Recipe for small loaf sourdough


I am a beginner, I have a starter.  Only require a small loaf, which I can start on bench and when proved, place it in a bread machine oven.  Any help greatly appreciated.  

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snowy 2011 April 30

Thanks for your kind offer to help.  I love this bread and have sore wrists for kneading. My bread oven is a Panasonic SD206. My normal oven is too big for a little loaf for one person.  Maybe making a few small loaves may be the option in the big oven. Can the sourdough loaves be frozen.   I cannot find a sourdough bread recipe in the Panasonic manual. .  I have read that they are not suitable as dough time is too short.  I thought if I could prepare the loaf on the kitchen bench with limited kneading, I may be able to pop it into the bread oven to bake.   I have only used bread oven previously for packet bread.  Others in the family only eat commercial bread, I am hoping to change that later. The ingredients for a small basic white in bread oven - 1 1/4 tsp dry yeast, 300 g bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp dry milk, 15g butter, 2 1/2 tsp sugar 210 ml water and 1/2 tsp bread improver,optional. 

I would love to know how to convert to sourdough.  If at all possible in a bread machine.  It has the advantage of being portable when travelling.  I could use my kenwood chef with dough hook if I have trouble with the dough.  

Any help would make a big difference for me. 


farinam's picture
farinam 2011 April 30

Hello Snowy,

A bit of a rule of thumb for sourdough is 1 part starter (100% hydration), 2 parts water and 3 parts flour.  All of this is by mass of course so I would say try 100g starter, 200g water and 300g flour and 6g salt to start with.

Can you do just bake in your bread machine? Or do you have to go through the full cycle?  Perhaps you could follow the sourdough method up to shaping and then put it into the machine.  You can't get shot for trying and if you report on what happend then we might be able to come up with some more suggestions.

Keep on bakin',


snowy 2011 May 1

Thanks Farinam,  I have fed the starter, it looks good,  bubbling well, now I am going to start baking in my big oven and try and get one right.  I have been reading most of  the hints on the forum.  I have some bread tins etc with an orange colour lining on inside, I think it may be silicone.  I will try them. With the 1.2.3. method, after the workings are done, what temp do I need to bake.  I will use the steam, and I will bake with the fan.  for the first 10 minutes, then turn fan off to keep baking, What temp should my oven be when I put the tin in. The temp gauge goes up to 250 Celsius and should I reduce temperature. How long does a cob shape take to cook.  I am hoping to have sourdough bread from now on, if I am successful.    


farinam's picture
farinam 2011 May 1


You will probably need about 35-40 minutes baking.

Generally I start at 220C with the steam generating for the first 12 -15 minutes. Then I remove the steam source and reduce the oven setpoint to 210C for 10 minutes then reduce again to 200C for 10 minutes. Then I turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar for 5 minutes.

Ovens do vary  in their performance and your timings could be a bit different.  As a check you could take the loaf out after say 30 minutes (with suitable hand protection) and tap it on the bottom with your fingers (tip it out of the tin if your are using one - it should drop out freely).  It should sound hollow and drummy.  If it doesn't , put it back for another five and chack again.  Repeat till you are happy that it is cooked.

Also if the loaf looks as if it is browning too much/burning you might have to adjust your temperatures down a bit.

Sounds like you are well on the way.

Keep on bakin'


Merrid 2011 May 4

I tried a couple of ways of doing the sourdough in my bread machine (a Breville Ikon) - it has knead only and bake only cycles.

Unfortunately, unless your bread machine has a "natural leaven" cycle I think you're going to be disappointed. The kneading is a bit too vigorous for sourdough and tends to toughen the loaf (mine ended up very dense), although it may be useful for the initial gluten development.

You will need to take it out of the bread machine for the proving cycles because the ones on the machine will be far too short - you need more than two hours for bulk fermentation, and more hours again for the final rise.

And the baking temperatures in the bread machines are also very low - mine bakes at around the 130°C mark, which is WAY lower than usual for sourdough (usually starts at 230°C for oven spring, and reduces to around 200°C). I tried just using the bake cycle on the machine with a sourdough loaf but this gave a dense loaf with very little oven spring and a VERY tough, pale crust.


But there is good news - you don't have to do nearly as much kneading with sourdough. You could even use a hand held beater for the initial mixing (and just long enough to form the dough - no need to knead further), and just use the stretch and fold method described in SourDom's beginner's blog during bulk fermentation for extra gluten development. The long proving time is usually enough to develop the gluten (gluten + water + TIME = lovely bread structure).


If you use farinam's tips on baking in a regular oven you can just make a couple of smaller loaves to manage the quantities. You can freeze sourdough but it has really good keeping qualities out of the freezer - twice as long as regular bread in my experience (on the kitchen bench at home, in a plastic bag, regular bread starts going mouldy after 3-4 days but sourdough loaves last 7-8 days before they start growing mould - and I don't even use a bread bin). When you want to use the second loaf after 3-4 days, all you need to do is spritz it all over with water and pop it in a hot oven for 10-15 mins and it will be good as new.

snowy 2011 May 5

Thanks Merrid,  I have been away a couple of days and hope the starter kept in the fridge, is still alive. I agree with you regarding the bread machine.  Tomorrow I will do my best.  This forum is great, each reply, really helps.  Thanks for info on freezing the bread.  The only thing I will have to work out is the timing.  It seems one can start one morning and maybe bake the next. Traditional methods seem the simplest.   I really like the 1,2,3 method for a beginner.   Fingers crossed.


Merrid 2011 May 6

Well, I take some starter from the fridge Thursday night for sponge stage 1, then build sponge stage 2 on Friday morning, then mix, bulk ferment, shape and into bannetons Friday night and into the fridge overnight for retardation and final proof, then bake Saturday morning. Does that help?

snowy 2011 May 8

Today I tried to bake my first sourdough bread.  I enjoyed having a go, but I feel I need much improvement. 

A few notes - the top of the dough initially was very dry and no bubbles. It did come close to doubling in size.   After leaving it till next day (today) in fridge, I noticed that there were bubbles on the bottom but not the top.  I kept it out of the fridge for about 3 hours then popped it in hot oven with a little steam for initial bake. The slashing did not make much of a difference, I suppose that means no spring, also did not have a proper tool to do it.   Unfortunatly I left it in the oven for too long and it burnt. My fault.   I sliced the bread after cooling and I feel the texture is OK for a beginner, but a bit flat. I used a round cob type tin. It ended up about 1 1/2 ins high.   My next adventure would be using a larger loaf, as I have a large heavy loaf tin.  

I think my mistake was due to the fact that I used 1/2 strong white flour and 1/2 spelt flour, 300 g total (thats what I had on hand)  and then 200g water mixed with 100 g starter and 7 g salt flakes.   Next try will be just some organic white flour, at least until I get the hang of it.  

Any advice would be great.


Merrid 2011 May 9

Spelt flour takes a different quantity of water than white flour, but I've never baked with it so I can't tell you what adjustments to make for that.

As for the rest, you didn't say, but it sounds as if the dough dried out too much - did you cover it while the dough was proving? If it dries out the skin becomes tough and the bread can't overcome the skinning to rise properly.

Also, it sounds to me as if you may have over-proofed the dough, if you had a flat loaf with no oven spring. You could try reading through the techniques in the beginners' blog to see if anything jumps out at you.

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