Breads & Muffins

Easy Overnight Rustic Bread

March 22, 2020

A delicious overnight rustic white bread with a crisp crust and tender crumb. The dough rises overnight and bakes in […]

A delicious overnight rustic white bread with a crisp crust and tender crumb. The dough rises overnight and bakes in the morning making it the ideal recipe for beginner bread makers.  The result is a delightfully versatile loaf that is perfect sliced up for sandwiches and toasted with butter and jam.


Guys, we did a thing. And by “we”, I mean my husband. We {errr, I mean he} made homemade bread entirely, completely, one hundred percent from scratch! Sure, he did all the mixing and proofing and baking and all that jazz. But I…I gifted him the cookbook for Christmas last year and it was me that browsed through the hundreds of glossy pages to find the perfect beginner recipe. Clearly, I’m totally taking half the credit. But in all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to bring you a recipe for homemade bread for quite awhile now. Bread and butter is my favorite food group after all. And ever since the new year rolled around, baking bread from scratch seems to be all the rage.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m not the most patient baker and the thought of feeding a sourdough starter for days on end just isn’t my thing at this moment in time. There are so many inspiring bakers all over the interweb making the most beautiful sourdough loaves that definitely deserve your full attention. If you are looking to master the art of sourdough bread making or just love looking at beautiful photos of breads and boules, be sure to check out the extensive step by step tutorials offered by some of my favorite bakers….@ful.filled, @lionsbread, @theboywhobakes, and @twocupsflour to name a few.

Today I’m sharing a simple and delicious recipe my family loves from the cookbook Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish. In the book he calls this loaf Saturday Morning Bread. I’m guessing that’s because there isn’t a crumb left over by Sunday. {wink wink}. Since we’ve had a bit of extra time on our hands as of late, making bread from scratch seems like a worthy way to pass the time. And since even staples like sandwich bread are harder to come by at the market these days, this recipe for easy overnight rustic bread is coming in mighty handy.



Rustic breads generally refer to lean breads, or those made with minimal ingredients. Namely, flour, water, salt and yeast. Typically rustic breads are baked at a high temperature (between 400 and 500 degrees) which results in a thin, crispy crust, large holes, and a delightfully chewy texture. What I love most about baking bread from scratch, aside from the heavenly flavor, is that it does not require any fancy equipment or special machinery. All of the mixing is done by hand and it truly is one of the most rewarding ways to spend time in the kitchen.

This recipe is perfect for beginner bread makers as it doesn’t require too much hands-on activity. Instead, time does the work for you. We mix the dough in the afternoon or evening, let it rest overnight and then bake the loaf the following morning. Who doesn’t love a warm, crunchy loaf of artisan style bread fresh from the oven? It’s just like those fancy artisan breads you pick up at the local bakery, but at a fraction of the cost. And all of those nooks and crannies in the crumb are perfect for soaking up thick stews and sauces or for holding puddles of salted butter and jam.


Making bread may seem a little intimidating. Trust me, I get it. But once you have a few loaves of freshly baked bread under your belt you’ll get the feel of it and you’ll be making top quality bread on the daily. Like everything else, practice makes perfect! Be sure to read through the recipe before beginning and follow these tips + tricks to ensure your home baked bread turns out perfectly every time.

Weigh your ingredients. Bread making is both an art and a science. For best results, weigh your ingredients to ensure accurate measurements. Use a kitchen scale like this one which comes in handy for all types of recipes.

Think of time and temperature as secret ingredients. I am not the world’s most patient baker but patience is a virtue when it comes to making good bread. With so few ingredients in homemade bread, it’s important to pay attention to the timeline for each step of the process and to realize that temperature effects the outcome. Good bread cannot be rushed. Be sure you start the process when it works best for your schedule and allow time for folding, proofing, dividing and baking. Easier said than done, I know. If your weekdays are too busy, consider testing out your first loaf on the weekend. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making bread from scratch in your sleep.

Use an instant read thermometer. A digital thermometer isn’t required for bread making, but will certainly make your life easier and takes a lot of the guesswork out of baking everything from bread to brownies. I use this thermometer and it provides fast, reliable results.

