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Overnight Sourdough Bread Recipe – Perfect for Beginners

Learn how to make delicious overnight sourdough bread at home with a step-by-step video that’s perfect for the beginner and that your family will love.

Sideview of a round loaf of baked and browned sourdough bread sitting on a cooling rack over a blue napkin.

Overnight Sourdough Bread recipe is the perfect recipe to learn baking with a sourdough bread starter. Our step-by-step instructions and video will have you creating an amazing loaf of bread at home in no time.

This Sourdough Bread recipe couldn’t be easier to make and it’s a lot quicker compared to other sourdough bread recipes from starters.

This 500g homemade sourdough recipe has a tender crumb with a slightly sour flavor surrounded by a beautiful crisp crust that has that pull you want in artisan bread.

Sourdough Bread had been on this list for 3 years! I let uncertainty and trepidation keep me from jumping on the Sourdough Bread bandwagon. How can Bread and water be intimidating? Right?

Participating in an online monthly bread challenge finally pushed me into trying sourdough, and the rest is history.

I was fortunate enough to receive some dried starter from a wonderful woman named Selma. Selma passed away a few years ago but her blog “Selma’s Table” still remains and I consult it often. This is a recipe that I got from her blog.

She named her starter “Twinkle” and encouraged everyone to name theirs too. My starter’s name is “Phoenix” because she rose from dust. She has amazing vigor. I’m not always vigilant about keeping her fed but she doesn’t hold it against me and rises to the occasion every time.

A small slice of sourdough bread sitting uprights showing the holes in the crumb over a wooden cutting bowl. A small knife and a white dish of butter sit next to the bread. A blue napkin sits in the background.

I’ve included photos of my 1st loaf and a recent one at the end of this post. I’m proud of both and hope you’ll try this basic sourdough bread recipe too.

Hello, Julie. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your overnight sourdough recipe as it really works well for me, a lot of people have shared their methods and this one is simply the best one I have come across so far. So thank you again!”

Kris T

What is Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is made by fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a mildly sour taste not present in most bread made with baker’s yeast and keeps better than other bread due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli. Wikipedia

What is different about sourdough bread?

The difference is in how they are made. Regular bread is made using store-bought yeast that reacts with gluten making the dough rise. Sourdough bread is made with a “starter“. This starter is made from a combination of yeast and bacteria growing inside a paste made of flour and water.

Make your own starter!

If you have questions on making or using a Bread Starter, read “How To Make Your Own Bread Starter (and how to maintain it).”

Health Benefits of Sourdough bread

The fermentation that occurs from using a starter has been shown to lower blood sugar, be easier to digest and can even be tolerated by gluten resistant individuals.

However, that’s not to say it is gluten-free. Sourdough bread contains higher levels of folate and antioxidants than other bread. Healthline is a very thorough reference regarding the health benefits of sourdough.

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Front view of a round sliced loaf of sourdough showing a soft crumb and a browned crispy crust sitting on a cooling rack. A pad of butter sits in a white dish with a butter knife off to the side. The title runs across the bottom.

Ingredient Tips:

  • Bubbly starter – I recommend feeding your starter and letting it sit out at room temperature 4 to 6 hours or until it increases in volume by about 30% and passes the float test.
    • If your dough is runny it can be because your starter was actually starving when you used it.
  • Bread Flour – Bread flour has a higher protein content than AP flour. That higher protein provides more structure to your loaf.
    • If you substitute they will both be delicious and the texture will be the same but you may find the loaf made with AP flour balloons out more or doesn’t rise as high.
  • Water – There’s a lot of controversy regarding water in bread making. Some experts say if you can drink it you can use it to bake with. Other experts say the chlorine can inhibit yeast activity.
    • Mineral content (hardness) can reduce extensibility (elasticity and ability to stretch) of the dough.
  • Salt – I use fine sea salt. It is easier to incorporate and dissolve than coarser salt.
6 photo collage of the stages of bread dough progression

The above pictures from top left to bottom right.

  1. The freshly fed starter is thick.
  2. The Bubbly starter is ready. when bubbly and passes the float test.
  3. 1st quick knead just to combine ingredients (about 1 minute). The dough is thick and heavy.
  4. 2nd quick knead after a 30-minute rest. The dough is softer and smoother.
  5. Dough after 8 hours is full of air bubbles.
  6. Dough after final delicate knead is smooth and silky.
Can I add other ingredients also known as inclusions?

