Sourdough in the Zojirushi Breadmaker


This recipe is a REAL sourdough, made with sourdough starter and NO additional yeast, that can be made in the breadmaker. I've tweaked and refined the recipe over time, and it now produces consistently good real sourdough bread for me, with minimal effort. If your sourdough starter is wetter or dryer than mine, you'll probably need to adjust the recipe slightly -- be sure to read the instructions for the details.


1 loaf
File under
bread, bread machine, sourdough, Zojirushi


Wet ingredients (on the bottom of the pan, as usual):
1 cup starter (about the consistency of pancake batter)
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)

Dry ingredients (place on top of the wet ones):
3 cups bread flour (KAF Bread Flour works great)
1 1/2 tsp. dry milk powder (aka 1/2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar


Your sourdough starter should have been fed the day before, and still have some active bubbles, and a layer of "hooch" on top, indicating active fermentation. Stir it up to mix it all together, and to collapse the bubbles for consistent measuring. After you remove the cup of starter needed for this recipe, you should feed your starter culture to replenish it.

Place the wet ingredients in the bottom of the bread machine's pan. Next, put the flour in the pan on top of the wet ingredients, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.

Use a custom cycle, set up as follows:
Preheat: 15 min.
Knead: 28 min.
Rise #1: 6 hours
Rise #2: 2 hours
Rise #3: 1 hour 30 minutes
Bake: 62 minutes
Total time is: 11 hours, 15 minutes.

The first time or two that you make this, check it after about 3-5 minutes of kneading. You may need to adjust the recipe slightly, depending on how wet you keep your starter. The mixed/kneaded batter should be a bit wetter than your usual bread dough, since it's going to lose some water to evaporation over 11 hours, but it should still come together to make a (somewhat sticky and looser than usual) dough ball. If it's too wet (or too dry), it won't knead properly, and you won't develop enough gluten to get a good rise and a smooth and light interior texture.

My starter is the consistency of pancake batter, but everyone who makes sourdough keeps theirs slightly different. If your starter is more runny than mine (more water), you may need to add a tablespoon or two more flour to the dough to get it to all come together and knead properly. If your starter is more of a sponge than a batter consistency, you'll need to add a tablespoon or two of water to the dough. Whichever you do, make a note of it, and simply adjust the amount of water you add next time you make the bread.

If you'd like a little variety, or an even healthier loaf, substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 tsp. of vital wheat gluten for 1 cup of the bread flour. (I haven't tried it, yet, but I suspect that substituting a cup of rye flour instead of whole wheat would also work just fine. I'll report back once I've tried it.)


Submitted by skymaster on Mon, 2012-06-11 18:50.

This process seems like it takes too much time. My sour dough bread mix takes only minutes to make , minus raising time.

Submitted by Doc Sherre' on Thu, 2012-08-02 00:19.

Yo,skymaster. Sourdough bread MIX? With a Zo all it takes is 2 minutes to program, a few minutes to check consistency, then go do laundry or even to work. The flavor is worth it, especially with a nice fresh corn or clam chowder, all the wonderful flavors VT is known for. Yes I am a native Vermonter, from Norwich, and have 21 years of homesickness. I'm stuck in Miami, Florida and it is the NASTIEST place on earth.

Submitted by dan84 on Sat, 2013-02-23 13:23.

My vote for this recipe: AWESOME.

Submitted by RikkiMama on Thu, 2013-02-28 20:01.

Tried this recipe with 100% hydration starter (1 cup = 240 g). Set it all up in the evening and woke up to freshly baked bread. Definitely has a nice sour tang.

However, my loaf had a definite back note of sweetness, which I'm not used to in SD. For my next attempt, I want to try cutting the sugar back to 1 1/2 tsp / 8 g and increase the salt to 2 tsp / 10 g. Also want to replace 5-10 g of flour with rye or whole wheat when I make the starter that will go into the dough (ie: 40 g 100% hydration SD starer, 90-95 g flour, 5-10 g rye or whole wheat flour, 100 g water). Hoping these small changes will produce the flavor that I'm looking for.

FYI - For my loaf, using 5 oz/142 g for the weight of 1 cup of flour produced a dough with the texture that Rick describes.

Thanks for sharing your recipe, Rick!

Submitted by stambler on Thu, 2013-04-04 22:30.

tried this recipe with 1/3 Rye. required one cup of water but my starter maybe a little different. It came out wonderful and tangy. I had two questions about it
what if the starter I use was a rye starter?
second, I noticed that after 6 hours of rising the bread was quite high in my pan. After it got knocked down the second rise wasn't as high nor was the third. it would be nice to have a much higher loaf. Does this happen to other people? What if I just had it rise once for nine and a half hours? Does it need the other two punch downs?I have another rye recipe I use where I just let it have one long rise. seems to work well. So why do we need to punch the dough down? And why won't it rise as hi as it did on the first rise? any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated. This is a great sourdough recipe.
thanks for posting it

Submitted by susiebeeonmaui on Fri, 2013-11-22 12:25.

