Simple Bread Machine Sourdough

A truly simple sourdough recipe that is kneaded in your bread machine.  A great everyday bread for the sourdough lover.
4.95 from 98 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.

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

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.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking on a link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Essential tools and ingredients for this recipe:

Click here to subscribe

Here’s the recipe!

bread machine sourdough loaf on marble surface and wooden cutting board
4.95 from 98 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
Click here to grab a free mini-cookbook with my best seasonal recipes


  • 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


  • 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,


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.


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!

More sourdough recipes for beginners:

Your sourdough bread didn’t turn out the way you hoped?

Check my Sourdough FAQ page to see what could have gone wrong, or leave me a comment and I will do my best to help you out!

Happy baking!

Click here to subscribe By on October 21st, 2019

336 thoughts on “Simple Bread Machine Sourdough”

  1. Hello Katie,
    I’m so glad I found your site. I have been torn between hard dense and funny looking bread machine bread and spending two days on made from scratch sourdough bread. This has been the perfect in between. You have cut my time in half and delivered a tasty, good looking loaf. My question is what do you think is the correction to the bread flattening out on the bottom and expanding outwards once I put it in the oven. I get a good rise but it kind of flattens outwards so I get a flat bottom and half dome look. What makes bread a bit more stiffer that keeps it’s shape.

    • hi jason- try adding just one more ounce of flour at the beginning. another technique that makes a difference is to bake the loaf in a PREHEATED dutch oven (just put the dutch oven, lid and all, in the oven while it preheats, and carefully lower thte bread + parchment paper in once it’s hot) this will give you great oven spring and a nice shape 🙂

  2. Hi Katie
    Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ve been making white & wholewheat sourdough bread, from knead to bake, in bread machine. It tasted good but the texture was too tight and dense. I’m going to try your recipe now. Please could you let me know if I want to add seeds or chopped nuts, at what stage I should add them and would that mean a second knead in machine? If so, knead for how long? And will there be any modifications to the main ingredients because of that? Thanks

    • I would add them when your machine has 1-3 minutes of kneading time left. You’ll need to set a timer. Some machines have a cycle that will beep for you: it might be called fruit or but bread setting

  3. How long would you knead using a stand mixer and at what speed?
    Would you then let it rise on the counter for how long before putting it in the fridge?

    • Mike i’d do about 1o minutes with a five minute rest halfway, on low. then let it rise 4 hours in a warmish place (like a turned off oven) this will better mimic the bread machine

  4. 5 stars
    Just made my 1st sourdough and this was amazing! The only issue was the crust came out a bit darker and hard to chew than I’d prefer. The inside was perfect! Anything I can do to get a lighter crust?

  5. Hi Kate, Thanks for the recipe. Could I ask if you use FAN FORCE setting in the oven or just BAKE? Can i use a chasseur with the lid on to bake this bread?? How would you suggest I get the steam affect inside the chasseur then??

    • i would bake on regular bake. if you are using a covered baker of any kind, you can just skip the steam. the moisture in the loaf will be trapped and have the same effect. 🙂

      • Very misleading. I clicked on this recipe because it was for a bread machine but the only thing the bread machine was used for was to mix and rise the dough. I am looking for a bread recipe that won’t heat up my kitchen during the summer I thought this was it.
        Obviously not.

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe, its great!
    I really want to increase the size and make a much larger loaf. Do you have any recommendations for cook time say if I doubled it?

  7. 4 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. I was wondering how to do this in my machine. I altered the recipe a bit because I felt it was a little dry. I added about 80 more grams of water.. which may have been a little over kill… and I baked it in a big pyrex dish with a large dome lid. I misted it with water before putting it in the oven. turned out amazing. I’ll cut down on the water a little next time. But beautiful open crumb, lovely texture and a really nice shiny . I instagrammed some pics at you. Thanks for providing the path

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe worked very well for me. It turned into a beautiful and delicious loaf. I baked it in my clay baker after soaking the lid in water for 15 minutes. It turned out great!

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  9. Besides looks, why can’t this be baked in a bread machine? I lIve in the desert where I e rarely use the oven for about eight months, so traditional sour dough bread as a staple is not an option 2/3 of the year. Thanks.

    • jennifer, you absolutely can bake it in the machine. the only issue is the overnight rise. you can pull out the bucket, cover it and put it in the fridge, and then set a bake only cycle in your machinee.

  10. How long is the knead cycle on your bread machine? I have to do a special programming on mine to just knead and rise once. When you let it rise in the machine, what is the temperature setting? thanks!

  11. Hi Katy,
    How far ahead do you need to feed the starter? I’m so wanting to try this, but not sure about the “fed starter” part. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • hi margaret! it really depends on your feeding schedule and the strength of your starer. i typically feed mine, wait 4 hours, then start this recipe. the key is you want your starter bubbly and the height of its “power”. i have a post specifically on maintaining your starter if you’re still working on your routine and need some more help. 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Katie, I made my first loaf of sourdough bread this past weekend using your bread machine recipe and it turned out beautifully. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Much appreciated. 🙂 I will be making this bread again and again. Thanks again!

  13. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe. I was worried because it didn’t rise much in my basket, but rose in the oven. I cooked it in a preheated Dutch oven. Thank you!

    • Same experience for me. I noticed the Easy & Beautiful Artisan Sourdough Bread recipe mentions using the water-in-a-cookie-sheet technique as a substitute for a dutch oven. Since I do have a dutch oven, want to try this again using the dutch oven. Probably is more effective keeping the dough in a tighter space.


Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating