This is my go-to sourdough bread recipe for the bread machine. I've been thrilled with my bread machine because it allows me to make delicious bread with minimal effort every day. But I was missing the tangy flavor of artisan bakery sourdough bread.

So I set a goal for myself to figure out how to combine the two. The bread machine's ease of use and the delicious flavor of authentic sourdough bread. In this recipe, I'll show you how to prepare your sourdough starter, how to care for it, my tips and tricks for making the perfect bread machine sourdough, how to set up your bread machine, and, of course, the recipe! This is the ultimate guide to making sourdough bread in a bread machine! So, let's get started...

Why does making sourdough bread take so long?

Sourdough bread requires a significant amount of time to prepare. When I was looking for a bread machine sourdough recipe, I quickly discovered that time is required to achieve that artisan look and flavor.

It's time to let the dough bulk ferment. If you're doing a cold ferment, it could take anywhere from 4 to 18 hours. It's time to pay attention to the dough and do 4-5 stretch and folds every 20-30 minutes to help the gluten develop. It's time to get your dutch oven ready, preheat your oven, and shape and bake your dough.

That amount of time deterred me from making my own sourdough bread. So I set out to create a recipe that I could make using my bread machine on a daily basis and that tasted and felt as close to that delicious artisan bread that I adored as possible.

Unlike many other sourdough bread machine recipes I've found online, this one uses no yeast, so you get that delicious true sourdough taste and texture!

Getting your sourdough starter ready

You have two options for preparing and making your sourdough bread machine starter. To begin, try cultivating your own or purchase a portion of an already mature starter.

Making your own sourdough starter is simple; all it takes is time. You'll need one to two weeks of time and a little luck. There are numerous guides available on the internet that will walk you through the process of preparing your own starter – check them out here and here.

I chose to purchase a portion of an already mature starter for my sourdough adventures. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to try making my own, and I felt much more at ease purchasing an already good, strong culture from a professional bakery. I discovered this one on Amazon and was blown away by how well it works.

It doubles in size every 6 hours, smells exactly like the sourdough bread I buy at my local bakery, and is extremely low maintenance and resilient. Ideal for a sourdough novice!

Starter for sourdough

Taking Care of Your Sourdough Starter

A well-established sourdough is very simple to keep alive. Depending on how frequently you bake, you can take one of two approaches.

Keep your sourdough out of the fridge if you bake every day or every other day. Depending on the strength of your sourdough starter, it may require "feeding" once or twice a day (every 12 hours). How do you know? It's time to feed the sourdough starter when it has doubled in size, stopped growing, and its top has flattened and begun to recede.

If you bake on a regular basis, it's best to keep your sourdough starter in the fridge. Take it out the day before, feed it in the morning and evening, and then use it to make bread the next morning. Feed it again and place it in the fridge.

How much should you feed your sourdough starter?

How much food should you give your starter? The most basic method is to use equal parts starter, flour, and water.

Keep 40 grams (1.4oz) of starter the night before baking, and then mix in a fresh 40 grams (1.4oz) of wholegrain rye flour and 40 grams (1.4oz) of water. You'll have 120 grams (4.2oz) of starter ready to go in the morning! Take 80 grams (2.8oz) for the bread, 20 grams (0.7oz) for the feed, and throw away the rest. Finally, add 20 grams (0.7oz) of flour and 20 grams (0.7oz) of water to the 20 grams (0.7oz) of retained starter.

If you don't intend to bake the next day, just keep the starter at 60 grams (2.1oz) throughout the feedings. Keep 20 grams (0.7oz) of starter in both morning and evening feeds and feed it with 20 grams (0.7oz) of flour and 20 grams (0.7oz) of water.

The method outlined above will reduce flour waste while keeping your sourdough starter healthy, happy, and ready to go when you need it!

What kind of flour should I use to feed my sourdough starter?

Wholegrain dark Rye flour, without a doubt. It provides plenty of nutrients for your yeast and bacteria to thrive, and it adds a delicious tangy flavor to your sourdough bread in bread machine starter! Its nutrient-rich nature also stimulates your starter, which is ideal for a soft and airy bread!

Baked sourdough bread in a bread machine

Tips and tricks for making sourdough bread in a bread machine

After much experimentation, I've compiled the following list of bread machine no yeast sourdough bread tips and tricks for you!

The amount of water you use determines how soft and fluffy your bread machine sourdough turns out. The higher the hydration level, the more airy and fluffy the crust will be. If you prefer your bread to be light and fluffy, use the 75 percent hydration recipe below. If you prefer your bread to be a little more dense, try the 65 percent hydration recipe below. Furthermore, the more water you use, the crunchier your crust will become.

A small amount of fat in your bread will help it last longer and keep the crumb softer. On the downside, you won't get a crackly crust like you would with a lean, no-fat dough. I've found that 2% fat in relation to total flour weight provides a good balance of dough longevity, crumb softness, and a firm, crunchy crust that I like.

A sprinkling of sugar or honey results in a nicely browned crust. This is especially important because most bread makers do not reach temperatures as high as your home oven, resulting in bread that is not as brown as you might expect. You don't need much; a half-teaspoon will give your dough a nice color boost!

Sprinkle some flour on top and score it lengthwise in the middle before beginning the baking program. This gives your bread a delicious flour-covered rustic appearance. But, more importantly, it allows your dough to rise evenly, preventing lopsided bread!

No yeast sourdough bread made in a bread machine

Configuring your bread machine to make sourdough bread without yeast

What I love about making sourdough bread in the bread machine is that it requires very little effort on my part while still producing delicious bread! In this section, I'll walk you through how to set up your bread machine and which programs to use to make the perfect sourdough bread!

For this recipe, you'll need to use three different programs in your bread machine. The programs Mix, Rise, and Bake. I own a Panasonic SD-ZX2522 and previously owned a Panasonic SD-ZB2512KXE. I'll give you the program numbers for them, but a quick look through your machine's manual will help you find the right one for your machine!

The first step in making sourdough bread in a bread machine is to combine the ingredients. Measure out the starter and place it in the bread machine bowl. Then stir in the flour, salt, sugar/honey, butter, and water. Pour the water towards the outer edges of your bowl to make your paddle's job easier!

Then, select the dough only setting and let it mix for about 20 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are fully combined and the dough begins to come off the walls of your machine. Menu 29 on the Panasonic SD-ZX2522 performs two short kneading cycles with a short rest interval in the middle, followed by a rest period. Menu 26 is for the Panasonic SD-ZB2512.

The second step is to let your bread machine sourdough bread rest until it has grown by half its original size. Use the proofing setting on your bread machine to keep the dough temperature at the ideal level for proofing.

Use menu 30 on the Panasonic SD-ZX2522 and stop it when the dough has risen by half its original size. Menu 27 is for the Panasonic SD-ZB2512. If your bread machine does not have a proofing menu, don't worry; simply close the lid and leave it alone until the dough has risen. If you want your bread to be more acidic, skip the proofing setting and simply leave it in the bread machine.

Bake your sourdough bread in the third step! Because most bread machines do not heat up to the same temperature as a home oven, you will need to bake your bread for a slightly longer period of time.

I've discovered that baking for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes results in a golden brown crust and a delicious brunch! Set the timer to 1 hour and 15 minutes on the Panasonic SD-ZX2522 and Panasonic SD-ZB2512. Remember, if you open the lid while your bread is baking, especially during the first 45 minutes, you will lose a lot of heat and the top of your bread will not brown.

That's all! Three simple steps will result in the easiest and most delicious sourdough bread you've ever made!

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