Bread Machine Sourdough—Will It Work?

Bread Machine Sourdough—Will It Work?

Thumbing through my newest book Starter Sourdough: The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More, by Carroll Pellegrinelli, I was taken by a recipe for “Classic White Sourdough Bread Machine Bread.” This was a big surprise since most bread machines do not have a long enough cycle for the bulk ferment.

Then I looked closer and found that the author cheated just a bit, suggesting you use 1½ teaspoons bread machine yeast, or instant yeast along with the active sourdough starter.

I said it before, “Not in my house!”

I do not like using dry active yeast. I do not care for its flavor. I do not like the consequences of eating it either. As Martha Levie warned, instant yeast can cause “candida, eczema, all sorts of problems in your body.”

I have been there and done that, fighting yeast infection, after yeast infection. But not since I started baking with sourdough nearly two years ago.

So the challenge is to adapt Pellegrinelli’s slightly enriched recipe for my old bread machine.

Sourdough Bread Machine Bread Recipe

To skip using yeast, I activated a much larger amount of Sourdough Starter, that I would use in most bread.  That, of course, will push the rise,  but the acidity will not be transferred to the final dough, leaving it less tangy.



Activate Starter

  • ½ cup (140g) sourdough starter*
  • 1½ cup (360 g) pure filtered or bottled water, at room temperature
  • 3 cups + 2 heaping Tbsp (360g) bread flour 

*always reserve ⅓ cup starter for later

  1. Six to twelve hours before starting bread, combine the starter, water, and flour.
  2. Mix until well incorporated
  3. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until ready to use. 

Bread Machine Dough

  • 2 cups active sourdough starter
  • (2 Tbls soft butter) optional
  • (2 Tbls sugar) optional
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1–1½ cups (113-1701g) bread flour
    (more flour or water may be needed)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the machine’s bread pan
  2. Close the lid and choose the french bread or longest cycle. Mine has a dough only cycle that allows for a long ferment, but with some heat. 
  3. About 10 minutes into the first mixing cycle, check the dough to see if it is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water. If too wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour.
  4. Check again a few minutes later and repeat adding water or flour. Repeat again 2 minutes later. The dough should be coming into a sticky ball and pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
  5. Turn off the bread machine and let the dough rest.
  6. Stretch and fold the dough twice in the first hour, then rest until double in bulk, about 3-4 hours. 
  7. Once this short ferment is over, set the bread machine to bake. Mine has a 50 min setting.

In her book, Carroll Pellegrinelli paints this motivational image:

“Imagine it’s dinnertime. The table is set. The kitchen is completely clean and the meal hasn’t been served yet. All you have sitting on one counter is a slow cooker filled with the world’s best chili or stew. On another counter is a bread machine that just started beeping an alert signaling the bread is done. How wonderful would that be?

In the comment section below we would love to hear about your experience using sourdough in your bread machine. Here are my resutls:


Author: Darryl Alder, retired Scouter and outdoorsman, who spent too many hours over a campfire using a dutch oven, and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire. You can read many of his outdoor recipes here.


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