Check your oven. It’s no surprise that all ovens run differently. Some run hot, some cold. Most home ovens aren’t calibrated correctly, so the actual temperature is often different from the temperature that you set. I always suggest keeping a simple, inexpensive oven thermometer inside your oven to help ensure accuracy.

Handle the dough gently. Once the final dough is mixed, take care to treat it gently. The harder you work the dough, the tougher and denser your loaf will turn out. A gentle hand on the dough will help to preserve the gluten structure and the gases within the bread itself which will help create a pillow-y soft and tender crumb.



This easy overnight rustic bread is so delicious and fragrant straight from the oven that I doubt you’ll have a crumb left over by the end of the day. Because there are no additives or preservatives in homemade bread, it is best enjoyed within a day or two of being made. To store any leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and it will keep for three days. This bread toasts up beautifully too. Just top with butter and jam, or a fried egg and cheese, for a delicious breakfast any day of the week!

If you are a carb lover like me, I guarantee you are going to LOVE this bread and I hope you’ll use this extra time at home as a good excuse to make a loaf of homemade bread. Baking bread from scratch is a simple pleasure that I promise will bring you so much joy, especially at times like these when the little things mean everything.

Happy baking friends!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Easy Overnight Rustic Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Ken Forkish|Flour Water Salt Yeast
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 12 hours 50 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Category: BREADS


A delicious overnight rustic white bread with a crisp crust and tender crumb. The dough rises overnight and bakes in the morning making it the ideal recipe for beginner bread makers. The result is a delightfully versatile loaf that is perfect sliced up for sandwiches and toasted with butter and jam.


  • 1000m grams (7 3/4 cups) white flour
  • 780 grams (3 1/8 cups) water, 90-95 degrees F
  • 1 TBSP + 1TSP fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • *This recipe works best with a 4 quart dutch oven.


  1. Prepare the dough: Mix the flour and warm water in a large mixing bowl or tub. Mix by hand until incorporated. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Mix the dough: Sprinkle the sea salt and yeast evenly over the top of the dough.
  3. Wet your hand so the dough doesn’t stick to you and mix the dough. Reach underneath the dough and pull one-quarter of it to fold over the top to the other side of the dough. Turn the bowl and repeat this stretch and fold three more times until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed. Be careful not to pull so hard that you tear the dough. With damp hands, use the “pincer method” to combine the ingredients. To do this, use your thumb and forefinger to make five or six “pincer” cuts across the whole piece of dough. Next, fold the dough over itself a few times. Repeat this several times until all of the ingredients are fully combined and there is some tension in the dough. Next, let the dough rest for a few minutes before folding for another 30 seconds or until the dough tightens up. This whole process should take about 4 minutes. Once complete, check the dough temperature. It should be 77-78 degrees for best results. Cover the bowl or tub and allow the dough to rise.
  4. Folding the dough: This dough bakes up best with three folds. Set a timer and begin 30 minutes after mixing the dough. Fold again EVERY 30 MINUTES until you have completed three folds. To fold the dough, dip one hand in warm water so the dough doesn’t stick to you. With your wet hand, reach underneath the dough and pull one quarter of it out and up to stretch it and then fold it over the top of the dough. Repeat this four to five times working around the dough until it has tightened up into a ball. Gently grab the whole ball and invert it so the seam side of the ball faces down. This will ensure the folds hold their position. The top of the dough will be smooth. After each fold, the dough will take longer to relax. Be extra gentle on the last fold so you do not deflate the dough. After completing the last fold, cover the dough and let it rise overnight at room temperature. In the morning, the dough should be 2 1/2 to 3 times its original volume. Now it’s ready to be divided.
  5. Divide the dough: Flour a flat work surface and with floured hands gently work the dough out of the bowl or tub onto the work surface. Be careful not to pull or tear the dough. Dust the middle of the dough mass with a bit of flour at the area where you will cut the dough in half. Using a large knife or dough scraper, cut the dough in two equal pieces.
  6. Shape the dough: Dust the inside of two proofing baskets with flour. The purpose of shaping the dough is to form a tight round while preserving the gases that have built up in the dough. It is these gases that create lovely air pockets in the loaf. Begin by brushing any loose flour off the top of the loaf. Using the same technique as in Step #3, stretch and fold one quarter of the dough at a time up and over the top to form a round, gently pulling each segment until you meet resistance and then folding it over the top to the opposite side. Repeat, working your way around the dough and forming a ball. Next, flip it over so the seam side is down on an area of the surface that is clean of flour so there is friction or tension on the surface. Finally, cup your hands around the back of the dough ball and pull the whole ball towards you on a dry, unfloured surface, about 6 to 8 inches at a time. Lead with your pinky fingers and be gentle but firm enough to create enough pressure that the dough ball doesn’t just slide across the countertop. You should feel the dough tighten up in a ball.
  7. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat this pull, turning and repeating until you’ve gone all the way around the dough ball two or three times. The dough ball should not be loose but does not need to be super tight either. The loaf should hold its shape. Repeat this process with the second dough ball and then place each piece seam side down in a proofing container that has been dusted with flour. Lightly flour the top of the shaped loaves and cover with a kitchen towel to proof.
  8. Proof the loaves: This is the final rise, after the loaf is shaped. For this bread, assume on baking it one hour and fifteen minutes after they are shaped, assuming the room temperature is about 70 degrees. If your kitchen is warmer, they will be proofed closer to one hour. To check that the dough has proofed completely, poke the rising loaf with a floured finger, making an indentation about 1/2 inch deep. If it springs back instantly, the loaf needs more proofing. If it springs back slowly and not fully, the loaf is proofed and ready to bake. If the indentation doesn’t spring back at all, the loaf is over proofed and will likely collapse when you remove it from the basket.
  9. Preheat: 45 minutes prior to baking, place a rack in the center of the oven and place 2 dutch ovens on the rack with the lids on. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. If you only have one dutch oven. place one ball of dough in the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking the first loaf and then bake the second loaf once the first loaf is done. Be sure to give the dutch oven a 5 minute reheat after removing the first loaf.
  10. Bake: Cut a piece of parchment paper wider than the size of the dutch oven. Invert the proofed loaf onto the parchment paper keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will be the seam side and the smooth side will now be on the bottom. Use oven mitts to carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid and use the edges of the parchment paper to gently lift the dough up into the dutch oven. Use the mitts to replace the lid and return the dutch oven to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and bake for 15 more minutes, until the loaf is a medium dark brown. Check you oven often to be sure the bread is not browning too quickly as all ovens heat differently. Remove the dutch oven and carefully turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack. Allow the loaf to rest for 15minutes before slicing.


