How to Make Sourdough with a Bread Machine

It’s a common assumption that you can’t make sourdough bread in a bread machine, but this is not completely true.

You can still enjoy that delicious taste without having to make it by hand – an exceptionally complicated task for this recipe – and without having to invest in a special type of bread machine.

sourdough in bread machine

Fret no more.


We can walk you through some tips and tricks to help you figure out how to make sourdough in your bread maker with no problem at all…

How to Make Sourdough in a Bread Machine

1. Get Familiar with Your Machine’s Settings and Functions

Most bread making machines have a short rising time, which is not ideal for sourdough breads – hence the idea that it’s impossible altogether.

That is the main difference between sourdough breads and other bread: sourdough needs a pretty long rising time to achieve the right taste and texture.

Before you get rolling, it’s best to take a glimpse at your bread maker’s settings.

If you can adjust the rising cycle of your machine, you may be able to program it to work well with a sourdough loaf.

If you are not able to adjust the rising time, you can still use the machine for other portions of your bread making.

You can also utilize delay settings to give your bread time to sit and rise, even if that was not the original reason for the setting.

2. Beware: It Might Be A Little Different Than “Traditional” Sourdough

Because sourdough bread does generally require some intensive work, the texture or taste of your bread machine-made sourdough might be slightly different from what you are used to.

It can still be delicious though!

Sometimes a slight change is worth a bit less work in the long run, since you will still be able to enjoy the fresh and delicious taste, albeit a little different.

how to make sourdough in bread machine

3. Try Out the French Bread Setting

If you aren’t able to adjust the rising time of your bread maker, you may want to test out using the French bread setting with your sourdough.

Generally, the French bread setting provides a longer rise time and a slower rise.

As you know, that is usually exactly what sourdough bread needs.

This may be a good step toward getting sourdough bread that tastes and feels right, even though it may still be a bit denser than a homemade sourdough loaf would be.

4. Use the Bread Maker for Part of the Process, Instead of the Entire Bake

If you find that you cannot make things work with sourdough in your bread maker, but still want to save some time, you may want to try using the bread maker for just the mixing/kneading portion of your baking instead.

Once the dough is mixed, you can either complete the rising and baking in more conventional ways using your oven, or you can let the dough sit in the machine and allow it to rise, then bake it later in the machine, once it has risen.

This will not only save you time and effort, but it also may get you closer to that sourdough taste and texture that you know and love.

5. You Can Try the ‘Hybrid’ Option

This method won’t get you that deliciously strong sourdough flavor, but it is great for those that want some of the sourdough taste without the time-intensive hand-baking process.

You can combine a more traditional bread recipe, which will include yeast, and substitute some of the poolish preferment (the sponge-like combination of flour and water) with your sourdough starter.

Just make sure that the liquid is equal between your substitution and the original poolish part of the recipe. This will give the bread some of the sourdough taste, without all of the extra work. Ideal!

quick sourdough recipe

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

The best chefs and bakers are not afraid to try new things – and neither should you!

Though baking sourdough can seem daunting if you are a beginner, or even if you bake often, sometimes trying new things or different techniques can make all the difference.

Even if you face some failures, sometimes a recipe gone wrong is the best way to learn how to get it right.

It is also always a good idea to try and figure out what has worked for others. Many bakers post their recipes and experiences online, so don’t miss out on their wealth of knowledge.

You might be able to avoid some basic issues of trial and error by learning from what others have done.

All in all, it may be best to think of your bread maker like a tool in your belt when you make sourdough bread. You can definitely mix and match techniques to try and figure out what method works best for you, and even find a unique flavor you’ll end up loving.

In the end, it offers advantages to make the process easier and simpler.


Have you made sourdough in a bread maker?


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