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Sourdough Bread Machine Recipe with No Yeast: Only 4 Ingredients

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Preview: Make this Sourdough Bread Machine Recipe with no yeast added using the DOUGH cycle in your bread machine. All the hard work of mixing and kneading happens in the machine, but you do the shaping and baking (in a conventional oven) for a superior crust. This is a traditional naturally-leavened sourdough recipe with only 4 ingredients: starter, water, flour, and salt.

Have you been wanting to try sourdough bread without yeast in your bread machine? What if you could use the timer and DOUGH cycle to accomplish the autolyse, mix, knead, and bulk rise phases while you sleep or work?

After the only thing left to do is shape the dough and refrigerate it for the final rise. Bake this traditional-shaped boule 6-24 hours later. No one would ever guess you used a bread machine to make this addictive sourdough bread.

No yeast bread machine loaf split in half to show texture when 70% water is used.
This loaf (mixed and kneaded in a bread machine) is 70% hydration (263 gr of water)–a little more water than I specified in the recipe. If you are a beginner, start experimenting with less water (236 gr–63% hydration) and work your way up as you get experience handling the dough.

When I first googled the idea, I read that it was impossible to produce a good loaf with a nice texture using a bread machine. The few bread machine sourdough recipes I found without yeast called for extra ingredients such as sugar or butter. This was my mission: to make a simple sourdough bread with only starter, water, flour, and salt that looked like a traditional loaf with a hydration level of at least 65% or higher. Of course, it had to taste fabulous.

Recipe Inspiration:

For several months now, I’ve been making loaf after loaf of sourdough bread–without yeast–using my bread machine. Success and failure visited often, sometimes on the same day. But finally, success has prevailed, and failure only visits when I push the window too far. (Only my trash can knows how many bread frisbees I’ve made.)

Making sourdough without yeast is a lot like making yogurt. Because there are many ways to achieve a great loaf, you have to fine-tune the process to work for you – in your kitchen, with your bread machine, oven, and equipment.

Figuring out a schedule that works with your lifestyle can take time and experimentation. I hope this recipe inspires you and gives you a place to start.

What makes this sourdough recipe different from other bread machine sourdough recipes?

  • Only 4 ingredients (no fat, sugar, or commercial yeast added)
  • Yields a 1.5 lb. loaf that is easily mixed in most home bread machines
  • The recipe can be doubled. Be careful not to exceed the recommended amount of flour for your bread machine.
  • Bread can be made from start to finish in less than 24 hours – including an overnight final rise in the fridge.
  • Only a bread machine and a conventional oven are required. I’m particular about the crust on my bread, so I always bake it in my oven. Why? A bread machine barely heats to 300˚F. There is no way you can get a thin, blistered, and crispy crust, much less the boule or batard shape with an ear and big cracks on top that we all enjoy.
  • Speaking of crust: I like a blistered crust that’s crunchy but tender and golden brown in color. To that end, I don’t use any flour on my work surface or when shaping the dough. A handy spray bottle full of water keeps my hands, bench knife, and work surface damp and stick-free.
  • No custom bread machine cycles are required, but examples are included below if your machine has the capability and you want to use them to make the whole process more convenient.
  • Although not required, digital scales, a bench knife, and a quick-read thermometer are extremely helpful.
  • Hydration is a common word in sourdough circles. The hydration of this recipe is 68%: 255 gr of water divided by 375 gr of flour = 68% hydration. I’ve also had success using 263 grams of water which translates to 70% hydration (see the picture below) and even higher. IT CAN BE DONE WITH A BREAD MACHINE.
slices of sourdough bread showing the open texture

How to use a bread machine timer or delay button to make sourdough bread without yeast:

This is how I use the timer on my machine. Not all machines have a timer that will operate in conjunction with the DOUGH cycle. That’s one reason why I bought a Zojurishi. In my opinion, it’s worth the money.

