Bread machines


I am new to sourdough, and recently made my first starter culture.  

I bake bread in the breadmachine each night to make sandwiches for everyone's lunch. 

I tried pouring half my culture in (about half a half pound honey jar full) with 1/2 tsp of easybake yeast, gave it a quick knead, and then put it on timer to be ready next morning.  It produced a brick that was hell to get out of the pan and made me late for work. 

Is it possible to use a breadmachine on normal cycle with sourdough culture (eg six hour french bread cycle)? 

Will the two yeasts compete and if so, who will come out on top?  

thank you for any advice. 


255 users have voted.


mlucas 2010 June 16

It took me a while to find / modify a good recipe for sourdough sandwich bread. I wanted one mostly for my kids, to make it easy to whip up quick sandwiches for them, without having to cut off the crusts. For a while I wasn't even sure if it was even possible! But then I found this one:

I tried it as-is the first time (results: pretty good!). Then I modified it slightly adding 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp oil, to improve the flavour and soften the crust for my kids.

For your convenience here is my modified version (makes one loaf):

  • 8oz starter (100% hydration)
  • 12oz flour (can combine a variety of flours, but I would keep at least 60% white)
  • 2 tsp gluten flour (aka vital wheat gluten)
  • 12oz water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP oil

I think the gluten flour is important to get that sandwich bread consistency. I use a bit less than it calls for, since living in Canada even my AP flour is already quite high in protein/gluten.

Now, I don't have a bread machine so I'm not sure how well it will work, but the fact that this recipe calls for a 3 hour bulk fermentation followed by a 3 hour proof in the pan, sounds like it might work reasonably with your 6-hour cycle?

Happy baking,

P.S. About the "variety of flours" -- it's a neat feature of this recipe, but you might want to try all white flour the first time. In my latest batch I used about 8oz white AP flour, 1 oz wheat germ, 2 oz durum flour, 1 oz kamut flour, and it turned out fantastic!

P.P.S. Not sure if you have a scale, but it's important to make sure the starter is really 100% hydration by weight. Post back if you're not sure how to do that.

EDITED to add the salt!

mlucas 2010 June 18

Great, make sure you post back to let us know how it went!

I know some people who might give sourdough baking a try if they can get it to work in their bread machines. So I'm very interested to see how it turns out!

Oh and welcome to, Jonny! Be warned, there is definitely an addictive quality to sourdough baking.  For me it can be summed up with "hmm I might want to bake tomorrow so I better increase my starter" (next day) ... "hmm I don't want to waste all this starter so I better bake something!"


Jonny782 2010 June 21

I think the problem is that sourdough recipes makes a far stickier dough, though this may be because it's wetter.  my regular dough is 500g flour (mixed wholemeal and white) and 360 ml of water.  However,  I suspect the starter makes it stickier, tho' it may be because i omitted the 2 tbsp of oil I used to add, as several sour dough recipes do not seem to use it.   Am I right about stickier I wonder?  

Jonny782 2010 June 23

I also note that many recipes call for multiple kneading and resting and wonder what this does.  Improve rising?  I worry that the power of the yeast will get "used up" with each successive rising.  also some fold 600 times (one recipe) with great slapping, whilst another uses more minimal kneading. 

mlucas 2010 June 23

Hi Jonny

Keep in mind that "sourdough" can mean multiple things, but we usually use it to mean "natural leavening" i.e. using a sourdough culture to raise your bread instead of commercial yeast.

You can make a huge variety of baked goods with sourdough, including pancakes, bagels, sandwich bread, ciabatta, San Francisco-style Sourdough (which is what sometimes people think of when they hear "sourdough"), etc.  A lot of the time stuff made with sourdough isn't sour at all, or is only slightly sour, so it's not really the best term. (Although it is true that naturally leavened baked goods generally have MORE flavour.)

Many of the recipes for sourdough that you see involve high hydration dough; I'm not sure why that is, perhaps it's because sourdough often produces a better result than commercial yeast in those recipes? That's why you get stickier dough with those recipes -- it's the higher overall ratio of water to flour, not the starter vs. commerical-yeast, making it so sticky. (I'm sure commercial-yeasted ciabatta is just as sticky as sourdough ciabatta!)

You also often see techniques like multiple stretch-and-fold instead of long-term kneading along with sourdough recipes. But those techniques are NOT specific to sourdough.



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