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Genuine sourdough from a breadmaker

The following is not so much a recipe, more notes from experiments with my machine.  All bread machines have different cycle times and, being natural, living things, all sourdough starters work at different rates. 

I have tried both the below methods a few times and have each time produced a tasty loaf that has been dense, chewy and about two-thirds the height of a loaf produced with dried yeast and an extra 25g water instead of the starter.

NB Choosing to ignore a breadmaker manufacturer's instructions is something that you do at your own risk. Neither the Real Bread Campaign or I can take any responsibility if you choose to experiment and end up doing damage or with a brick.

If you do decide to experiment with producing real sourdough in a machine, we'd love to hear how you get on.

Ingredients

275g water (cold, except as stated)
50g very active rye sourdough starter*
5g salt
500g strong (bread) flour white, wholemeal or a mixture of both

This starts as a very stiff dough but the long fermentation relaxes the structure considerably.   

* My starter is at 100% hydration (i.e. equal quantities of rye flour and water) and lives in the fridge.  If baking once a week, on a Saturday, I remove it from the fridge to refresh it on Thursday morning, Thursday evening and Friday morning for use on Friday evening.  It then goes back in the fridge.

Method 1 (straight dough)

Add the water, starter, salt and flour to the bucket. Secure in the machine and run the dough cycle for about ten minutes until the mixture has cleared i.e. no dry bits remain.

Turn off the machine, cover the bucket with a plastic bag to prevent the dough forming a skin and leave for 10-12 hours I left mine overnight.  Room temperature averaged about 20C.

Remove the plastic bag and run the cycle with the longest proving times.  

Method 2 (sponge and dough)

Add the starter, half of the water and half of the flour to the bucket.  Secure in the machine and run the dough cycle for about ten minutes until the mixture has cleared i.e. no dry bits remain.

Turn off the machine, cover the bucket with a plastic bag to prevent the dough forming a skin and leave for 10-12 hours I left mine overnight.  Room temperature averaged about 20C

Remove the plastic bag, add in the remaining water (warm), flour and the salt. Run the dough cycle again until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.  Turn off the machine, cover the bucket with a plastic bag to prevent the dough forming a skin and leave for 4-6 hours.

Remove the plastic bag and run the cycle with the longest proving times.  

Cycle times

The following are the names and details of the cycles on my machine that have worked best.  Neither is ideal but the first gives more time for rising and the second produces a browner loaf.  There is one other with a ten minute longer final rise but its fifty minute bake barely browns a sourdough loaf.

Whole wheat small
30 min rest
32 min knead
76 min rise (at 32C)
10 sec knock back
30 min rest (at 32C)
18 sec shape
57 min rise (at 32C)
60 min bake (at 115C)

Basic white large
45 min knead
29 min rise (at 32C)
23 sec shape
56 min rise (at 32C)
65 min bake (at 130C)
 
2010 Chris Young / the Real Bread Campaign