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Sep 9, 2014

Overnight Country Sourdough Bread

This overnight country sourdough bread is thusly named because the first rise takes 12 to 15 hours. The resulting bread is has a wonderful sourdough tang because of the long rise time.

The rise time is dependent on the robustness of your starter, as well as the ambient temperature. We are in the middle of a heatwave right now, so I think I may have let the dough over proof during the first rise. When I went to bed, I had just a half quart of dough and when I got up the next morning, I had 5 quarts of dough! Fluffy, bubbly, jiggly dough.

If you are a sourdough fan, this bread is well worth the effort. You will be so proud.

I'm very excited to be participating in the kick off of a new bread baking group, Bread Bakers. Below this recipe, I'll tell you more about this group, how you can bake along, and give you some links to more great bread recipes!

This month's theme is your favorite (or one of your favorites) bread recipe. Since it's pretty hard for me to choose my absolute favorite bread, I baked a bread from one of my favorite bread books, Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish. In this book, the author makes crusty flavorful loaves understandable and accessible. If you like big crusty loaves of bread, try one of the recipes from this book. Not all of the recipes require a sourdough starter or several days to make. The book also includes detailed instructions for creating your own sourdough starter.

So far, all of the recipes are amazing. Many of the devotees of this book have been known to pose their finished loaves in front of the book for photographs. I will neither admit nor deny that I have done the same.

Overnight Country Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Starter (prepare first thing in the morning)

50 g active sourdough starter 
200 unbleached white flour
50 g whole wheat flour
200 g water at 85 to 90 degrees F

Mix the ingredients with your wet hand until just incorporated, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for about 8 to 9 hours. 

Dough Ingredients

604 g unbleached white flour
276 g whole wheat flour
684 g water at 90 to 95 degrees F
22 g salt
216 g of the fed sourdough starter. It should be very bubbly


  1. About 8 hours after feeding the starter, and about 12 to 15 hours before baking the loaves, mix the flours in a large round (the author recommends 12 quart sized) food grade bucket or a very large bowl. You will end up with 5 quarts of dough once it has fully risen.  
  2. Add the water and mix with your hands until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Evenly sprinkle the salt over the dough. Place your bucket on your scale and add the levain. 
  4. Mix the dough with your wet hands both by pinching it throughout and folding it. Once the dough is fully mixed, do a stretch and fold inside the bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 20 minutes. 
  5. Fold three more times, every 20 to 30 minutes. Fold one more time prior to going to bed and cover with plastic wrap. 
  6. The dough should nearly triple in size by 12 to 15 hours later. 
  7. Generously flour 2 proofing baskets. I used a mix of all purpose and rice flour. You can also use a mixing bowl lined with a lint free kitchen towel that has been heavily floured. 
  8. With a wet dough scraper or wet hands, loosen the dough from the sides of the bucket and gently turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two even pieces. 
  9. Shape the dough into boules, creating a taut skin over the top. Place the shaped dough into each basket, seam side down. 
  10. Spray the top of the dough with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap. 
  11. Allow the loaves to rise about 3 to 4 hours, until they are puffy. 
  12. About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack. 
  13. When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces. 
  14. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  15. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and move the loaves to a baking sheet. Place them back in the oven. and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early. Alternately, you can continue to bake them in the uncovered Dutch ovens, but mine seem to burn on the bottom when I do this. 
  16. Once done, let the loaves cool completely on a wire rack. 

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to Check out what this month's #BreadBakers made:

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love a good sourdough. Thanks for the recipe, Karen!

  2. I couldn't wait to see this recipe. I've been meaning to use my sourdough starter (which I even named, Bubbles) for a while. Thanks so much for sharing it and joining in Bread Bakers!

  3. Wow, that is some really energetic dough! And it baked up with such a lovely, open crumb--delcious, and I kind of want it all!

  4. Sourdough is one bread I have yet to try and bake, although I do enjoy the tang of eating it. I especially love the holes that form from the long rise and the butter that can melt right in there when you toast it. :) Yours turned out beautifully and hole-y. Thank you so much for joining this inaugural post of Bread Bakers!

  5. One of the biggest reasons for me to join the bread baking group was to try new methods. I have been meaning to try making a sourdough for ages, now your bread just gave me the huge motivation to do so. What a BEAUTIFUL bread.

  6. This looks delicious, I am a huge sour dough fan but have never made this. Showing the hubs this recipe in hopes he will make it for me!!

  7. Oooh, that crumb looks so creamy and gorgeous! Ken Forkish's breads are just the best and this one done him proud--as always, Karen. (I'm jealous!) Now tell me about your bread knife. I still haven't found one that I'm crazy about--or that's long enough for these big breads.

    1. It's a Forschner Fibrox and it's not very expensive! It's about 12 inches. I've been pretty happy with it =)

  8. It look so crispy and yummy! Send me some please :)

  9. Baked this bread this morning, sticking to the recipe and timeline. We like the consistency and strong crust. Great taste! Will bake it again. Thanks for a good recipe.


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