Absolutely! We love adding dried fruit such as apricots or cranberries, chopped nuts, cheese, olives, or herbs such as rosemary or thyme.

We recommend that you start by adding no more than 20%. So for this 500-gram loaf that would be
500 x 20% = 100 grams. You shouldn’t have to adjust your baking time.

Be careful that you don’t add a lot of moisture. Semi-hard cheeses such as cheddar shredded or diced into smaller pieces work well. Drain fresh fruit or olives of excess juice.

Recipes using a bread starter

Pro tips for Overnight Sourdough Bread

Resting times

Don’t let bread rule your life! Here are some resting times that may help you to bake according to your schedule

  • Counter rise – Written as is, this recipe has a counter rise of 6 to 8 hours. You shape it and then bake it. This time is variable. If you have a very warm kitchen it may be ready sooner. Press your thumb into the dough and if it bounces back slowly it’s ready to bake. If it’s over-proofed, it will be very difficult to shape.
  • Refrigerator proofing – If you don’t choose to bake your bread at the 6 to 8 hour counter proof, we recommend a 90 minute to 4 hour counter proof. Shape the dough and place it seam-side up into a banneton basket or a bowl lined with a kitchen towel that’s dusted with flour. We like dusting ours with a 50/50 mix of wheat flour and rice flour. We’ve actually left our bread in the refrigerator for up to 18 hours with no problems.
    • When you’re ready to bake, remove the shaped dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter while your oven preheats. Place it in the dutch oven, score it, and bake as usual.

If you do the full counter proof and then refrigerate the dough it will be over-proofed. For that reason, try a much shorter counter rise and then refrigerate it.

More helpful tips

  • Feed your starter earlier in the day. When it’s bubbly do the test float. If it’s runny it’s used up all its energy and needs to be fed again before you can use it. To see if your starter is ready, put a small amount in a bowl or cup of water. If it floats it’s ready!
  • Your bread can be cooked in a cold dutch oven but I like the color and rise I get from preheating my lidded pot.
  • This bread freezes beautifully. I wrap it in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag and then heavy-duty foil.
  • Each time you bake, we keep a notebook and write down anything we do differently such as resting time, baking time, or adding additional ingredients. It’s so difficult to remember what worked the best unless we can look back and see what we were happy about or wanted to do differently the next time. This will also help you to determine what resting times work for you.

YOU MAY NEED

The following are affiliate links. Hostess At Heart is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. You can read my full disclosure.

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Classic Red Enamel Dutch Oven (Island Spice Red) – I love this dutch oven. I have three that are triple the price of this one and it’s my favorite. It bakes my bread perfectly and makes a mean ragu recipe.

Zatoba 1003 Black Walnut Bread Lame Decorative Dough Slasher, 2x2x8 inches – I started out with a lesser quality lame and while this one isn’t expensive it’s definitely better quality and has made a prettier slash in my dough. It’s amazing

I have two books (out of several) that I’ve learned so much from. I recommend them exclusively to help in your bread experience. They are easy to read and will help you get that beautiful loaf on the table!

  1. Tartine Bread
  2. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza

If you like this recipe you may enjoy these too

This is a 500gr loaf of bread which isn’t large. Baking bread is all about percentages. If you want a larger loaf, you can adjust the “Servings” in the recipe card and it will calculate your ingredients. (Thank you, Daniel, for this question!)

A photo showing how to adjust the serving size of the recipe to adjust the ingredient calculations.
Adjust servings to make a larger or smaller Sourdough Bread loaf.

