Overnight Sourdough Bread

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Learn how to make Overnight Sourdough Bread with step-by-step directions. This simple bread has amazing flavor and is the perfect recipe for both beginner and advanced sourdough bakers!

Sourdough takes time, but really is a simple process. For regular yeast-based breads that are quicker to make, try my fan-favorite Chewy French Bread or a nutty Cracked Wheat Bread. Both recipes originated with my mom, Norma Jean herself!

A just baked loaf of sourdough in a dutch oven.

Sourdough Bread Loaf

Were you one of the many who learned how to make sourdough bread during the pandemic of 2020? Well…I was! It all started with my son who came home from college with his own starter. I quickly decided to join him in the adventure and started my own. When I started baking with mine, he let his go. (umphh..kids) And the rest is history!

We have quickly decided that sourdough bread is our favorite bread of all time. It’s chewy, has a delicious sour flavor, makes the best avocado toast, and is also easier on the gut.

After you try this recipe, make sure you make my Sourdough Bagels and the best Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe!

Overhead shot of sliced sourdough bread.
A Freaky Friday banner.

Freaky Friday Blog Hop

Why is today so special you ask? Well, that is because today is Freaky Friday, hosted by Michaela at An Affair from the Heart!  No, not the movie where the mom and daughter switch places, but a good old fashioned blog hop with some of my favorite food blogger buddies!

We secretly get assigned one another’s blogs to make a recipe from, and then we all reveal who we had and what we made on the same Friday, and that is today! See below for ALL the fun Freaky Friday recipes created by my blog hop friends!

Hostess At Heart

It’s been so fun to “get to know” Julie, the owner and creator of Hostess at Heart. She has grown kids, like my husband and I, and while we don’t have grandchildren YET, we do have two grand dogs! Like myself, Julie loves entertaining and believes in simple recipes.

When I saw that Julie had an Overnight Sourdough Bread Recipe on her blog, I KNEW it was the one for me. Like I said, I’ve been wanting to share the sourdough method that I’ve been using for over a year now!

Next up? After browsing her site, I can’t wait to try Julie’s Overnight Brioche Cinnamon Rolls Recipe and these amazing looking Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops! Plus, doesn’t this Spice Cake Recipe with Peanut Butter Frosting look TO DIE FOR?! Julie, your recipes look AMAZING.

Ingredients Used

Only four ingredients are required for this delicious bread!

  • Bubbly Starter – The starter is THE most important part of sourdough bread making. It takes a little time, but you will be rewarded over and over again. I will eventually be documenting how to make a starter, but in the meantime, there are many resources on the internet.
  • Filtered Water – Use a filtered water, either out of your refrigerator filter system or use bottled water. The water should either be room temperature or slightly warmed before adding it to the sourdough process.
  • Bread Flour (Unbleached) – For this recipe, use unbleached bread flour. Organic is normally unbleached, btw.
  • Sea Salt – I recommend using fine sea salt.

