If you’re looking to get started with sourdough or natural yeast, then you are in the right place. With the current commercial yeast shortage, using natural yeast is an ideal solution. All it takes is flour and water, a little time, and you have wild, natural yeast. It’s what sourdough bread is made from. You’ll be amazed how easy this overnight sourdough bread recipe is. So, let’s make some sourdough bread!
First thing’s first: The perfect sourdough bread starts with a perfect sourdough starter.
You need an active, bubbly starter to make any sourdough recipe. Here are some links to getting a sourdough starter going: The Clever Carrot Sourdough Starter and King Arthur’s Flour Sourdough Starter.
You can also get an established starter from Etsy like I did, or get one from someone locally.
What is Natural Wild Yeast?
Sourdough is wild, natural yeast. It comes from mixing water and flour together, and letting it ferment in a warm spot. Natural yeast is a living organism, so it needs nutrients and air to thrive.
The kind of yeast you buy in the store is referred to as commercial yeast. It is quick and easy to use, and readily available.
Unless it is 2020.
Then it’s in short supply or impossible to find.
Luckily, you don’t need that kind of yeast to make delicious bread. Make your own with natural, wild yeast. An added benefit is that it’s actually better for you, too.
Plus, you can use your starter to create other things, like Sourdough Pizza Crust. This overnight sourdough recipe yields a perfectly soft but chewy pizza crust. And it’s our favorite pizza!
Sourdough Bread Benefits
The natural, wild yeast used to create sourdough bread offers several health benefits:
- Natural yeast slows digestion to help you feel fuller for longer. The lactic acid and natural salts in sourdough slow down digestion.
- The organic acids produced during natural yeast fermentation lower the glycemic index of sourdough bread. This helps keep your blood sugar in check.
- Due to the natural yeast in sourdough bread, consuming it lowers the body’s glycemic response to all carbohydrates. Amazingly, it was even more so than if the person had whole wheat bread made from commercial yeast. This response to carbohydrates remains lower for hours after the natural yeast is consumed.
- Natural yeast has been shown to help strengthen the immune system. And, the lactic acid produced by sourdough bread inhibits the growth of certain bacteria and mold.
As you can see above the health benefits in sourdough bread are numerous.
Learn more about why sourdough bread is healthier and more nutritious in this article from Healthline.
Healthy Benefits of Sourdough
Sourdough bread offers a number of healthy benefits over commercial yeast bread.
This sourdough bread recipe uses an overnight rise that allows the grains to ferment with the starter.
The fermentation process creates gut-healthy enzymes and acids. Most other types of bread do not provide these healthy enzymes and acids.
Hooray for freshly baked bread that’s yummy and healthy!
Overnight Sourdough Bread
This overnight sourdough recipe does not require kneading, unlike many other recipes. Instead, it uses an easy folding technique that stretches the gluten.
Natural, wild yeasts need a longer rise than doughs with commercial yeast. This fermentation allows the natural yeast the time needed to rise the bread. An 8-10 hour rise is common for this overnight fermented or “bulk” rise.
So, preparing the sourdough in the evening, and letting it rise overnight is ideal. Within a few hours of waking, you’ll have fresh sourdough bread.
How to Make Artisan Sourdough Bread
In the morning, feed the starter. It needs about 12 hours before using. Below is an example of the rise and activity after a feeding.
In the evening, stir down the starter and remove 1/4 cup (or 50 grams) to make the bread.
Since I am an infrequent baker, I put rest of the starter in the fridge until I need it. Refrigeration hibernates the sourdough starter, allowing me to feed it every week or two, instead of daily.
How to Make Easy Sourdough Bread
In a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup of sourdough starter. Mix in 1 2/3 cups of warm, filtered water until dissolved. Add 4 1/4 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt.
Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until a thick, shaggy dough forms. Wet your hands, and finish mixing dough by hand. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
No Knead Sourdough Folding
Coax the dough from the bowl and fold the dough for 15 seconds. Grab part of the dough, stretch it out, push it into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn. Pull, stretch, push and turn in a clockwise rotation.
Overnight Fermented Rise
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp clean towel, and let rise overnight (at least 8-10 hours). Sourdough needs a longer rise to allow the dough to ferment and rise.
In the morning, lightly flour your counter-top and shape the dough by folding it again. Allow the dough rest 10 minutes.
Use a banneton proofing bowl or line a medium bowl with a towel and dust with flour. Let dough rise for 30 – 60 minutes.
Baking Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
Gently lower the parchment paper dough into a cast iron dutch iron, with a tight fitting lid.
Bake the bread covered for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake 20 minutes. After that, carefully remove the bread from the pot and bake it directly on the oven each for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior.
Let the artisan sourdough bread cool for at least one hour before cutting.
Just look at this beautiful Artisan Sourdough Bread! With this easy sourdough bread recipe, you’ll soon have your own beautiful bread, too.
See Below for the Complete Sourdough Recipe with Video!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, a heavy oven-safe pot with a lid will work. Use one that is about 9″ to 10″ in diameter and 6″ high.
Don’t use wax paper. The wax will melt in the oven at this high temperature and you’ll have a mess on your hands. Instead, use a long sheet aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking oil.
This recipe as made contains 241mg of sourdough in each slice. A slice is 1/12th of the loaf.
Sure, though you will experience a slightly smaller loaf. If you have vital wheat gluten, use 4 cups of all purpose flour and 4 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten in place of the bread flour.
The sourdough needs a warm area for the bulk (overnight) rise. Find a warm place (75º – 85º F) like an oven with the light on, a warm window, or above the refrigerator or dryer to set the bread for 2 hours.
An easy fix is to add a layer of corn meal on the bottom of the dutch oven, and place the parchment paper on top of that. Dutch ovens that are darker in color tend to brown the bottom of the bread more.
If you’re unsure if the sourdough bread is fully baked, the internal temperature should be around 195º – 200ºF.
Get the Overnight Sourdough Recipe Here:
Artisan Sourdough Bread
This is the perfect sourdough bread for a beginner. It is easy and forgiving. Just follow the process and you'll be rewarded with an amazing loaf of sourdough.
I recommend starting this bread in the evening and letting it rise overnight, as it needs to rise at least 8 – 10 hours.
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sourdough starter
- 1 ⅔ cups (350g) warm filtered water (95º to 100º F)
- 4 ¼ cups (500g) bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp (9g) sea salt
In a large bowl, add the starter. Mix in warm, filtered water, stirring until dissolved. Add bread flour and salt. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until a thick, shaggy dough forms. Wet your hands, and finish mixing dough by hand. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Coax the dough from the bowl and stretch and fold the dough for 15 seconds. Grab part of the dough, stretch it out, push it into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn. Pull, stretch, push and turn in a clockwise rotation. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise overnight (at least 8-10 hours).
In the morning, lightly flour your counter-top and shape the dough by stretching and folding it again. Let the dough rest 10 minutes. Line a medium bowl with a towel or use a banneton with linen cover (see photo), and dust heavily with flour. Let dough rise in it for 30 – 60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450º. Cover the dough bowl with a long piece of parchment paper, and turn it over onto the counter top. Slash the top of the loaf with a lame or sharp serrated knife. Gently lower the parchment paper dough into a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid (see photo). The pot does not need to be preheated.
Add the covered pot the the oven and bake the bread covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake 20 minutes. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the bread from the pot and bake it directly on the oven rack for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior.
Let cool for at least one hour before cutting.
Store sourdough bread at room temperature in a bag for up to 5 days.
This sourdough recipe was adapted from the Everyday Sourdough recipe in Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. I can’t recommend her book enough! It’s full of beautiful photos and delicious sourdough recipes.