Making Overnight Sourdough: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sourdough baking is a unique and special way of making delicious bread. It’s also an incredibly rewarding process that can be mastered with time and practice. With the help of overnight sourdough, you’ll have fresh-baked loaves in your hands within just 24 hours! This guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started: from gathering ingredients and tools to troubleshooting common problems. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, this comprehensive guide will teach you how to make perfect, yeast-free, beginner-friendly no knead dough each and every time.

Gathering Ingredients & Tools You’ll Need

Making your own homemade overnight sourdough doesn’t require many specialized ingredients or tools. All you’ll need is strong white flour, salt, active starter, warm water and some kind of proofing basket (or bowl). A digital kitchen scale, measuring spoons and cups are also helpful for accuracy when measuring dry and wet ingredients. You can purchase all of these items at most supermarkets or online.

Mixing, Kneading & Rising the Dough

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary ingredients and equipment, it’s time to start mixing, kneading and rising the dough. Start by combining the active starter, warm water and 1/3 of the flour in a large bowl. Stir until the mixture forms a thick batter. Then add the remaining 2/3 of the flour and salt. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place overnight.

Shaping & Prepping for Baking

The next day, your dough should have doubled in size. Remove it from the bowl and shape into a tight round loaf before placing it into your proofing basket or bowl. Cover the loaf with a damp cloth and leave it to rest for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size again.

Proofing & Baking Your Loaf

When your loaf is ready for baking, preheat your oven to its highest temperature setting. Dust the top of your loaf with a little flour if desired. Make two shallow cuts into the top of the loaf to create steam vents while baking. Finally, transfer your loaf onto a hot baking stone or tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

overnight sourdough

Storage Tips for Freshly-Baked Bread

After your bread has been freshly baked, you want to store it properly to keep it as moist and delicious as possible. Allow your bread to cool down completely before transferring it to a cotton bag or linen sack. The best way to store your freshly baked bread is at room temperature away from direct sunlight. If storing for longer than 2 days, it is recommended that you freeze your bread for optimal storage.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan when baking overnight sourdough bread. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  • Too much or too little liquid – Add more or less water as needed to adjust the consistency of the dough.
  • Sticky or tough texture – Use plenty of flour when kneading your dough to ensure it does not stick to surfaces or become overly dense.
  • Inaccurate measurements – Invest in a digital kitchen scale for more accurate measurements when working with dry ingredients such as flour and salt.

Substitutions for Specialty Ingredients

It is sometimes difficult to find specialty ingredients such as active starter or strong white flour. But don’t worry – there are easy substitutions that you can use instead! For starters, try using plain yogurt as a substitute for active starter; alternatively, regular all purpose flour works just as well instead of strong white flour.

Variations on the Basic Recipe

Experimenting with different variations on basic recipes is part of what makes cooking so exciting! When making overnight sourdough, consider adding other ingredients like herbs, spices or dried fruits for added flavor and texture. You could also mix up your flour blend by including whole wheat or rye flours for extra nutrition. There are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing your sourdough recipe.

FAQs About Overnight Sourdough

1) How long does it take to make overnight sourdough?
Answer: On average, it takes about 24 hours from start to finish when making overnight sourdough bread. This includes 8 hours for the dough to rise overnight plus 16 additional hours for preparing, shaping, proofing and baking.
2) Does overnight sourdough require any special tools or equipment?
Answer: No special tools or equipment are required but having a digital kitchen scale helps with achieving better accuracy when measuring ingredients. Additionally, a proofing basket (or bowl) is recommended for giving your dough proper shape during rising.
3) Can I substitute active starter with something else?
Answer: Yes! Plain yogurt makes a great substitution for active starter if you don’t have access to it.


Overnight sourdough is a simple yet rewarding way of making delicious bread at home without any specialized tools or equipment. Just gather some basic ingredients, follow our step-by-step instructions above and enjoy fresh-baked loaves of bread within 24 hours!

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