How to make Overnight Sourdough Bread

  1. Carefully measure out all the ingredients and combine in a mixing bowl. Use a fork and stir.
  2. Then use your hands to bring the ingredients together. It will look shaggy. Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for 30 minutes. (Be sure to set a timer.) This is the AUTOLYSE.
  3. After 30 minutes, start the stretch and folds. Use your hand and lift the dough up on one side, stretching it upward, and then punch into the center of the dough. Turn the dough and repeat. Continue this process for about one minute. This is the STRETCH AND FOLDS.
  4. Form the dough into a smooth ball, and place towel back on the bowl.
  5. Let the dough rise for 6-8 hours. It should almost double in size and appear soft on top. Small air bubbles may appear as well. This is the BULK RISE. (During this bulk rise, I often do additional stretch and folds during the first hour.)
  6. Depending on the time of day, you can prepare the bread for baking. I normally place the dough into my refrigerator overnight, however. (The bulk rise is very flexible. You can adjust the time to work with YOUR schedule!)
  7. Add a light dusting of flour to a baking mat or clean surface. Remove the dough to the flour and gently form into your desired shape, usually round. Don’t punch the dough down because you don’t want to remove all the air. Let dough sit for five minutes.
  8. After five minutes, use your hands to pull the dough toward you, dragging it along the mat to tighten it up. Repeat in the other directions to tighten.
  9. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Cover with some cling wrap and let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour. For this bread, it does not need to double again in size. This is the SECOND RISE.
  10. Prepare for baking. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Then take a serrated edge knife (linked below) and score the bread a couple of times. Place the bread (including parchment paper) into a dutch oven.
  11. Add the lid to the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.
  12. Remove pan and then use parchment paper as handles to lift the bread out of the pan. Place on a cooling rack. Let the bread COMPLETELY COOL before slicing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sourdough? Sourdough is a slow-fermented bread that doesn’t require store-bought yeast to make it rise. It’s a LIVE fermented culture which creates a natural leavening agent. A starter is required to make sourdough.
  • What is a starter? A starter is a live culture made over a series of days, consisting of flour and water. It can be kept alive for years with periodic feeding.
  • How do you make a starter? A starter can be created in less than a week with a simple combo of unbleached flour and filtered water. It’s a process of removing half of the starter and then “feeding” it every day, storing in a jar on your countertop, and getting it to a bubbly, sour point where it floats in water. More on this later.
  • Is sourdough bread healthy? Sourdough bread is NOT gluten-free, as it contains flour, but its long fermentation helps break down this gluten. It’s easier on the gut because it’s more digestible and easier for the body to absorb. It’s also DELISH!
Side closeup shot of sliced bread.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure your starter is ready. If you store your starter in the refrigerator between use, make sure it’s active and ready to go before baking with it. I often feed it 2-3 times before using it after resting (i.e. sleeping in the refrigerator). You can test this with a float test. (See definition below.)
  • Be flexible. If you’re bulk rise is taking longer than normal, or the starter isn’t as bubbly as you’d like it, be flexible. You can add time to either of these, and still make delicious bread. Many factors will come in to play as to when your sourdough is ready. In the summer months, the humidity and heat will make the process shorter. In the winter months, the process may be longer.
  • Measure carefully and then adjust as needed. Make sure you use a digital scale to measure your ingredients in grams. This is important. Even with measuring carefully, you MAY need to adjust slightly. When your hands are on the dough doing stretches and folds, you will come to feel if more water/more flour is needed to make the dough pliable and soft. This comes with practice.
  • Practice. Like I said above, as you practice making this bread and enjoying the bounties, you’ll learn all the little nuances to the sourdough process. Practice makes perfect!
  • Let the bread cool. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to slice the bread immediately after coming out of the oven. If you do this, it will be doughy tasting. Let the bread completely cool before slicing!

What is a float test? A float test is when you place a small amount of your starter in a cup of water. If it floats to the top, it’s active and ready to be used.

Example Sourdough Schedules

Like I’ve mentioned, the bulk rise is VERY flexible when making sourdough. You can adjust it to YOUR schedule. If you are working out of the home, you may need to start on a Friday evening. Here are a few examples.

Example 1 – my normal method

  • Monday Morning: Feed your starter. Let it rest on the counter until bubbly (time varies greatly).
  • Monday Afternoon (or after work): If the starter has doubled and is bubbly (you can also do a float test), then you’re ready to mix up the bread. Make the dough according to my directions. Leave on the counter to bulk rise.
  • Monday Evening: Place in the refrigerator overnight (covering with Saran Wrap or a damp towel).
  • Tuesday Morning: Shape the dough. Do a second rise. Bake.

Example 2 – longer fermentation

  • Monday Morning: Feed your starter. Let it rest on the counter until bubbly.
  • Monday Evening: Mix up the bread (if starter looks ready). Let it do bulk rise on counter over-night.
  • Tuesday Morning: Place sourdough in the refrigerator. (You can also leave it in the refrigerator for longer than just one evening. I’ve done 48 hours in the refrigerator with no problem.)
  • Tuesday Evening: Do second rise and bake.

Are you ready to bake? YES, you are! Please let me know if you have any questions. I’ll do my best to help you through this fun thing called sourdough baking!

Side view of sourdough loaf.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A just baked loaf of sourdough in a dutch oven.

Overnight Sourdough Bread

Sue Ringsdorf
Learn how to make Overnight Sourdough Bread with step-by-step directions. This simple bread has amazing flavor and is the perfect one for both beginner and advanced sourdough bakers!
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 40 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 10 slices
Calories 194 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 150 grams bubbly sourdough starter
  • 295 grams filtered water – at room temperature
  • 500 grams bread flour – unbleached or organic
  • 9 grams fine sea salt

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the carefully measured out ingredients. Use your hands to bring everything together. The dough will look scraggy. Cover with a damp towel, and set a timer for 30 minutes.
  • Do a stretch and folding of the dough for about one minute, rotating the bowl as you do the folds. Place the dough seam-side down in the bowl, and cover with the towel again. Leave it set on the counter-top for 6-8 hours, or overnight depending on several factors. The dough should double in size.
  • If you'd like, set the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This will add to the "sour" taste of the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Use a dutch oven lined with parchment paper.
  • Dust your counter or a baking mat with a light amount of flour. Move your dough from the bowl to the counter and form into your desired shape. Don't punch down, but pull the outsides inward to form shape. Let the dough sit for five minutes.
  • Pull the dough towards you and away, trying to get the dough to be as tight as possible. (See photos.) Cover the dough lightly with saran wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then use a serated knife to slash the top of the bread.
  • Transfer the dough to the dutch oven, using parchment paper as a liner. Add the lid and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove lid and bake another 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Let the bread FULLY cool before slicing.

