Before you can make spelt sourdough bread, you need to first, make or obtain a sourdough starter.  If you are starting one yourself, you can use wholemeal spelt or rye from the beginning.  If you are getting some from a friend or another source and it is wheat, you can feed it spelt or rye and gradually the wheat content will diminish and you’ll be left with a spelt or rye starter.

There are LOADS of internet posts about creating and feeding a starter, I will leave this to the experts! It looks a daunting procedure but actually, it is quite simple and once it is done, your starter lasts as long as you feed it, which can be for years and years.   If you don’t bake very often, the starter can be left in the fridge for up two 2 weeks without feeding it.

This easy bread-maker recipe seems to work for me.  With three young children and a busy life, I find it really so easy to do, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t do it myself! This is the bread I make every other day and the bread my children take to school as sandwiches in their lunch boxes.

The best bit of all this; enjoying fresh, homemade bread which you know is healthy, no unnecessary ingredients (check out your next shop-bought loaf for a staggering list), no added yeast and no modern wheat.

Spelt Sourdough loaf in a bread-maker (easy peasy!)

The recipe is for a medium loaf, that lasts us two days. You can scale up the ingredients if you want a larger one, but be aware beforehand that the bread is best eaten within two days.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 200 g wholemeal spelt/rye sourdough starter fed recently, approx 8 hours ago
  • 200 ml water
  • 200 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 200 g white spelt flour slightly harder to get hold of, some supermarkets do it, some health food shops. Or you can just do a 100% wholemeal loaf
  • 1 tsp salt optional, preferably rock salt


  • Weigh the above ingredients into the bread-maker pan.
  • Put the bread pan in the bread-maker and mix on ‘pizza’ setting (Panasonic) or any ‘dough-only’ only setting for 6 minutes. This is purely for the function of mixing the ingredients to a ball, no proving required. Don’t leave for the whole dough cycle, just long enough for the machine to mix all the ingredients well together into a ball.
  • Remove the mixing blade (as swiftly as possible, the dough is quite sticky!)
  • Close the lid of the machine and leave for about 8 hours (I do it overnight).
  • After 8 hours (for example, when you come into the kitchen in the morning), set the bread-maker to ‘bake only’, for 1 hr.
  • In 1 hour you’ll have a freshly baked spelt sourdough loaf. Leave to cool and enjoy.


If you don’t have a bread-maker, you can mix the ingredients by hand, kneading the dough only enough to get a nice ball of dough. Leave to rise overnight in a bowl, covered by cling film. The next morning, bake in the oven.
As you get to work more with sourdough, you will find you can play around with the starter:flour:water ratios depending on how you like your bread.

Author: Kate Siraj, Ayurvedic Practitioner, BSc Ayurveda, MChem (Oxon), MAPA.
© The Ayurveda Practice

Photo thanks to


Valery · July 9, 2013 at 23:05

Great idea, rather than buying sourdough bread. But where do you buy sourdough starter?

    Russell · January 16, 2017 at 14:34

    Valery says:
    July 9, 2013 at 23:05
    Great idea, rather than buying sourdough bread. But where do you buy sourdough starter?

    Valery and Kate – no need to buy a sourdough starter, just make one using the following Sourdough starter recipe:

    100gms dark rye wholemeal flour;
    200gms filtered water

    Mix ingredients together in a plastic tub with a snap-on lid and leave in a warm place for 4 days (in our apartment, the only consistently warm place is the shelf above the loo!)

    After 4 days take off the lid and examine the contents; the starter should smell slightly fruity, the surface will have bubbled-up and if you dip-in your finger the taste will be slightly acidic. Gently whip the contents with a fork or whisk to incorporate the contents and leave for a further 24 hours.

    Now you have the sourdough starter and can start your bread-making. I have not used Kate’s recipe process; preferring to divide the bread-making into two steps. I prepare an overnight “sponge” and mix the final dough after 12 – 18 hours. This has a pronounced effect on the final bread and makes it more easily digestible (rye and spelt are low gluten flour sources but need the lengthy development of the overnight sponge to improve digestion and long lasting edibility or shelf life.

    I have only just seen this website and your questions were raised over three years ago. So it’s likely you have found a solution and are making great breads. But for those, who like me have only just hit on the site, I hope my guide to making a sourdough starter will encourage you to try it out for yourselves.

    Good luck!

lalita · June 1, 2014 at 13:08

How to make the spel starter?

    Kate · June 2, 2014 at 11:44

    I don’t have instructions about how to make the starter but there are many websites out there which do, if you just search for spelt sourdough starter I’m sure you’ll find some. You can also buy them on eBay for about £5 or £6. I got mine from someone else and have had it for a long while so I haven’t had to make one from scratch. Have fun!

Jane · January 21, 2015 at 02:34

This sounds great! I have heard sourdough should be left to sit in a glass bowl rather then metal/ plastic. I assume the bread maker tin is metal. In your opinion do u find cause for concern at all?

