My Panasonic ZB2512 bread maker comes with a sourdough setting which makes a nice, compact loaf of bread. I wanted a loaf shaped more like something you might get at a bakery so I followed the instructions for the dough rather than the loaf, then shaped, proved and finished it in the oven. It didn’t turn out great. The dough was far too wet and when I transferred it to a baking tray it couldn’t hold its shape and I ended up with a flat, ugly (but still somewhat edible) loaf.
The second time around I weighed the sourdough starter. The quantities provided in the recipe booklet that comes with the bread machine make 215g of starter if you scrape every last bit out with a silicone spoon. I decreased the amount of water from 120ml to 100ml, proved the dough in a 500g oval banneton basket and voila! A loaf that could possibly have come from a bakery... if you don’t look too closely. It doesn't have that beautiful open texture that's common in sourdough but I can forgive it because it involves minimal effort and tastes lovely.
It’s important to make sure that the water for the sourdough starter is 20°C. When my thermometer broke and I tried to guess the temperature I ended up ruining my starter.
Update: I've started using semolina instead of flour to dust the dough before it goes into its basket, which gives the bread even more of a bakery feel. I've also tried the recipe using an 8.5" round banneton and the bread turned out great (see the second picture).
- 80g rye flour (I used wholemeal)
- 60g plain yoghurt
- ½ tsp salt
- 80ml water (20°C)
- 0.1g dried yeast (use the sourdough starter spoon to measure this)
- 215g sourdough starter
- 320g strong white bread flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- 100ml water
- ½ tsp dried yeast (I used Allinson Easy Bake Yeast)
- flour or semolina (for dusting)
- For the sourdough starter add 80g of rye flour, 60g of plain yoghurt, ½ teaspoon salt, 80ml water (20°C), and 0.1g of active yeast into the plastic cup that comes with the bread maker and stir to combine. Select menu 27 (on the Panasonic ZB2512). The starter will ferment for 24 hours. Take care to select the correct menu option otherwise the cup will melt and the starter will be ruined.
- Once the 24 hour cycle has finished remove the starter from the machine and put the normal blade in the loaf tin. Add all of the starter into the loaf tin (215g). It should have a slightly sour, alcoholic, fermented smell.
- Add 320g of strong white bread flour, ¾ teaspoon salt and 100ml water to the loaf tin then put it in the bread maker. Add ½ teaspoon of yeast to the yeast dispenser and select menu 26 (2 hours 30 minutes).
- If using a banneton basket, dust the inside with flour or semolina.
- Once the dough cycle has finished, tip the dough onto a floured work surface and lightly dust the outsides with flour or semolina. Transfer the dough to the banneton basket if using (mine is 25 x 15 x 8cm) or else put it in a large bowl. Cover and leave to prove somewhere warm (around 30°C) for 30-35 minutes.
- Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking tray and preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan).
- After 30-35 minutes the dough should have risen. Tip onto the baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes (I check after 15 minutes). It's done when the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.