Notes

Expert Tips

  • Make sure your starter is ready. If you store your starter in the refrigerator between use, make sure it’s active and ready to go before baking with it. I often feed it 2-3 times before using it after resting (i.e. sleeping in the refrigerator). You can test this with a float test. (See definition below.)
  • Be flexible. If you’re bulk rise is taking longer than normal, or the starter isn’t as bubbly as you’d like it, be flexible. You can add time to either of these, and still make delicious bread. Many factors will come in to play as to when your sourdough is ready. In the summer months, the humidity and heat will make the process shorter. In the winter months, the process may be longer.
  • Measure carefully and then adjust as needed. Make sure you use a digital scale to measure your ingredients in grams. This is important. Even with measuring carefully, you MAY need to adjust slightly. When your hands are on the dough doing stretches and folds, you will come to feel if more water/more flour is needed to make the dough pliable and soft. This comes with practice.
  • Practice. Like I said above, as you practice making this bread and enjoying the bounties, you’ll learn all the little nuances to the sourdough process. Practice makes perfect!
  • Let the bread cool. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to slice the bread immediately after coming out of the oven. If you do this, it will be doughy tasting. Let the bread completely cool before slicing!

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 351mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Keyword overnight sourdough bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Take a look at all of our 2021 Freaky Friday Fall Edition Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Pumpkin Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes – 30 Minute Skillet Lasagna
  3. The Carefree Kitchen – Brazilian Cheese Bread
  4. Devour Dinner – Instant Pot Applesauce
  5. Fresh April Flours – Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  6. The Fresh Cooky – Air Fryer Ravioli
  7. The Foodie Affair – Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Recipe
  8. Hostess at Heart – Fudgy Chocolate Brownie Cookie Recipe
  9. House of Nash Eats – Pumpkin Bundt Cake
  10. Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog – Halloween Monster Cookie Recipe
  11. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Creamy Vegetable Gnocchi Soup
  12. Life Currents – Loaded Potato Skins
  13. Life, Love & Good Food – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
  14. The Speckled Palate – Tortellini Butternut Squash Pasta with Pancetta and Spinach
  15. Sue Bee Homemaker – Overnight Sourdough Bread
  16. Take Two Tapas – Air Fryer Asparagus Fries

21 Comments

  1. I have never been able to bake bread and I spend a fortune at the bakery on crusty loaves of bread. So i can’t tell you how excited I was to try this recipe. Can I say that I look like a professional baker now and the bread is so good!

  2. Sourdough bread is one of my favorite types of bread! I loved how easy this recipe was, and the homemade flavor of this bread was so good!

  3. This made the PERFECT loaf! We made our sourdough starter, Penelope, during the early days of 2020, and she’s still going strong. This bread was delicious!

  4. A sourdough sister! I love it and your bread came out amazing! This is one of our favorite recipes to make and eat and so glad that you gave it a try. Thank you!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      YaY! I’m so glad I found this recipe, and it’s perfection! Thank you so much, Julie!

  5. WOW!! You did an amazing job recreating this recipe- that loaf of bread looks incredibly perfect!! I cannot wait to try this recipe- I love making homemade breads!

  6. Nothing is better than homemade bread and sourdough is my absolute favorite. The timeline is SUPER helpful. My husband was looking over my shoulder and said “let’s make this!” We got started and can’t wait to smell it baking! Great FF recipe pick!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Sandra! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  7. This bread smells amazing! I want to make it every Sunday to go with our dinner! Perfect with butter spread on top and the leftovers make the best grilled cheese sandwiches!

  8. Obsessed with this recipe! It was so easy to make and we ate it so fast, can’t wait to make this again! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you so much, Kathryn!

  9. We make bread all the time, but your tips were very helpful for me too! And this loaf of bread is simply fantastic!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you so much, Debi!

  10. I had been seeing Julie’s sourdough for years and like millions of others, during the lockdown, made my own sourdough starter and have been using it ever since! Her sourdough bread is the best and easiest to follow and you have done an incredible job, plus I am so drooling over your other breads! YUM!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Kathleen! Thanks for your kind comments! 🙂

  11. Jill Baird says:

    There is not a more beautiful loaf of sourdough bread!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you Jill!

  12. All of your bread is awesome, but this is my new favorite!

  13. Sue – this looks like sourdough perfection!! The perfect choice from Julie’s blog, where her bread recipes always have me in “full-drool-mode!” I can’t wait to give this one a try! It looks fantastic!

  14. Thanks for sharing so many helpful tips to help me get over all my bread making intimidation! My family absolutely loves sourdough bread and this loaf is just beautiful!

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