If you own a bread machine and want to use it to make sourdough bread, it may or may not be possible. Most bread machines are designed to work with breads leavened with commercial yeast, and therefore are programmed for a short and consistent rising period.
Working with a sourdough starter can be quite different. The rise time for each culture can vary widely, and it is often difficult to predict, even after baking with your starter several times. Because of this variation, a bread machine may not be a trustworthy appliance for sourdough breads.
WILL MY BREAD MACHINE WORK FOR SOURDOUGH?
- Does your appliance have an adjustable rise cycle? Can you change it in the middle of the cycle, to make the decision on when to bake? If so, your appliance may work for the entire process of making sourdough bread, with some vigilance.
- If your bread machine’s programming cannot be altered, you may be able to use your machine for at least a portion of the process. Add ingredients to the machine and allow it to mix and knead the dough. Then transfer to oven-safe baking pans for the rise period. This method gives you some control over the rising and leads to a better final product.
- You may, by trial and error, be able to manipulate your bread machine to achieve a particular result. You might add ingredients to the machine, allow the machine to mix and knead, then turn it off. Then you could stop the machine and restart it on a new cycle with a 12-hour time delay. This method will take some trial and error to fit your starter’s rise time and your bread machine’s settings.
ALTERNATIVE TO USING A BREAD MACHINE
If you are considering purchasing a bread machine but want to work with sourdough, it may be more practical to purchase a good stand mixer for mixing ingredients and kneading dough, giving you more control over the rise time.
Whether you choose an appliance or decide to do all your mixing and kneading by hand, give yourself time to get to know your starter and its characteristics, for delicious sourdough bread in the end!
GET STARTED MAKING SOURDOUGH BREAD
Our step-by-step how-to videos provide the support you need to get started. Still have questions? Contact us. We're happy to help!