The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough in a Breadmaker: Questions

iwyllpa's picture

Sourdough in a Breadmaker: Questions

I've been reading over several threads on sourdough and have also been researching methods of making sourdough starter.  However, I'm under the impression that some starters won't work in break machines (since they rise at different rates than dry yeast.)  I have a Breadman Ultimate breadmaker but I live in a college dorm so I don't have a whole lot of access to an oven or even really a kitchen.  I have a small fridge, which I intend to keep the starter in, but before I start I just want to know more about starters and breadmakers.  Can I put "wild" starters (ones that don't have any yeast added to the starter, but rather just some water and flour) into a bread machine?  I ask because all three recipes I've seen for bread machines use some yeast.  Please, if anyone has experience with sourdough bread in a breadmaker (especially recipes for use in a breamaker and good starters) please share them in this thread!  Any and all other advice on sourdough making in a bread machine would also be much appreciated!  Thank you!

iwyllpa's picture

I figured I might as well post a bit more (and hopefully bump this thread up so people will read it.)

Some of the starters I've seen seem to be nice and small while others are huge.  For example, one calls for 3 1/2 Cups of Bread Flour and 2 Cups of water with a bit of sugar and yeast, while another calls for just 1 Cup of flour, 1 cup of water, and a little bit of yeast.  Is there an advantage to making a really big starter?  My refridgerator is not that big so a smaller starter would be nice if that would still work alright.  Answers to this and my other previous sourdough questions would be much appreciated :D

T4tigger's picture

my sourdough experience is somewhat limited (about 5 weeks worth) but there is no need to start off with a huge amount of starter.  For the first couple of weeks you need to discard half at feedings, so starting big is just a waste of flour.   My starter began as 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of flour (100% hydration).  Yeast is entirely your option.   Some feel that to be "real" sourdough you omit any commercial yeast and capture whatever wild yeasts are lurking in your home.   Others feel that a teaspoon or so of yeast to get things started isn't a big deal.   Do whatever is easiest for you and good luck!!!!

breadnerd's picture

Sorry I don't know much about bread machines, but I can answer the sourdough quantity thing. Yes, you can keep very small amounts, especially once it's "up and running"


I go by weight, and I generally use 2 ounces each of flour, water, and starter when I refresh my starter which is kept in the refrigerator. i adjust this slightly as needed to get the consistency I want. Depending on how much i need for a recipe, I increase it a day or so ahead and at room temperature to get it nice and active before baking.  Since you're basically tripling it whenever you feed it, it doesn't take long to get the quantity you need for a recipe, so there's no real need to keep large amounts on hand.


barbdegraaf's picture

I have almost licked the correct quantities and my bread does not overflow since I cut down the quantities.  I was using the measurements on the bread mix packet instead of the quantities in the Breville manual.   I am using a sour dough mix and dry yeast in an old Breville Bread oven (upright loaf) and even though the bread seems to have the right consistency it seems to wrinkle on the sides and even though it is not touching the top now the top always collapses.   The mix was quite wet today and didn't pick up all the dough on the bottom of the tin.  I sprinkled some more flour in and some sesame seeds and pepitas in at the bleep.   It looked great when it first started baking but when it had finished it had collapsed.   Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong.  

I am trying to make my own sour dough starter at the moment so will probably have to start all over again with the correct quantities.