Place the ingredients into the pan of your machine, in the order suggested by the manufacturer; program for French Bread, or a similar long-rising cycle; and press start.
Check the dough after about 10 minutes of kneading; add additional water or flour as necessary to make a smooth, soft dough.
Remove the bread from the machine when it's done, and cool it on a rack.
Tips from our Bakers
- Because everyone's sourdough starter will vary in consistency — some are on the stiff side, some on the soft — we give a range for the amount of water to add. Start with the smaller amount of water then add more, if necessary, to make a smooth, soft dough.
- This recipe was developed using the French bread cycle on an early-model Zojirushi. This particular cycle called for a total of 30 minutes of kneading, a first rise of 40 minutes, and a second rise of 1 hour, 50 minutes. It's this long second rise that allows the sourdough to attain sufficient volume. The bread bakes for 60 minutes, slightly longer than the usual 55 minutes. Your machine may have a whole-grain or some other cycle that approximates these kneading and rising times. Or, if you have a machine that's programmable (Zojirushi Virtuoso or Supreme), you can easily program these cycle times in yourself via the homemade menu.
- For crustier bread, substitute water for the vegetable oil.
Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter – it’ll be ready for baking about 24 hours after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.