youfor this wonderful ,simple recipe . it has become my go to . I use one third white bread flour , one third whole wheat and one third spelt and add some sunflower seeds and flax seeds. We love it

    Reply
  13. 5 stars
    Awesome and easy recipe! I have made this 5 times and we love it! This is totally our weekly bread recipe! I’ve also made it in my counter-top oven without the steam step and it was still yummy. (Maybe a little less rise) but I sliced it lengthwise and made a great pizza out of it.

    Just as a caution; I didn’t use a baking/cookie sheet in the oven last time, but a glass baking dish and it exploded when I added the water for the steaming step. Totally my bad, not the poster’s, but just wanted to let other people know to not use glass for that step (duh, me). But when I use the cookie sheet it was totally awesome.

    Reply
  14. I LOVE this recipe but my bread maker just broke 🙁 I have been using this recipe to make a loaf of bread twice a week for the past little bit. Can you recommend any ways to knead by hand while I look at getting my bread maker fixed or replaced? Thanks.

    Reply

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