[Sca-cooks] bread machines and sour dough starter

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Tue Feb 12 04:55:25 PST 2008

> Dragon said:
> <<< Another factor that steers me away from such a device is that my
> breads almost always involve a starter or sponge that may be
> fermenting for days prior to baking. This produces far more flavor
> and a far better texture than anything you could possibly do in a
> bread machine with quick rising yeasts. >>>
> Oh? You have to use a dried yeast or baking powder with a bread
> machine? You can't use a starter or sponge with a bread machine? Or
> do you just mean that you let the whole loaf rise over a long period
> before baking it? If the latter, can't you let the bread machine mix
> and knead it and then let it rise over the several days and then bake
> it in the oven or bread machine?
> Stefan

In general, bread machines are designed to work with yeast to produce a 
relatively light dough which will rise quickly.  There are some fast acting 
yeasts that are tailored to work within the cycle time of  bread machines. 
Commercial symbiosis.

Sourdough is quite a bit trickier than yeast bread.  The dough is generally 
stiffer requiring greater power from the motor and the rise time may vary by 
several hours so that it doesn't fall within the timer parameters.  In my 
opinion, the bread machines I've seen aren't designed to handle the load of 
a truly stiff dough  and will not produce as good crumb texture as mixer or 
hand kneading.

This also doesn't consider the question of quantity.  A bread machine will 
produce dough for about 2 lbs of bread.  I often bake 4 to 8, 1 to 2 lb 
loaves at a time.  Just preparing the dough in a bread machine would require 
me to do 2 to 4 times the work I would do with a mixer.  Why waste the 


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