Jan 20

Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf

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Many of you have been asking for a good sourdough bread recipe since I posted my sourdough starter recipe a few weeks ago. I guess I kind of jumped the gun there -- I was so excited to share what I was working on that I didn't stop to think about the next step.

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So not only do I have a great recipe to share with you, but what I'm most excited about is this is a sourdough bread machine recipe. That's -right -- it can be made right in your bread machine! This loaf has a nice crispy crust with a moist and delicious crumb, perfect for savoring with your favorite soup recipe.

But first let me share a couple of photos of my starter for those of you that were asking to see it...


You see that liquid on top of the unstirred starter? That's just the "hooch" -- it's mostly alcohol and a byproduct of the fermentation process. Just stir it back into your starter, and it will be fine to use.

Okay, back to the recipe... one thing I should warn you of is that though this is a bread machine recipe, it's not like your typical recipes where you just dump in all of the ingredients and set the machine and forget it. It does require a little active participation in the beginning.

Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf

Yield: 2-lb. loaf

Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sourdough starter


    Bread Machine Directions
  1. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to your bread pan. If your bread machine has a warming cycle, turn it off and start a basic bread cycle to stir these ingredients together. I use the dark crust setting for this recipe
  2. Slowly add warm milk and softened butter to dry mixture while the bread machine is still stirring. Then do the same with the sourdough starter.
  3. Add the remaining 2-1/2 cups of flour slowly to the wet mixture. It may seem like too much flour, as the dough will get very crumbly, but it will all get kneaded into the bread. I've found that it helps to press down on the dough as the machine is still kneading to get it to pick up all of the bits of dough.
  4. Close the top of the bread machine and let it finish out its cycle. When the bread is done baking, remove it from the pan immediately and let it cool on a rack to prevent it from getting soggy.
  5. Oven Directions
  6. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to a mixing bowl.
  7. Slowly stir in warm milk and softened butter to dry mixture. Then do the same with the sourdough starter.
  8. Mix remaining 2-1/2 cups of flour slowly into the wet mixture. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes.
  9. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to make sure it's coated, and let rise for one hour.
  10. Punch down and let rest for 15 minutes. Then shape into a loaf and place in a greased 2-lb. loaf pan. Allow to rise for another hour.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.


In case you're wondering, my bread machine is a Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme. I've only had it for a few months, but I'm very pleased with it so far!

by Tara | 34 comments

  • Thank you so much for posting this! My gran has been making sourdough bread for years! I've never had the patience to do it like she does. I have a bread machine and I love to use it but could never find a sourdough recipe for it!! I can not wait to try it!! Thanks again!

  • Stacy g

    I cannot wait to try this! However, I live above 7,000 feet and have tried four recipes in my new machine without success. I have three high-altitude bread machine cookbook recipes. Does anyone have a recipe that they use that works for this type of altitude? I would love to be able to make bread :)

    • Hmm, that's a good question, Stacy. It's not an issue I have to deal with, so hopefully someone will stop by that can help out.

  • RuthieG

    If I am making this in the machine, I just cut the recipe in half..

    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 3 Tbsp. oil
    • 1 egg
    In large bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, the yeast, and salt and mix well.
    In saucepan, heat milk, water, honey, and oil until a thermometer reads 120-130 degrees F (warm)
    Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. Beat this batter for 3 minutes. Then, gradually stir in rest of whole wheat flour and enough remaining all-purpose four to form a firm dough.
    Sprinkle work surface with flour and knead dough, adding more flour if necessary, for 5-8 minutes until smooth and satiny. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough in the bowl to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until double in bulk.
    Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll or press each piece of dough to a 14x7" rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal and place dough, seam-side down, into greased 9x5" bread pans, making sure short ends of bread are snugly fitted against the sides of the pans. Cover and let rise in warm place until the dough fills the corners of the pans and is double in bulk, 30-40 minutes.
    Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. I like to brush the bread with butter when it's still hot from the oven for a softer crust.

    Just follow the directions of the bread maker.wet on the bottom, dry on top. I use the dough cycle and bake it in the oven except when I am in a big hurry.....Best bread I have ever made.

    • Thanks, Ruthie! This sounds delicious with the honey in it. I will definitely give it a try.

  • Julie

    Hi there... I LOVE sourdough bread! How would you change this recipe if you're just using a Bosch and regular bread pans in the oven? Any thoughts?

    • I'm working on some oven-baking directions and I'll add them to the post shortly, so please check back.

  • I'm not sure if it is me, but the Print this Recipe button doesn't work. It generates a new page but it disappears immediately and doesn't print. Has anyone else had this problem? Has anyone been able to print?

    • What browser are you using, Angela? When the new page opens, the box to click print should open also.

  • Brenda D.

    What kind of flour did you use for the sourdough bread recipe?
    I've only used bread flour in my machine but you didn't say what kind you use for this recipe. Thank you for letting us know.

    • I used King Arthur organic all-purpose flour, but I think you could safely substitute bread flour for this recipe.

      • Brenda D.

        Thank You! That helps me a lot! Looks like I'll be making some bread in the next week! Yum, I can taste it now!

        • Brenda D.

