Overnight Sourdough Recipe


Yield 1 loaf (1.85kg) or 2 smaller ones

  • 650g water at 27 degrees C
  • 200g 1:1 fresh sourdough starter (that has been refreshed the night before and again 7 am the morning)
  • 1kg Organic White Flour (and some extra for dusting your banneton)
  • 10g fine sea salt

Useful Equipment:

This is my standard overnight loaf that I teach beginners.

It has the same 68% hydration we use in the village bakery, but has the long slow prove that is classically from San Francisco. Feel free to add another 20g of water to get a bigger crumb if you are confident in handling a wetter dough.

As any Frenchman will tell you, nothing gets you off to a better start at the weekend that a large sourdough loaf fresh from the oven. There is no mystery to this - it’s all about the timing. This method allows you to get your loaf ready early in the evening, and by using slightly warmer water than normal for this time of year the dough gets going so you get Friday night free and have a loaf ready to bake as you get up in the morning.

For optimal result you need to refresh your starter about 10am on Friday morning you can use a British white flour such as Priors Mill Organic White or Redbournbury Unbleached White to make your leaven, but I recommend for the loaf using oo for a light crumb. You can use British Stoneground flour, but it is more challenging and you will get a denser crumb.

Mix (About 1pm)

In a bowl whisk your water and starter and mix well. Add the flour and salt (combined well) and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball.

1st Ferment

Cover with cling film and let the dough rest in a cool environment for 1 1/2 an hour.

Fold (2:30pm)

Lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat hourly 3 more times.

Shape (6:30pm)

Shape your dough lightly and place into a dusted banneton.

Cover with a shower cap or damp tea-towel and leave to prove on the side until the dough has risen by about 50%. This normally takes about 2 hours in a kitchen that is about 18 - 20 degrees then transfer to the fridge for 8 - 12 hours.

Bake (8am)

In the morning preheat the oven to 220℃ for at least 30 minutes to one hour before you are ready to bake with your La Cloche in the oven. The dish or La Cloche must be very hot.

Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle a little flour over the bottom.

Put your dough into the La cloche and slash the top of your bread using a grignette (or lame) then place the lid back on top and return to the oven as quickly as possible. Bake for 45 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 190℃. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes. You need to judge how dark you like your crust but I suggest that you bake it until you have a dark brown crust - it tastes better.

Let the bread cool. Sourdough is best left to cool completely before slicing and is even better if left for a day to let the full flavour develop.


Once cooled store in a linen or cotton bread bag or folded tea towel.

Note: if you don't like a crunchy crust then wrap your bread in a clean tea towel whilst it is still warm.

The busiest day of the week is Saturday in the Bakery in France as the customers come to pick up their Pain de Levain

The busiest day of the week is Saturday in the Bakery in France as the customers come to pick up their Pain de Levain