Our scrumptious Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe for the Bread Machine is a delightful treat for bread enthusiasts and a warm, comforting addition to any kitchen. While this recipe showcases the wholesome goodness of whole wheat, you can use all-purpose flour if you prefer; versatility is our bread and butter (pun intended)! In this comprehensive post, we’ll guide you through the art of crafting a heavenly sourdough loaf in your trusty bread machine. But that’s not all! We’ve sprinkled in some of our finest bread-making tips to elevate your skills and answered your most pressing FAQs about the magical world of bread-making. Let’s get baking!
Why Sourdough Bread Recipe For the Bread Machine
I don’t usually use a bread machine. Not that I’m against them, but I enjoy the whole process of making bread, especially the kneading. I also like to bake my bread in my cast iron Dutch oven because of the artisan look it gives the loaf. You can learn how to use and care for cast iron in our sister article dedicated to it.
One sultry summer day in the Deep South, I couldn’t face turning on my oven but it was bread-making day. I found myself asking, “Can you make sourdough in a bread machine?” So I set out to learn how to make sourdough bread in the bread machine and developed my easy sourdough bread recipe for the bread machine.
After a couple of disappointing loaves made from sourdough bread machine recipes I found on the internet, I figured out the problem. Before I share my recipe, I want to answer your FAQs and share my best bread-making tips with you.
FAQ About Sourdough Bread
- Do you use yeast in sourdough bread recipes?
There’s no need to toss in extra yeast when you’re working with our sourdough bread recipe for the bread machine. Your sourdough starter is already packing a punch of natural yeast it’s captured from the air. I’m all about savoring the authentic tang of the starter’s yeast. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret – if you’re in a hurry or craving that quick, tantalizing rise, a mere teaspoon of active yeast can speed things up for you.
So, here’s the scoop: Whether it’s a quest for a quicker ascent or simply a preference, that teaspoon of yeast is your ace in the hole when your sourdough starter might be taking its sweet time to rise to the occasion.
- What’s the difference between sourdough starter and yeast?
I apologize for the previous response. Here’s the revised version that retains the information you provided without the embellishments:
Sourdough starter naturally contains yeast from the flour and captures more from the air. When you mix flour and water, they create an environment where yeast can thrive by feeding on them. This fermentation process is what gives your starter its characteristic bubbliness and tartness.
Interestingly, the yeast in your home is what imparts a unique flavor to your sourdough. Your environment’s yeast makes each sourdough starter distinct. It’s uniquely yours!
Store-bought yeast is a reliable choice for most baked goods. It interacts with the flour’s gluten, leading to that sought-after rise. Nevertheless, it can be finicky with temperature – too hot, and it’s a goner; too cold, and it remains inactive. Finding the right temperature is crucial to activate this sensitive ingredient.
- What makes my sourdough bread so dense and heavy?
The likely culprit here is a chilly starter. If you’ve been keeping your starter in the refrigerator, the remedy is simple. Give it a good feeding and let it sit on your countertop for 12-24 hours to regain its warmth and vitality.
However, if your room temperature dips below the 75-degree mark, it’s time to find a cozier spot for your starter. To be at its active best, it craves a room temperature of at least 75 degrees, though it’s even happier at 80 degrees or higher.
I’ve delved into your sourdough questions in detail during one of our podcasts, and I trust you’ll find it quite enlightening.
For more sourdough wisdom, along with a starter recipe and sourdough bread recipe, head over to our companion article on sourdough. It’s a treasure trove of valuable tips and techniques to elevate your sourdough game.
My Best Tips for Making Homemade Bread Recipes: Sourdough and Yeast Breads
The first thing I would tell you is to keep in mind that a sourdough “recipe” is really more of a guideline. Treat it as a starting point for your bread-making. Why?
- Your sourdough is alive. Sometimes more so than at others. It won’t act the same every time. It’s not like anyone else’s either.
- Because temperature is key in the making of a starter and bread. Your house may not be as cool as mine or vice versa. The warmer the temperature, the faster things go. So too, the cooler the temperature, the slower things go.
- The older your starter the stronger the flavor. This means if your ratio of starter to flour is high you’ll have a strongly flavored bread. If you prefer a lighter sourdough taste, you’ll need to lower the amount of your aged starter and replace the missing amount with warm water.
- You may not use the same kind of flour as me. Yes, flour type changes the texture, absorption, and even the proving time of bread.
- Add 1 Tbsp raw, organic apple cider vinegar to the dough while mixing. This will add vital enzymes and give you a lighter dough.
- Always start with the smallest amount of flour and work your way up. Your bread dough should be slightly sticky when you start the first rise. During the first rising, the flour will absorb some of the moisture.
- Resist the temptation to knead the dough until it’s “smooth and elastic” with the first kneading. I know many recipes say to do this but resist it. Trust me. Over-kneading is the reason for a “tough”, dense loaf. Knead just until it starts to be smooth and elastic, but is still a little sticky, then stop! The second kneading you do when shaping your loaf will finish it up.
