easy overnight rustic sourdough bread
Now that I’ve gotten my starter up and running, I am baking all kinds of sourdough goodness with it! I literally can’t think of something I would rather add to my holiday table than freshly baked bread! I mean, it’s perfect on its own with butter. But, it’s also glorious sliced and toasted up, served alongside a kick ass charcuterie board (I will be sharing a guide to building your own soon!). Or hollowed out and filled with spinach artichoke dip. It’s also perfect for your holiday stuffing! And homemade bread crumbs for mac n cheese. And. And. And. I could go on with all the things that this bread is great for, but just make it. You’ll see.
Don’t let the idea of bread making freak you out. Especially breads like these, because they are the easiest. While they seem time consuming, in reality it’s little bits of work spread out over hours. Which means you get to look like the badass baking all the homemade breads with very little effort on your part. This is literally a no-knead bread. Which makes it even better. All you’re doing is applying folds. Pulling one side of the dough up and over itself. This helps to create a gluten structure which ensures that your bread won’t be flat and dense. As your dough proofs, this web of gluten created will help trap the gases and create a nice, airy crumb. Science for the win, y’all. This recipe couldn’t be easier and below you’ll find some notes on making your loaves the best they can be. Happy baking!
Bake in a dutch oven. This is important! Cast iron retains heat exceedingly well and baking in a dutch oven with a lid helps trap steam, resulting in a gorgeous, glossy crust that is perfectly crisp.
Proof in a bowl or banneton basket. This helps the loaves keep their shape while baking! Using a well dusted kitchen towel or banneton cover is essential in keeping the dough from sticking. Be sure to use a smooth kitchen towel, terry cloth will only create problems.
Take your time. Sourdough is a slow bread. Because the yeast isn’t as robust as dried yeast, the bread takes time to rise and work, especially if your home is cooler. Find the warmest spot in the house, and allow your dough to rise there.
Have fun! Bread baking should be fun, not stressful. Go with the flow and know that it takes practice to get your breads where you want them to be, but they’ll be tasty no matter what!
easy overnight rustic sourdough bread
- 3 tablespoons active sourdough starter (100 percent hydration)
- 1/2 cup (75g) bread flour
- 1/3 cup (75g) water
- all the levain from above
- 4 3/4 cup (700g) bread flour
- 2 cups (500g) water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- To make the levain: Mix together the starter, flour and water in a mixing bowl until a paste forms. Cover and allow to ripen at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Usually I do this in the morning, and by the time I come home from work, the levain is ready.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the levain, water and bread flour until a shaggy dough forms, cover and let the mixture sit for 45 minutes. This is an important step as it allows the flour to be completely hydrated by the water.
- Sprinkle the salt over the top of the autolysed dough. Rather than kneading the dough, which can activate the gluten too much, we are going to apply folds to the bread. To fold the dough, grab the dough at one side, lift it up, and fold it over on top of itself. Fold the dough four times, moving clockwise from the top of the bowl (or giving the bowl a quarter turn in between folds). Let the dough rest 30 minutes, then repeat. Do this a total of 6 times, every half hour, for a total of 2 1/2 hours. The dough will start out shaggy and very loose, but will gradually smooth out and become tighter as you continue folding.
- Once you've finished the folds, cover and let the dough rise undisturbed for 60 minutes, until it looks slightly puffed. This dough won't double in size the way regular, non-sourdough breads will; it should just look larger than it did when you started.
- Line 2 bread proofing baskets, colanders, or clean mixing bowls with clean kitchen towels. Dust them heavily with flour, rubbing the flour into the cloth on the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Use more flour than you think you'll need — it should form a thin layer over the surface of the towel.
- Dust your work surface with flour liberally. Gently turn your dough out onto the counter and divide in half using a pastry knife or bench scraper. You want to be careful while doing this as we don't want to let out all the gas we've worked to create. Using similar folding motions, shape each dough ball into into a somewhat tight ball, pinching the dough together at the top to form a seam. Again, you don't want to deflate the gases you've built up in the dough, but you do want there to be tension across the top of the dough. Dust the dough balls liberally with flour and transfer to the proofing baskets or mixing bowls lined with floured kitchen towels so that the seam side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to slowly proof overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Place a dutch oven with a lid in the oven to preheat for 40 minutes. Assuming you only have one dutch oven that will fit in your oven at a time, you'll bake the breads consecutively. Remove one dough ball from the fridge. Cut a piece of parchment paper to about 15x15" and dust with flour. Gently turn the dough ball onto the parchment square, seam side down. Score the top of the loaf, if desired. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, CAREFULLY, and remove the lid. Using the parchment paper, lower the loaf into the dutch oven and cover. Return the pot to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, turn the oven down to 450 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the loaf is a deep golden brown color. Remove from the pot. Repeat baking with the second loaf. Let both loaves cool completely before slicing. Loaves can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for 1 month.
If you haven't used your starter in a bit, be sure to feed it for a day or two on the counter so that it becomes active before using it for baking.