Recipe for Saturday Morning Bread from Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish.
Bread is best enjoyed the day it is made. Store tightly covered in a cool dry place for up to three days.
If a proofing basket is not available, a suitable substitute would be a flour dusted wicker basket, banneton or a large kitchen bowl lined with a lint free tea towel and generously dusted with flour.


  • Reply
    July 1, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    It is 1 teaspoon of yeast, not 1/4. I have the Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast book in front of me as I type. Lovely recipe, well worth the effort!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 2, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks for catching that typo! All fixed!!

  • Reply
    Rachel Stevens
    May 5, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Hello, can I just halve the recipe to make one loaf?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      May 9, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      Yes, you absolutely can. Keep in mind that it’s about as much work to make one loaf as it takes to make two. And you can slice the second loaf and freeze it for another time. Hope you enjoy!

      • Rachel Stevens
        May 10, 2020 at 10:53 pm

        uThank you! I tried to make the full recipe but there was too much dough for my kitchenaid mixer and it ended in disaster!!

        Do you have any tips for adapting this recipe for a stand mixer with a dough hook?

  • Reply
    Farah Shahin
    April 11, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Hello! Thank you for a very detailed and thorough recipe.

    I just have some questions below please, which I would really appreciate your advise!

    1) can I refrigerate the dough for a final proof in the fridge after it has been shaped (i.e. doing step no. 8 overnight in the fridge?
    2) If i wanted to add some flavours such as olives, at what stage is it recommended to add the chopped olives that wouldn’t harm the fermentation process?

    Thanks a lot for your kind help!



  • Reply
    Katerina Philbrick
    March 24, 2020 at 1:29 am

    Are you sure about the yeast? 1/4 teaspoon??

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      March 24, 2020 at 2:50 am

      Hi! Yes, that is the correct measurement. You are basically “seeding” the flour and because the dough sits for 12-14 hours overnight, it essentially reproduces itself. Hope you enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star