  1. 10 PM (bedtime): Mix the ingredients right in the bread machine pan by using the DOUGH cycle (See the recipe for specifics). Mixing only takes a couple of minutes. Stop the cycle. Choose the DOUGH cycle again but don’t press start. (This is the autolyse stage.)Then set the timer for 30 minutes to 4 hours (depending on when you are getting up, the temperature, and the hydration of your dough) and press START. (Be sure to check out the tips below for why you want all your ingredients to be cold if you do this.)
  2. OVERNIGHT: (while you sleep): When the time is up, the timer will trigger the DOUGH cycle to start the kneading process. After the DOUGH cycle completes, the dough will sit quietly in the machine as it goes through the bulk rise stage overnight.
  3. 7:00 AM (wake-up): You must decide when the bulk rise is done. No machine can do it for you. Look for a few larger bubbles popping up on top. Gently remove the dough from the machine to your work surface and shape by hand. Then place the shaped dough in the fridge for the final rise–8-24 hours.

The same schedule could be used early in the morning before work. Steps one and two can be set to take all day. The dough would hopefully be ready to shape when you get home after an 8-hour workday. You will need to experiment to know how long to set the timer so that your dough will be ready to shape when you get home.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • STARTER: If you don’t have a starter yet, that’s your first step. The most basic starter contains flour and water. Because I’m a yogurt maker, I used a little yogurt whey to make my starter. The process can take 10 days or longer to get a starter strong enough to make bread.

    If you are impatient, I recommend buying the fresh starter offered by King Arthur Flour. Once you receive it in the mail, follow the directions. You’ll have a starter that’s ready to bake within a couple of days. I’ve tried it out and it works great.

    I use 100% hydration in my starter. That means the amount of water is equal to the amount of flour in WEIGHT. But water is much heavier than flour, so don’t use the same volume of both. My starter looks like thick paste before it starts to proof.
  • WATER: I use refrigerator-cold bottled water or tap water (chill after it sits on the counter for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate). Why cold? See the tips below.
  • FLOUR: My recipe calls for 15 grams (2 tablespoons) of whole wheat flour and 360 grams (3 cups) of bread flour. The higher protein in bread flour helps when using a bread machine. However, I’ve produced good loaves with all-purpose flour, too. (Like the water, I also keep my flour for this recipe in the refrigerator.)

    Regarding the whole wheat: I think a small amount improves the taste, gives the starter extra energy, and enables a higher level of hydration. Whole grains absorb more water than white flour. You can substitute bread flour for whole wheat flour if you prefer, but you may have to adjust the water down a bit.
  • SALT: Fine sea salt or table salt is good. It will dissolve while sitting on top of the dough during the autolyze stage. You can cut back the amount if you like, but don’t cut it out completely.
ingredients needed to make this bread recipe

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What equipment do I need to make sourdough bread?

The only thing you must have with this recipe is a bread machine with a DOUGH cycle and a conventional oven. Everything else helps you get better results.

BREAD MACHINE: A fancy bread machine is nice but not required for this recipe. You will only be using the DOUGH cycle. Some machines have a timer that will control the DOUGH cycle. So convenient! If your machine has a custom cycle option (most often seen on the more expensive models), use it to customize this recipe to your schedule or lifestyle.

DIGITAL SCALES: In my opinion, you really need digital scales to measure the ingredients with accuracy, especially the flour. You can get this one for around $14.

CLEAR CONTAINER for PROOFING: If you don’t want to proof in your bread machine, look for a 2-qt glass bowl or plastic container. It doesn’t have to be see-through, but visibility helps. If it has markings on the side, that’s even better.

equipment for sourdough bread
One thing I left out: a sharp knife or lame to score the bread.

BENCH KNIFE: A bench knife or scraper is helpful in moving the dough around while you shape it. The less you touch the dough with your fingers, the less likely you are to get into a sticky mess. Instead of using flour, keep your water sprayer handy to wet the bench knife, the work surface, and your hands.

BANNETON, mixing BOWL, or COLANDER for PROOFING: A banneton is a type of wood basket that is traditionally used for holding the bread dough as it rises. If you don’t want to purchase one, use a small colander or mixing bowl along with a cotton or linen tea towel to line your container. Rice flour works best to flour your liner or towels since it has no gluten and won’t dissolve into the dough as wheat flour does.

QUICK-READ THERMOMETER: These are great for beginners who aren’t sure if their bread is done. This thermometer costs about 14$. I use my thermometer nearly every day whether I’m making bread or not.

Temperature is an important factor in how fast each stage of making sourdough progresses. Use your thermometer to monitor the situation and make decisions about whether you need more or less heat.

CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN: (optional) You don’t have to have a Dutch oven to make sourdough bread, but it will give your bread more rising power than not using one. I used my Le Creuset DO at first. The high temperatures pretty much ruined the finish and made the crust a little tough. I had much better luck with a relatively inexpensive seasoned cast iron pot and lid that I could also use as a skillet. The lid holds the bread while the pot acts as a lid.

ALTERNATIVES TO A DUTCH OVEN: Check out this post from about creating steam in your oven for several methods you can use to get that all-important steam inside your oven if you don’t use a Dutch oven.

MISCELLANEOUS: Parchment paper is handy, especially if you need to use it as a sling to lift and lower dough into your Dutch oven or onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone. Lames are fun if you want to cut fancy designs on top of your bread, but a sharp knife or razor blade is sufficient for beginners.

Are you a beginning or an advanced bread baker?

Beginners might want to start out with lower hydration levels. Use 248 gr (66%), or 236 gr (63%) of water without changing the amount of flour in the recipe. Lower-hydration dough is easier to handle until you get some experience. If your dough seems sticky and unmanageable, reduce the water and gradually work your way up the hydration scale.

If you are used to working with sourdough with no yeast, you can easily increase the hydration by only changing the amount of water. For example, If you want to try higher hydration levels for a lighter and more open crumb, use 263 grams of water for a 70% hydration, 275 grams of water for 73% hydration, or 283 grams of water for 75% hydration.

What is the most important tip to know when making sourdough with no yeast in a bread machine?

The secret to making sourdough bread without yeast in a bread machine, especially when using higher levels of hydration, is to use COLD water, COLD flour, and even a COLD pan (I put mine in the freezer). Don’t worry. The kneading cycle will warm everything up in a hurry.

Using water and flour straight out of the fridge helps keep the dough temperature down around 80˚F as the machine kneads. Otherwise, the temperature can get close to 90˚F from the action of the paddles.

When the dough becomes excessively warm, the dough is too sticky to pull away from the sides of the pan, making the kneading cycle less effective in building dough strength. This is my experience.

2 tips for extending the bulk rise phase:

  1. Place the bread machine pan into the freezer for 15 minutes or longer to get it really cold. I always do this when using the delay timer to mix, knead, and bulk rise the bread overnight.
  2. Use less starter than the recipe calls for. The more starter you use, the less time the bulk rise will take. For example: I decrease the starter to 45-50 grams whenever I use the overnight timer on my bread machine if I know I plan to sleep-in the next day.

FAQ about naturally-leavened sourdough bread:

How can I keep the bottom of my sourdough bread from burning?

Place a cookie sheet onto the bottom rack located below the rack holding your bread.

How can I keep the parchment paper from sticking to my bread?

1. Spray the paper with cooking spray. 2. Sprinkle the bottom of the dough with semolina or cornmeal before turning it out of the banneton or basket. 3. Use a grill sheet cut in the shape of the bottom of your pan instead of parchment paper (my favorite solution because it’s reusable).

How do I know when my starter has risen enough to use it in my bread?

Your starter should double or even approach triple its original size. The amount of time required will depend on the ratio of the original starter to flour and water, the starting temperature of the water and seed starter, and the vitality of your starter. If a small spoonful of your starter floats in water, most people would say it’s ready to use. This is not a guarantee that the starter is strong enough to make your bread rise nice and high, but it’s a clue.

Why can’t I bake my sourdough bread from beginning to end with the bread machine?

A bread machine only heats up to about 290-300˚F – not hot enough to create a crispy and golden crust, a hallmark of naturally-leavened sourdough. Also, the rise cycles programmed into your machine are nowhere near long enough for a naturally-leavened loaf. Your bread will be better when you shape it by hand and bake it with high heat to make it really pop and produce a more open texture. Totally worth the trouble!

What is the advantage of using a bread machine to make sourdough bread over a stand mixer or by hand?

One advantage is the timer. Since the kneading is on a timer (the DOUGH cycle), you don’t have to worry about how long to knead or if you’re doing it right. The only thing you have to do by hand when using a bread machine is shaping it before the final rise, and baking it in your oven. Some machines will let you program the machine so that the autolyse, kneading, and bulk rise all happen automatically while you sleep or work. (see example above)

For people who can’t physically knead dough or find the process uncomfortable, the bread machine is a life-saver.

