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
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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Katie,
    Made this wonderful sourdough bread this morning. Wowzer, it turned out as a work of art! So very pleased. Can’t wait to cut into in a few hours. 💓

  2. 5 stars
    Why must we mix the flour starter, sugar and water and let it sit 30 minutes instead of just adding everything into the bread maker right from the start?

  3. I made the bread but found the instructions for my Wolfgang Puck bread maker incredibly vague so it ended up kneading several times. That and the rise made it far stickier than when it went in and impossible to shape into a loaf, so I put it into a loaf pan and cooked it in my Oster oven (on bake, not convection). I did check it at one point where the top was browning nicely, but the bottom and edges were still white. Now, it is dark brown on top, but perfectly browned on the rest of the loaf.
    One question: why do I have to wait four hours to slice it. I love warm, freshly baked bread. What happens if I slice it sooner?

  4. Hi Katy,

    The bread maker I would using only allows for a 1.5 loaf. Would this recipe work in that bread machine?



  5. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  6. 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

    1. 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

  7. 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?

    1. 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

  8. 5 stars
    Great recipe! This was my first sourdough and it came out beautifully! Thanks for the detailed information.

  9. 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?

  10. 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??

    1. 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. 🙂

      1. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

    1. 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.