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Easy Overnight Wholemeal Sourdough

One step on from my no-knead sourdough, the extra time spent kneading improves the crumb.

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After making no-knead bread for a while (see Tom's Overnight, No-knead Sourdough), I was persuaded to give kneading a go to see what difference it made. My conclusion ... it takes a little more time and effort, but assuming you've got a few mintues to spare, it's worth it for a better crumb. 


Starter 150g (my starter is approx 1 parts wholemeal rye to 1 part water)

Wholemeal flour 500g

Water 300g

Salt 8g


Some time before:

Feed up your starter and make sure it will be ready to go ...

Early evening:

Add the flour and salt to a large bowl and mix briefly. Then add the starter and the water and mix thoroughly to form a rough dough. Cover in plastic bag / clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour or 2 to autolyse. (This gives the starter a chance to get to work before you start kneading, which helps with the flavour and makes the dough a bit easier to handle when you do knead it.)

Late evening:

Knead your dough for 5-10 mins, or until you feel that it is ready. 

Next morning:

Place your dough on to a well floured surface, fold a couple of times and shape. Treat it gently as you don't want to push the air out of it - sourdoughs need handling with care! Place your shaped dough in a well floured bannetone and cover with a plastic bag, before leaving in a warm place to prove. It usually takes 3-4 hours to double in size.

Pre-heat the over to 220C. I bake this loaf in a large "Le Crueset" casserole for at 220C for 20mins and then take the lid off and bake for a further 20 mins at 200C.

Try to wait a bit before eating, but not too long as it is really delicous when it's still warm! It keeps well and makes fabulous toast for days, if you can keep it for that long. 

NOTE - the precise quanitities of ingredients work very well for me, but try tweaking the flour to water ratio to change the texture. More water gives you a more open structure to you bread, but is harder to handle; less flour and it's easier to shape, but more closed.

 If you try this recipe, please leave a comment to let me know how you got on, especially if you've got any suggested improvements. Thanks

Added by: senrabmot

Tags: Wholemeal Bread Sourdough

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re Baking in oven

'When you say bake in a “Le Crueset” in oven, do you just put the dough straight in the bottom or place it in a bread pan inside the Le Crueset?' I use a le Crueset casserole, and line the base with greaseproof to stop sticking. It works really well.

ms Anna Lambert 02 July 2020

Lovely bread

I came across this recipe by accident. Misreading between two recipes, I made this with 200g of strong white and 300g wholemeal. It worked out really well. I did 3 stretch and folds during the autolyse, then put to bed in the fridge. Early morning it hadn’t risen that much, so I left it out on the counter to finish off. I skipped the 3 hour prove; just did a quick stretch and fold and left whilst oven was heating up. I don’t have a Le Crueset, so just use a large lidded saucepan. Removed lid after 20 mins and then added steam by pouring water into a tray at the bottom. Very happy with the outcome of this; delicious!

Nicola Jarratt 11 June 2020

Baking in oven

When you say bake in a “Le Crueset” in oven, do you just put the dough straight in the bottom or place it in a bread pan inside the Le Crueset?

Alexandra Gunn 11 May 2020

Quite lovely - soft and flavorful

Followed the recipe pretty close. I use unbleached bread flour in my starter. Was probably a little generous with the whole wheat but was close to 500 grams. Used the recommended water volume and 10 grams of smoked sea salt. Baked for 20 minutes at 425F in a covered dutch oven similar to Le Creucet then 20 minutes at 375F with the lid removed. This loaf was so soft and delicious that I am repeating the recipe again tonight. Thank you.

Dwh_gravy 13 December 2015

RE: Quite lovely - soft and flavorful

The smoked sea salt sounds like a nice twist - I'll give it a try. Glad you liked it

senrabmot 13 December 2015

Tough crust

I find my crust is very thought when making a sourdough, am I over cooking it, the bread can be hard to eat especily if you toast it. Any advice would be great.

Luke 89 14 July 2015

RE: Tough crust

The problem might be your oven. I find that my sourdoughs develop too tough a crust if I bake them in my Neff 'circotherm' oven, even if I create steam by pouring a little cold water into a hot roasting tin on the floor of the oven, but they're fine if I bake them in my bottom of the range Zanussi fans ovens (with steam as above).

jane 19 October 2015

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