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Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf

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.

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.

It’s totally worth it, though! When it’s cooled, serve it slathered with some homemade butter or this Italian herb bread dipping oil!

Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf

Favorite Bread Machine Sourdough Loaf

Yield: 2-lb. loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 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.

Oven Directions

  1. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to a mixing bowl.
  2. Slowly stir in warm milk and softened butter to dry mixture. Then do the same with the sourdough starter.
  3. 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.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to make sure it's coated, and let rise for one hour.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

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!


Saturday 25th of June 2016

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?

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Saturday 25th of June 2016

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.

Grass Roots

Friday 17th of April 2015

I like to put all the stuff into the bread machine at once, then turn it on. Once it starts kneeding, I adjust the water or flour to get a perfect dough consistency.


Monday 21st of April 2014

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.

Lawrence Weathers, Ph D

Sunday 9th of February 2014

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.


Thursday 19th of August 2021

@Lawrence Weathers, Ph D, Do you mind sharing your recipe and settings? I would love to try a real sourdough in the Zo.


Friday 20th of December 2013

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.


Friday 20th of December 2013

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.

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