          I deleted my first reply, writing it again to let you know how great my bread turned out.
          I made the started out of all purpose flour & follow your directions, Turned out great.
          I used Gold Metal Bread flour for the bread recipe. My family said it was the best bread to ever come out of my Oster bread machine.
          After I got the batch going, I checked my owners manual, it said it's capacity was up to 1.5lb loaves. Well, the dough rose all the way to the top glass window on the lid. I scraped it off the interior walls and tried to direct the dough back toward the insides of the pan walls.
          All worked great, the bread was awesome. It just had a muffin top on it. I used the french bread setting with a dark crust like the manual instructed.
          We just laughed about it while enjoying the best sourdough bread ever.
          It reminded us of "I Love Lucy". She tried bread making, the dough run out of her oven and onto the floor. It was one of her most funniest shows we had ever seen.
          Thank you for this great recipe from all of us, me, my hubby, and my 86yr. old Mom who lives with us.
          God Bless You!!!

          • I'm so glad you like it, Brenda! That's too funny about the bread rising. I had one of those moments when I cleaned my dishwasher out with Softscrub. I ran a cycle to rinse it out not realizing that it would foam up, and my entire kitchen was covered with about two feet of bubbles!

  • Julie

    Thank you for the oven recipe! Can't wait to try it!

  • AR

    thanks for the recipe, Im going to try this. I was looking for a sourdough bread recipe without several stages of monitoring., pretty much, I am okay to make the starter, and use it the next day to make the bread. I am going to try this today.

  • AR

    The starter worked very well, and the I made the bread next day with your oven directions, it came out perfect!!!. Thanks for the starter recipe!!!

  • Rebecca Filley

    Ok Tara, I'm pretty sure you have a super woman cape on under your clothes. I have followed you on Dealseekingmom.com for almost 2 years. I was just looking up recipes to change up my menu plan and found this, then went down to the bottom and saw your picture. So excited to try out some of these. Thanks for all the great work you do!

    • Aww, thanks, Rebecca! I haven't been very good at posting regularly here, but I love being able to share my favorite recipes and cooking tips. I'm really a foodie at heart...

  • cara wiseman

    This might be the best bread that I've made with my starter, thus far. I did have to add about a half cup extra milk. Delish! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Sandy

    I have starter I need to use NOW so I'm going to try this because I have yeast on hand...but I'd really like a recipe that doesn't need yeast too. Any help out there?

    • Penny

      Sandy -- you CAN make a starter without using any yeast. However it takes a few weeks, can smell very nasty at some points and sometimes doesn't work well. You are starting with yeast at the beginning here, which makes sure the right stuff is growing right away. However you never use yeast again with your starter -- so I think this is a great way to start sourdough. :) That being said, here's a link to a good tutorial on making your own starter without using yeast. I have used it, and it works well.

  • Leah

    Reckon I could just halve this for the miniZo bread machine?

    • I've never used one, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Would love to hear the results if you try it!

  • anna

    I started my bread as directed in my machine. My pan kept jumping off the stirrer... i tried to hold the pan while it mixed but finally gave up and pulled it out and kneeded by hand. I am aiming for the oven method now and I am confident that it will be fine (just not as easy). Any ideas why this is happening? I have been using the machine for all kinds of bread and never had this happen. I can't wait to taste this bread!

    • Hi Anna! It sounds like your dough may have not had had enough liquid. As I mentioned in the post, it's definitely a drier dough when it's being kneaded. Some starters are thicker than others, though, so you could try adding some additional milk a tablespoon at a time until you have the right consistency of dough.

  • Erik

    A couple of notes from above. I have a starter that I have used off and on for a number of years and it started without yeast. However, I occasionally use yeast to kick start it when I need to wake it up - there are a lot of vendors on the web; some will send you a sample for free. I have been in search for the best recipe for sourdough bread for a bread machine for a number of years. I found your recipe the other day and broke out my starter and woke it up. As a side note I also added some rye to my starter - never did this before but saw it was in your starter recipe. Anyway all went well except the mixture was too dry. I know you said to expect this but as you noted above, I think my starter is thicker than what you may use. So I started to add more starter to the dough as it continued to mix until it reached the consistency I thought was okay. Even then I worried it might still be too dry. As it turns out this was the best sourdough recipe I have tired. My wife thinks it is a tad too sour, but I like it. Only downside is it was a little dense. I like dense bread for sandwiches so it is fine with me, but I may try adding milk or water next time if it looks to dry instead of more starter. The recipe is a keeper for me.

    • Erik

      Oops, the starter recipe I saw for the rye flour comes from the King Arthur recipe web site. There recipe is usable in about a week and doesn't use yeast. Once again I really like this bread recipe and plan to use it over and over. Thanks.

  • Lawrence Weathers, Ph D

    You are absolutely right with regard to traditional bread machines. I had an Oster and it wouldn't even begin to do the job.

    I just bought a Zojirushi BB–CEC–20. the homemade custom program cycle does an excellent job of making my whole-grain wheat sourdough bread. it takes about 10 minutes to mix all the ingredients into the pan. About 11 hours later the best sourdough bread you've ever eaten appears. I challenge you to make a better loaf of sourdough bread by any means you can conceive.

    Many of your readers could really benefit by knowing that there really is a breadmaking machine that does an excellent job.

    I have no association in anyway with Zojirushi. I am just so pleased with this machine I want to spread the word.

  • VA

    Thanks for this. I've been struggling to make sourdough in my Zojirushi machine. This process worked great. I added 1/4 Citric Salts, and this is the best tasting and textured sourdough I've managed.

  • confused

    May I ask the purpose of the yeast? If you are using an active sour dough starter, shouldn't that have the active yeast to rise?

    • Good question! Yes, an active sour dough starter should be enough to get a loaf of bread to rise -- but it takes a lot longer. To adapt a sour dough recipe to the time constraints of a breadmaker, you need to add active yeast to get a faster rise that matches up with the various cycles for rising, kneading and baking.

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