Conversions are listed below the recipe card

This is a beautifully slice sourdough loaf that shows the tender crumb and crusty exterior.
Print
4.88 from 116 votes

Overnight Sourdough Bread Recipe

Overnight Sourdough Bread recipe is a great basic recipe to make if you are just getting started baking Sourdough bread or have been at it for years.
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Overnight rest 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 40 mins
Servings 18 slices
Author Julie Menghini

Ingredients

  • 150 g bubbly starter
  • 285 g *purified water or filtered water at room temperature
  • 500 g bread flour organic
  • 9 g sea salt fine

Instructions

  • Squelch all of the ingredients together briefly (just for a minute is enough) with your hand.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and fold the dough into the bowl several times for about a minute.  Cover and leave it out on the counter overnight, 6 to 8 hours.    In the morning it will have doubled in volume at least.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 240/250C (I preheat to 475°F and place your lidded pot inside to heat up.  You can use an enamel dutch oven or aluminum roaster.  You can also put the dough into a cold pot. 
  • Dust your counter with flour.  I use a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then dusted with rice flour.  It makes it easy to pick up the dough.  Scrape the dough out onto the counter.  Don’t punch it down.  You want to keep as many of those bubbles as you can.
  • Pull the outside thirds into the middle and shape as you wish.  Try to pull the outside of the dough as tightly as possible so it will hold its shape well.  I shaped mine into a ball also known as a boule.
  • Cover with some oiled plastic wrap loosely.   Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.  Set the timer as this is the only proofing that should NOT be overdone.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and slash with a sharp knife or lame.  
  • Carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid.  Carefully place the dough into the pot.  I lift mine by the edges of the parchment paper and put the whole thing into the pot.  Replace the lid and place in the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to 220C (425°F convection).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Immediately remove from the pot and cool on a cooling rack completely before slicing.

Video

Notes

*Start with 285g of water but if the dough is too dry add up to an additional 15g.
  • If you want to mix bread earlier in the day. After rising for 90 minutes or up to 4 hours at room temperature, shape and set the covered dough in the refrigerator to bake the next day. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to sit out while the oven preheats.
  • Feed earlier in the day. When it’s bubbly do the test float. If it’s runny it’s used up all its energy and needs to be fed again before you can use it. To see if your starter is ready, put a small amount in a bowl or cup of water. If it floats it’s ready!
  • Your bread can be cooked in a cold dutch oven but I like the color and rise I get from preheating my lidded pot.
  • This bread freezes beautifully. I wrap it in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag and then heavy-duty foil.
You can add up to 20% (100 grams) of inclusions such as cheese, fruit, olives, and herbs to this recipe. You shouldn’t have to adjust the cooking time.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 27mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.3mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!

Conversions for Overnight Sourdough Bread recipe

We realize that many of you aren’t comfortable using a scale. The closest conversions are the following.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup starter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

A disclaimer is that I’ve never made this recipe without weighing the ingredients so I can’t guarantee or possibly troubleshoot any problems you may have with the recipe.

This bread was made possible by the resources and recipes shared by Elaine, Selma, and Celia! Please visit all three of these blogs for amazing bread information!

Recipe Rating




Amy Nelson

Friday 24th of September 2021

I can’t wait to try this. What do I do if my starter isn’t bubbly and doesn’t pass the float test?

Julie Menghini

Monday 27th of September 2021

You need to feed it again and not make the recipe until it bubbles predictably and passes the float test. How soon are you testing it after feeding it? Try 4 or 6 hours.

Vada

Friday 24th of September 2021

THE BEST recipe to follow and be successful. I made a usual round and 2 baguettes. It’s easy to get the float test and a marvelous rise. EXCELLENT

Julie Menghini

Monday 27th of September 2021

Thank you, Vada! I'm so glad that you've had great success with this recipe!

Deborah Culmer

Monday 20th of September 2021

I was looking for an easy, last-minute "overnight" sourdough bread (one quick pull and fold and 30 minutes). I left it proofing for a couple hours longer than called for, but was super careful about the last proof. Used rye sourdough starter, new to me from a friend's batch. And wow! This is by far my best sourdough bake in ages! GREAT recipe! Thank you so much.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

That warms my heart, Deborah! I'm glad you shared your experience and that it worked for you.

Amy Mitchell

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Hi. When would be a good time to add chives to the loaf and how much would you recommend?

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

I would add them when you are adding all of your ingredients. I usually recommend 20% for additions but with herbs that could be overbearing. Start with 3 to 4 tablespoons and see how well they disperse.

Wei

Sunday 29th of August 2021

Hi, when do we add seeds or cheese if we like into the dough? Thank you.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 31st of August 2021

Add them with all of your ingredients before the 1st quick need since the second knead is so quick, I don't think it would distribute them well.