Three secrets to successful naturally-leavened sourdough bread:


In my opinion, the secret to sourdough bread with no yeast is learning to read and handle the starter and dough. Knowing when to go to the next step is crucial…and hard to learn from pictures. Experience helps.


You can manipulate almost any stage of making sourdough by changing the temperature. Warmth speeds things up. Cold slows it down. This applies to how fast your starter grows, the bulk rise, and the final rise. In general, the slower the yeast develops, the better the flavor and texture of your final loaf of bread. When possible, don’t rush it.


Ratios make a HUGE difference when it comes to the timing of the rises and characteristics of the dough. For example, the higher the water percentage, the faster the dough will rise, the more open the crumb will be, and the greater the possibilities for a sticky mess. Even the starter is affected by the ratio of flour to water as well as the ratio of seed starter to the flour and water when you feed it.

I’m here to answer your questions, but honestly, experimentation in your own kitchen is key. Luckily, the ingredients aren’t expensive. The best way to be successful is to keep practicing, don’t let the failures get you down, and whatever you do, don’t get on the bathroom scales.

The sweet taste of success and a beautiful loaf of bread will be your reward. 

Are you ready? Let’s get started. Follow my picture tutorial below or check out the video.

p.s. Making sourdough bread is addictive once you get into it. You’ve been warned.

How to make Bread Machine Sourdough Bread – No Yeast:


sourdough starter--ready to use
1. Measure active and bubbly starter into the bread machine pan. I use 100% hydration when making my starter. In other words, the weight of the water is equal to the weight of the flour added to the seed starter. (This does not mean the volume measurement is equal as water is much heavier than flour.)
water and starter in bread machine pan before mixing.
2. Add water.
Bread machine mixing water and starter.
3. Select the DOUGH cycle and start the machine. Mix for about one minute until the starter and water are well mixed. (NOTE: If your bread machine starts the DOUGH cycle with a pulsing motion, let the machine mix the starter and water until the cycle switches to a steady mixing motion with the paddles. This could take 2-3 minutes.)
Bread machine mixing flour gradually.
4. As soon as the water and starter are mixed, add both flours to the machine in a steady flow. Run the machine until all the flour is moistened – should take about 20-30 seconds. STOP the machine and unplug it.
preparing dough with a spatula for autolyze phase.
5. Use a small spatula to ensure all the flour in the corners and the bottom is in contact with the water. The dough will appear dry and shaggy. Don’t add water!
starter, flour, and water mixed in a bread machine with salt on top
6. Sprinkle salt over the top of the dough. Close the lid.
setting the timer
7. Set a time for 30 minutes up to several hours. Let the dough sit quietly. This is the autolyze process and will allow the flour to absorb more water.


8. Plug the bread machine in and restart the DOUGH cycle. The kneading time will vary depending on how your machine was programmed at the factory.
9. The dough should look like this when it’s almost finished kneading. It should stick to the sides, then pull away. Note that the sides of the pan are fairly clean while the dough is shiny and smooth. Using cold water and flour keeps the dough from getting too hot and sticky while the bread machine kneads the dough.


Option 1:

Leave the dough in the bread machine after it has finished kneading on the DOUGH cycle. The dough should be light and airy, doubled in size, and display some visible bubbles on top when ready for shaping. I hesitate to suggest times because it could be anywhere from 3 to 12 hours (or even longer in the winter). It all depends on the temperature of the dough and the vitality of your starter.

If the ambient temperature is not too warm, I like to use this option overnight or if I’m going to be gone all day. You might like it if you work all day and want the bulk rise to happen automatically while you’re gone.

When the dough is ready, delicately ease it out onto a damp surface for shaping.

Option 2:

This option is good if you don’t want to tie up your machine for 4-5+ hours. Also, you can easily observe the status of the dough during the bulk rise since you can see the bubbles on the bottoms and sides of the dough. Removal of the dough without destroying the bubbles is also easier from a glass bowl or container than from the bread machine pan.

Transfer the dough at the end of the kneading process to a clear glass or plastic container that holds at least 2 liters.

