Overnight Sourdough Bread

To make 1 boulé loaf. Adapted from Chef John's Sourdough Bread recipe

Necessary equipment:

  • Cast iron frying pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Kitchen scale [6]
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dinner plate or tin foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Large spoon
  • Non-stick spatula
  • 10" banneton or bread form
  • Oven mitt


  • 100g Sourdough starter, recently fed [2]
  • 250g Lukewarm water
  • 394g Bread flour [1]
  • 8g Table salt
  • 1-2 cups boiling water


  1. Mix starter, lukewarm water, and salt together in mixing bowl
  2. Add flour and stir with spoon until thoroughly mixed -- mixture will be wetter than typical bread dough
  3. Cover and let rest until risen to 2x original size (typically about 12 hours, depends on temperature) [3]
  4. Pull and fold dough completely in bowl with spatula [4]
  5. Dust doughball with flour and smooth [5]
  6. Place doughball in banneton and cover with plate, mixing bowl, or tin foil
  7. Let dough rise to 2x its original size (typically 1-4 hours) [3]
  8. Place empty frying pan on lowest rack in oven, and preheat to 450°F (230°C)
  9. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  10. Gently invert banneton to place doughball onto baking sheet, seam side down
  11. Cut 1/8" (3mm) deep slit across dough with sharp knife
  12. Pour boiling water into frying pan -- beware steam burns! Wear an oven mitt
  13. Place baking sheet with dough in oven above frying pan
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  15. Share and enjoy!


[1] For a more-sour dough, make the bread with an 80% bread flour, 20% dark rye flour mix. Use a starter made/fed with the same mixture.

[2] Recently fed sourdough starter is the most active. See this handy guide from King Arthur Flour for more information on feeding starter and baking with it.

[3] Really let the bread rise to twice its volume each time. It takes a while. The longer it rests, the more sour it will tend to be. Rising time depends on temperature, so rising in the fridge may make sense if you want more sour flavor. If you want bread faster, letting the dough rise in the oven with the light on (so it gets up to perhaps 75-85°F) will speed things up.

[4] Pulling and folding completely means that you should go around the perimeter of the bowl 2-3 times, scraping down the side of the bowl and pulling the dough across the diameter of the circle with each stroke. Again, the goal is to move and deflate the dough a little bit, but not to knead it. This should take a minute or less.

[5] To smooth the doughball, form your hands into a circle just smaller than the perimeter of the ball, and let it fall through. [8] Imagine a basketball hoop that's slightly too small for the ball, and the ball has to morph to fit through. The goal is to stretch the skin of the ball until it all gathers on top and gets pulled into the ball by the smoothing/falling action. You're done when the dough at the top can be pressed together and sticks to itself.

[6] Measurements are in weight rather than volume (cups and tablespoons) because weight automatically accounts for relative moisture of ingredients, and assures repeatability.

[7] There is no note 7.

[8] This recipe has not been adapted for use in zero-gravity environments.

Copyright © 2018. Created by Ian Johnston. Questions? Please mail me at reaper at obairlann dot net.