I made this yesterday, well worth the 11+ hours!
I used 1/3 WW and added 1 TBSP vital wheat gluten.
My starter is about 50% WW and is the consistency of a medium batter.
I needed an additional 3/4 cup of water to get a nice slack dough (cleared sides barely but sticky on bottom during mixing).
Used 1 TBSP honey instead of sugar.
Used 1 TBSP milk instead of powdered milk.

Nice loaf, good tang, beautiful soft crumb with lots of small holes. Will definitely make again!

Submitted by KateL1 on Thu, 2013-12-19 01:35.

I made this directly as written, added 1 Tbsp. of water during my "inspection". This became the most perfect loaf of bread I have ever made in an ABM!. We loved the flavor, and the ease of preparation with the remarkable programmable Zo.

This recipe made me treasure my Zo!

Submitted by CarolynMBP on Wed, 2013-12-25 00:18.

Made this today. I've had my Zo for 3 weeks, and I'm constantly amazed by how good the bread is, whether I make it all in the Zo or just use the dough cycle and bake in the oven. This bread, however, makes all previous efforts pale in comparison. I'm hooked. I LOVE good sourdough bread, and this is just wonderful. This recipe gets slot #1 on my custom settings, permanently.

Thank you Rick and KAF!!!

Submitted by jamontgomery on Mon, 2014-03-10 18:50.

Help! I made this and the loaf is very dense. Perhaps I'm expecting something different. Can anyone post pictures of what its suppose to look like. I started a batch of stater last week and I'm gonna try again tonight. First batch I somehow overlooked that I had to throw some out before feeding and it got a little funky. thanks

Submitted by MajorWelch on Sat, 2014-04-26 09:06.

Thank you, Rick! The flavor of this loaf was absolutely superb! Thank you so much for sharing.

Submitted by MajorWelch on Sat, 2014-04-26 09:06.

Thank you, Rick! The flavor of this loaf was absolutely superb! Thank you so much for sharing.

Submitted by Garacha on Fri, 2015-01-02 07:56.

Has anybody tried this recipe without the sugar? Is the sugar a requirement to feed the starter?

For medical reasons, I cannot handle any sugar. I have no interest in sugar substitutes as I consider many as poison. I know some are not.
Since many store-bought sourdough bread does not contain sugar, it has become the only bread I regularly consume.

I'd love to be making my own sourdough bread, and the above recipe and machine is intriguing to me (except for the sugar aspect.)

I'd appreciate any knowledgeable comments!

Submitted by se1961 on Fri, 2015-01-16 15:23.

I am very intrigued by this recipe, and am trying to modify it to use either a poolish or very tiny amount of yeast and a long rise. I wonder if you (or others) have any tips? (Besides the standard, which seems to be: bake it on your oven!) My poolish is 100% hydration, and I am aiming for a dough with 72% hydration, which seems to work well when I do the standard cycles in the machine. :)

Submitted by rwmol on Sat, 2015-06-13 13:28.

Can you "mist" during the baking cycle?

Submitted by Luv2golf on Mon, 2015-06-15 20:43.

Am I the only failure here?? LOL I have an aggressive and fast sourdough starter that I suspect is a bit overzealous with respect to the timing suggested with this recipe, but it is a San Francisco sourdough starter, authentic.
My problem is that I don't know what part of the 11 hour cycle I need To shorten. I tried shortening the last rise but that made no difference, I suspect the six-hour rise should be cut down to 4 1/2 or five but I'm just guessing. Hoping someone out there can help. Happy baking and happy golfing😊
Btw- what an awesome machine, its my second.

Submitted by Luv2golf on Sat, 2015-06-27 00:15.

Anyone?? So I cut rise1 down to 4:30 rather than 6 hours, as it seemed as though the dough had lost its energy to rise that third time. Unfortunately the cycle ran over night when I was sleeping so I did not have a chance to watch the three rises to unfortunately the cycle ran over night when I was sleeping so I did not have a chance to watch the three rises to see how it performed. The end result was a brick though.

With my first Zo I used a 2 stage process to let the dough sour overnight with half of the flour and the ran a french bread cycle with the rest of the flour for final rise.

This one-step process looks easier once fine-tuned but im not there yet and am tiring of making sourdough croutons and whatever else i can think if for the tasty but dense bricks i have mastered!😂

Submitted by Luv2golf on Sun, 2015-06-28 21:10.

My last brick had a smokey flavor, my dough overflowed over the edges of the pan on all 4 sides and onto the heating element. The ensuing smoke added a terrible flavor to the dense loaf.
Maybe add more salt?? I researched salt effects on sourdough and besides flavor, it moderates the rise. 1.8-2% by weight of flour., 1tsp salt is what im using cs 4 cups flour, but its coarse sea salt, so i will try more to compensate.

Ive never had this much trouble with sourdough before!