Transfer the dough from the bread machine pan to a lightly greased container. The dough is not delicate at this point.
shaping dough before bulk rise.
Round the dough with your slightly-oiled hands and place into the container with the smooth side up.
dough at the end of the bulk rise
The dough is ready when it has doubled in size and is light and airy. You should see bubbles on top, the sides, and the bottom. Warning: You won’t see much happening for the first few hours. The rise starts out slowly, but once it gets going, it can grow fast. Most of the bubbles appear toward the end of the bulk rise. The process could take as long as 3 to 10 or more hours depending on the temperature. Pay no attention to the time – only look at the dough. Getting this right is one of the hardest things about making sourdough bread with no yeast.

If you don’t allow the bread to rise long enough during the bulk rise, your bread may turn out too dense and compact. If you let the dough rise too long and overproof, the bread will have a tendency to spread out like a frisbee. The flavor and color may be off when you bake it. Oven spring might be less. It’s sad, really. But don’t let it ruin your day. You’re one loaf closer to success.


proofed dough falling out of plastic container
Pre-shaping: Gently turn the container or the bread machine pan holding the dough upside down and let the dough fall out onto a damp surface. Be patient. If the dough is sticking to the pan, use a small spatula to loosen the dough from the sides and help it fall out.
Dough right after being dumped out of container.
Your dough should have an airy texture. This particular dough came out of a square plastic container. Dough that rises in the bread machine pan won’t be this pretty, but as long as the air bubbles are not destroyed, it will make a beautiful loaf.
bread dough shaped into a circle.
Using a light touch, push the dough into a circle with your fingertips and light stretching. Wet your hands and the work surface with water to keep your fingers from sticking to the dough.
folding over the edge of the circle
Using wet fingers and a wet bench knife, grab one side and fold it to the middle. Press down lightly on the seam to seal it.
more folding.
Moving clockwise, pull the adjacent edge over to the middle. Seal with your fingers. If the dough starts to stick to the surface, your fingers, or the bench scraper, spritz it with water.
and more folding.
Work your way around the circle until the dough is shaped roughly like a ball.
flipping the dough ball over so the smooth side is on top
Using a damp bench scraper and your damp hands, flip the ball over so the smooth side is up. Cover and let the ball rest for 10-15 minutes.


using hands and a bench scraper to create tension on sourdough ball.
(If the dough has flattened out a lot during the previous rest, refold the ball starting with one edge and working your way around the circle just like you did in the previous step. Use a bench knife to flip the dough ball over, cover, and let rest again before proceeding.)
If the ball is holding its shape, use your hands and/or a bench scraper to make the ball more compact with a few pushing and pulling motions. (See video) Only do this 3-4 times. Overdoing this fun step can result in large tunnels. (This is not the only reason for large tunnels.)


placing shaped dough into a lined basket.
Place your shaped dough into a lined basket or bowl with the seam side up.
covering dough with a cheap shower cap
Cover with a cheap shower cap or put the whole bowl into a plastic bag. Place into the refrigerator for 7-24 hours for the final rise before baking.


Preheat your conventional oven before taking the shaped dough out of the fridge. Set your oven to 550˚F or as high as it will go. Let it preheat for 45 minutes. Set your Dutch oven inside the oven to preheat at the same time.

Speaking of Dutch ovens, don’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maximum temperature. Some will tell you never to preheat your pan empty. If that’s the case, wait until your oven is preheated. Place the bread in the pan, then into the oven. The Dutch oven doesn’t have to be preheated.

Inverting dough onto a piece of parchment paper
When your oven is thoroughly preheated, remove the dough from the fridge. Work fast. After sprinkling the dough with semolina or cornmeal, invert dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
Scoring bread dough
Use a sharp knife or razor blade to score the bread at a 45-degree angle if you want an “ear.” Or make a simple “X” or “+” sign. The slash should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
placing loaf in a Dutch oven before baking.
Place the dough into your Dutch oven, onto a preheated pizza stone, or a heavy cookie sheet.
using a Dutch oven to bake bread.
If using a Dutch oven, cover. Turn the oven thermostat back to 450 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
removing the lid
Remove the lid. Continue to cook for 12 more minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 210˚F.
whole loaf on a cooling rack
Some people like their sourdough baked to a darker color. This loaf is perfectly browned for us. Let the loaf cool for 1 hour before slicing. 2-3 hours is even better.
bottom crust on the loaf
Truth in advertising: The bottom is crispy but not burnt.
sliced bread in front of a bread machine
It’s possible! You can make a traditional loaf of sourdough with no yeast using a bread machine.

bread machine crash course sign-up

It feels like an act of bravery to publish this post. There are so many ways to mess up. Getting the hang of sourdough (in this case, with a bread machine) takes persistence and a willingness to experiment. I guess that’s why a successful loaf is SO SATISFYING.