- My best tip for kneading and handling tacky dough is to moisten your hands with water instead of dusting them with flour.
- Rewet them every time the dough begins to stick to you.
- This avoids the mess of flour dust getting everywhere and keeps it moist as well.
- Reserve about 1/3 of the flour your recipe calls for. You’ll add it after the first rising.
- A second kneading may seem like a time-consuming task, but it is well worth it.
- After your first rising, knead in the remaining flour a little at a time.
- As soon as the dough can be handled without sticking to you or your kneading surface, stop kneading.
- Remember humidity levels directly affect all breads. You may have to adjust the amount of flour you use on a very humid day.
- I bake bread in my Dutch oven a great deal of the time. This is how I discovered the importance of steam in the oven when baking bread.
- I put a pot of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven just before I put the loaves in. Fantastic results.
- Don’t worry about being perfect. Like any other skill, the more you do it the better you’ll get. You’ll even develop your own way of doing things.
- Don’t rush the preheat. Let your oven get to the correct temperature and maintain it for 20 minutes before putting your bread in.
- This is easily done by starting the preheat 35-40 minutes before you’re ready to bake. Of course, your oven times and temps will vary so adjust for your situation.
- Different “toppings” develop different crust types. For a crustier top, brush with water just before putting it in the oven.
- For a soft top, brush with beaten egg just before baking.
- For a spongy, soft crust, brush with melted butter after baking.
- Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. I set aside about 4 hours on bread-making morning. It only requires 30-40 minutes of work, the rest of the time is spent waiting for the rise and the baking.
- Use high-quality ingredients. Our goal is to buy whole grains and grind them ourselves to use as flour.
- I also use butter and coconut oil for better, lighter bread. Not to mention the nutritional value of the ingredients. I don’t recommend using oils, shortening, or margarine.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe For The Bread Machine
- This makes a 1 1/2-pound loaf
- Add the ingredients in the order listed
- I set my machine on Whole Wheat, Medium, or Dark depending on how I want it
- Let your loaf sit for 15 minutes before slicing
- If you use all-purpose flour, cut the liquid back to 1 1/8 cup starter and 1/8 cup water. Choose the sourdough setting on your bread machine
- You can use any flour you like
- 1 3/4 cups sourdough starter (learn to make your own starter)
- 1/4 cup warm water (I rinse the cup I used to measure the sourdough starter with 1/4 cup warm water and use it)
- 2 Tbs molasses or honey
- 2 cups whole wheat flour or flour of your choosing
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp real salt
- 2/14 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast (OPTIONAL for a faster rise)
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, and place in corners and sides of the pan
- Add the ingredients to the machine in the exact order listed above
- Set it and hit start
- When the bread is done, remove it from the machine and let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and place loaf on a cooling rack.
- Wait at least 15 minutes before slicing – if you can. Sometimes I don’t and the slice looks weird but if you have to have a slice with butter, you just have to, right?
It’s just that easy to make this sourdough bread recipe for the bread machine.
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Sourdough Bread For The Bread Machine
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- 1 1/2 pound loaf
- 1 ¾ cups Sourdough starter
- ¼ cup warm water - I rinse my sourdough cup with 1/4 cup warm water and use that
- 2 TBS Molasses or Honey
- 3 cups whole wheat flour - If you use all-purpose flour, cut the liquid back to 1 1/8 cup starter and 1/8 cup water. Choose the sourdough setting on your bread machine
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp active dry yeast (OPTIONAL for faster rise)
- 2 TBS unsalted butter - cut into pieces and placed in corners and sides of pan
- Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the exact order listed
- Set your machine to the whole wheat setting. Choose your load color setting and hit start.
- When done, remove from machine and let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and place loaf on cooling rack. Wait at least 15 minutes before slicing – if you can.
- Add the ingredients in the order listed
- I set my machine on Whole Wheat, Medium or Dark (just depends on how I feel) since I use whole wheat flour.
- If you use all-purpose flour choose the sourdough setting on your bread machine.
- If you don’t use whole grain flour, cut the liquid back to 1 1/8 cup starter and 1/8 cup water and use the appropriate setting on your machine
- You can use any flour you like
To wrap things up, I’d like to emphasize the importance of temperature when it comes to your sourdough starter’s vitality. If you ever notice it’s not as active as you’d like, consider whether it might be a bit chilly. The remedy is straightforward – feed it and give it some time on your countertop to warm up and regain its vigor, typically between 12 to 48 hours.
But here’s a personal tip from me to you: Take into account your room’s temperature. If it’s cooler than 75 degrees, your starter might need a cozier spot. It truly thrives when it’s in an environment of at least 75 degrees, and it’s downright joyful at 80 degrees or more.
Remember, our journey into sourdough doesn’t end here. For even more sourdough knowledge, along with a starter recipe and a sourdough bread recipe, make sure to explore our companion article on sourdough. It’s packed with practical tips and guidance to elevate your sourdough game. Happy baking, and may your sourdough adventures be nothing short of delicious!