    Kate · January 25, 2015 at 18:04

    Hi Jane,
    I haven’t found any problems with it being in a metal container, it works fine for me!
    Have fun with your sourdough.

Peter Lopez · November 2, 2016 at 01:57

I’m anxious to make your recipe but I dont have a breadmaking machine.
The recipe does not state oven temperature and baking time.
Please provide these details.
Thank you,

    Kate · November 2, 2016 at 11:30

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for your interest. I’m afraid I have never cooked the bread in the oven as I have a breadmaker. It may be worth looking at the weight of the dough and looking for a similar sized loaf recipe where oven temperature and baking time are indicated.
    Warm regards,

      Kate · November 11, 2016 at 11:50

      Dear Peter,
      I have made 100% wholemeal spelt with this recipe and it has produced a loaf that was fine; more dense without a doubt but sliceable and delicious. I wonder if the breadmaker had a different heat setting? It could have been hotter and thus overbaked it?
      I’m sorry it didn’t work for you, maybe you could try with the half white half wholemeal?
      Warm regards,

Peter Lopez · November 10, 2016 at 20:58

Hello Kate,
Thanks for the reply.

Did you ever bake a bread 100% wholemeal spelt flour as you suggest may be done in your recipe and what was the outcome?

Mine was a total failure. The only mistake I made was to cut off a piece once it cooled thereby rendering a perfectly good door stop usesless.

I borrowed a breadmaker. What I encountered was a long mixing time to form a ball of dough. Until 8 minutes passed, there was still a lot of flour in the bottom of the baking pan that had not incorporated into the dough ball. After about 8 minutes the result was the consistency of pie dough, not ‘sticky’.

My starter was bubbly and therefore I feel it was active, alive and capable of providing rise. The dough did not rise overnight, but I engaged the bake cycle anyway in the hopes something good would happen during baking.

Any ideas?


Pauline Pearson · October 28, 2017 at 20:40

I have followed the instructions exactly for one exception, I used 60/40 wholemeal spelt. The loaf is a little dense but I love the flavour. I achieve a tasty loaf which is just flour and water (and a little salt).

Lori MacGregor · November 6, 2017 at 13:43

Hi Russell, could you give us your sponge technique recipe? Thank you.

Aly · May 22, 2018 at 18:44

What are the measurements in cups? Thanks 🙂

    Kate · May 22, 2018 at 21:03

    I’m sorry, we don’t really use cups in the UK so I can’t answer that. You could try looking up gram to cup conversions for each of the ingredients and giving it a try. Have fun!

Stephenie · June 19, 2018 at 01:29

Was this 200g of a recently fed starter or a starter that was fed 12hr ago?


    Kate · June 19, 2018 at 07:43

    Hi Stephanie,
    Good question – it is starter that has been fed recently (8-12 hours).
    Enjoy your baking,

Jennifer · April 15, 2019 at 15:33

5 stars
Nice bread! I added a teaspoon of honey to help with fermentation (can’t taste it) and let is rise for 18 hours outside the breadmachine, in a warm room. Turned out very tasty.

    Kate · April 18, 2019 at 09:29

    Sounds great, glad it turned out well for you.

Lee · August 27, 2019 at 23:38

I live somewhere cold. Will the 8 hours rising time need to be somewhere warm?

    Kate · August 29, 2019 at 20:57

    I too live somewhere not fantastically warm and it seems to work fine! Good luck.

Mary · October 20, 2020 at 15:47

I would like to try this method – have been trying to work out best use of bread making machine for spelt sourdough for some weeks now and still experimenting. If I leave it for 8 hours this now, the temperature and therefore the amount of rise will be very different from a few weeks ago in summer. Can you give a guide as to how much it should rise before baking – is it doubling in volume, or more than that, or less?

    Kate · October 21, 2020 at 19:06

    I’m not very precise or precious with the loaves and generally, unless I have let the starter really go unfed for too long, they always rise a similar amount whether summer or winter. I leave for whatever time I’m in bed for, generally 8 – 9 hours whatever time of year. I’d say it rises about twice its size. I hope that helps.

      Mary · December 17, 2020 at 19:16

      5 stars
      we’ve carried on trying things out and have now got a happy result using this method and either overnight or approx 10 hours rising time. Our ingredients are: 325g dark rye sourdough starter, 325g white spelt flour, 3 fluid ounces water. sometimes a bit less water if the starter is rather wet. Thank you Kate – we hadn’t found a way till I came across your site.

Chris Maury · October 1, 2022 at 08:36

What temperature should I use for oven baking? And would you recommend fan or conventional? Novice baker, thanks!

    Kate · October 2, 2022 at 11:38

    Hi there, I only use the breadmaker so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question on the temperature. I would imagine though that it would be similar to baking any other bread, around 200 dec C, and either oven type will work, as long as you get the right temperature.

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