I’ve been challenged and many of you will be, too…most of us aren’t comfortable with failure so we give up and move on too quickly. I promise, if you hang in there, you’ll get it.

p.s. A special thanks to Vanessa, one of my faithful readers and a fellow bread machine lover, who encouraged me through the frisbee failures to keep trying until I finally produced bread I could be proud of. May you have somebody in your life who will do the same.

More recipes and posts related to bread machines:

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and myself by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the recipe below. No comments required.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at

Yield: 12 slices

Bread Machine Sourdough Bread Recipe - No Yeast

Bread Machine Sourdough Bread Recipe - No Yeast

Make this no yeast sourdough bread recipe in your bread machine using the DOUGH cycle. All the hard work of mixing and kneading happens in the machine, but you do the shaping and baking (in a conventional oven) for a superior crust and a traditional appearance.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 22 hours
Total Time 23 hours


  • 1/4 cup (60 gr) bubbly and active sourdough starter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons ( 255 gr) water (refrigerator-cold)
  • 3 tablespoons (20 gr) whole wheat flour
  • 2-3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon (340 gr) bread flour (refrigerator-cold)
  • 1-1/2 scant teaspoon (8 gr) table or sea salt


  1. MIXING AND AUTOLYZE: Add bubbly starter and water to the bread machine pan. Select the DOUGH cycle. Run for about 1 minute until the starter and water are mixed.
  2. Open the lid and gradually add the whole wheat and bread flour to the pan as the machine continues to run. Stop the machine as soon as all the flour is moistened (less than a minute). Use a spatula to make sure no dry flour is left on the sides or in the corners. Press the flour mixture down flat with a spatula and sprinkle the salt over the top. Close the lid without turning on the machine and let the flour mixture sit for 40 minutes. (See the notes below if you want to put the autolyze, kneading, and bulk rise on a timer.)
  3. KNEADING: Select the DOUGH cycle and START. When the machine beeps that the cycle is finished, leave the dough in the bread machine pan to rise or transfer the dough to a lightly-greased 2-liter clear plastic or glass container. Cover.
  4. BULK RISE: Leave the dough to rise until almost double the original size. THIS IS CRUCIAL. The process may take 3-10 hours depending on the temperature of the dough and the vitality of your starter. A few bubbles will appear on the top along with lots of small bubbles on the sides and bottom of the dough. You can influence the speed of proofing by moving your container to a warmer or cooler location.
  5. When the dough is fully proofed, gently turn the container with the dough upside down and let the dough fall gently onto a damp work surface. If it doesn't want to fall out, use a small, wet spatula to loosen the dough from the sides and try again. Be patient and let gravity do most of the work so the air bubbles will stay intact.
  6. PRE-SHAPING: Use your wet fingers and/or a wet bench scraper to pick up one side of the circle, then fold it toward the center. Use your fingers to gently tap the seams and "glue" them down. Move clockwise around the circle, picking up the adjacent dough and fold it toward the center. Repeat the process until your dough is in a shape that resembles a ball. Use a wet bench knife to help you flip the dough ball (boule) over so the smooth side is on top. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10-30 minutes.
  7. FINAL SHAPING: (If the dough flattened out a lot during the previous rest period, refold the ball starting with one edge and work your way around the circle just like you did in step 7. Flip over, cover, and let rest again before proceeding.) If the ball is holding its shape, use your hands and/or a bench scraper to make the ball more compact. (See video) Only do this 3-4 times. Overdoing this fun step can result in large tunnels. NOTE: If your dough turns into a big gooey mess, it's likely that you have over-proofed it or let it stick to your fingers. Scrape the dough into a greased 8½ x 4½ inch bread pan. Cover it and place it into the fridge for the final rise. It might not be pretty but will probably taste good when baked.
  8. Place the dough with the smooth side down into a lined (can use a linen or cotton tea towel) and floured (I like rice flour) banneton, small mixing bowl, or a small colander. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes on the counter if you have time. Otherwise, put it straight into the fridge.
  9. Final Rise: Refrigerate 8 to 24 hrs inside a plastic bag sealed to keep out refrigerator odors and preserve the moisture inside the dough.
  10. BAKE: Preheat your oven to 550˚F (or as high as it will go) for 45 minutes before you want to bake.
  11. If using a Dutch oven, see the recipe notes below. Otherwise, set an iron skillet on the lower rack during the preheat.
  12. Remove the bread from the refrigerator immediately before you're ready to bake. Sprinkle the dough with semolina or cornmeal while still in the bowl so it won't stick to your parchment paper. Turn the dough out of the bowl or banneton onto a piece of parchment paper. Brush off excess flour with a brush. If you want a blistered crust,paint your loaf with water, then spritz it a couple of times for a blistered crust. Slash the bread with a sharp knife or razor blade using any design you like. Do it as quickly as you can. The main slash should be at least 1/2 to 1 inch deep. Make it at a sharp angle to the bread if you want a good "ear." Move the boule with the parchment paper under it to a cookie sheet or a Dutch oven.
  13. If using a Dutch oven, put the lid on and place it into your oven,
  14. If using a cookie sheet, place the tray holding the bread on the middle rack of your oven. Using oven mitts, pour a half cup of boiling water into the hot iron skillet. Do it quickly and close the oven door as fast as you can. Turn the temperature back to 450˚.
  15. If using a Dutch oven, remove the lid after 25 minutes. If you want the loaf to brown more, completely remove the bread from the Dutch oven and set it on the oven rack.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes total or until bread reaches 207-210˚F in the middle using a quick-read thermometer and is browned to your preference.
  17. Let the bread cool on a rack for at least an hour or longer before slicing to avoid gumminess.


Baking with a Dutch oven:

If using a Dutch oven, place it onto the middle rack in your oven along with a heavy cookie sheet on the rack just below it while preheating the oven. Place the unbaked boule onto parchment paper on the bottom of your Dutch oven. Put the lid on and place it onto the middle rack. After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the pan. Cook an additional 12-15 minutes or until bread reaches 207-210˚F in the middle using a quick-read thermometer.

How to use a delay timer with the DOUGH cycle for the autolyze, kneading, and bulk rise:

If your machine has a delay timer, select the DOUGH cycle then set the timer so it won't start for at least 30 minutes--up to several hours. Push start. Watch for the timer to start counting down. You can now walk away until the BULK RISE is done. You are the one who decides when the bread has risen long enough at the end of the bulk rise. Don't forget about it.

Choosing the amount of time you want to delay depends on when you will be back to check on the dough and how long you predict the bulk rise will take. For example, if it is 10 pm and I'm mixing the dough so it will rise overnight, I will need to add a 2-hour and 30-minute delay to the 90-minute DOUGH cycle. That means my bulk rise will start at 1:00 because the DOUGH cycle allows 1 hour for rising. Based on my experience, I will check my dough 5 hours later to see if the bulk rise is done when I wake up at 6:00. The timeline looks like this:

  1. 10 PM--Mix water, starter, and flour just until moistened.
  2. 10:01--Sprinkle salt on top.
  3. 10:02--Select DOUGH cycle. Set the timer for 4 hours. Press start. The machine will not start for 2.5 hours because 4 hours includes the time of the DOUGH cycle. The autolyze will happen during this quiet time.
  4. 12:30 AM--DOUGH cycle starts automatically. The DOUGH cycle consists of kneading which lasts for 21 minutes followed by a 1 hour and 9-minute rising period.
  5. 2:00 AM (approximately)--Dough cycle ends (beeping may wake up light sleepers). Because the dough has already been rising for 1 hour, I have approximately 4 more hours to sleep and wake up to check my dough at 6:00 to see if my dough is ready to be shaped.
  6. As the temperature of the house changes through the seasons, you will have to adjust your timing.

If all this sounds complicated, it only takes a time or two of experimenting to figure it out. The timing of the cycles is different for every machine. Find your bread machine manual or check online if you don't have it. Otherwise. experiment until you figure it out. Once you've got it down, you won't have to think about it again.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

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