A White Overnight

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Over here in the UK, you can tune into Channel 4's 'Sunday Brunch' and see Jack Sturgess at work. Many readers will be more familiar with his YouTube channel 'Bake with Jack', that has been running since 2016. 

This recipe is one of Jack's. It's for a white loaf that is proofed overnight and baked the following day.

Normally, with a yeasted loaf, we tend to mix, knead, first proof, shape, second proof and bake all in the same day. However, sometimes, it's worth the wait of a cold proof to be able to have freshly-baked bread for a late breakfast or early lunch. This recipe means that all the work can be done in advance and then it's simply a matter of removing the dough from the fridge and baking it when you're ready. Jack calls this his 'Overnight Great White'. 

So, if your work routine means it's easier for you to bake first thing, or if you've guests and need bread for breakfast and don;t fancy getting up at 3 a.m., this might be the recipe for you. 

This recipe makes ONE x 2lb or TWO x 1lb loaves. If you want more.....either scale up or keep repeating the recipe at set times to have one in the refrigerator  and ready to bake.


500 gms of strong white bread flour
340 gms of filtered water at room temperature
7 gms fast action yeast
8 gms salt

A note about the ingredients:
Flour - I'm using Empress Blend (13.5% protein) from Pennine Mills in Stockport, UK
Water  - filtered Welsh water at room temperature. 
Salt - Cornish sea salt, crushed
Yeast : Fermipan Red quick action Instant)

You may also wish to incorporate seeds? I'm adding a tablespoonful of chia seeds and a tablespoon of brown linseed. If you do add seeds, increase the water volume by 20 gms. 


In a large bowl, add the water and the yeast. Stir to dissolve.

Add the flour and then the salt. Mix everything together until well incorporated. (If you're adding seeds, now's the time to do it...donlt forget the extra 20 gms of water)

Tip the dough out onto a clean surface and knead well for eight minutes. Resist the temptation to add further flour. With work, the dough will eventually come together. 

Bring the dough back into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover with a cloth or shower cap and leave to rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. 

When the dough has risen, tip it out onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten it out slightly. 

Bring all the edges into the middle and then flip it over so that you have a nice ball of dough with all the seams underneath. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

Prepare your loaf tin(s) by greasing them with oil or butter.

After the dough has rested for 15 minutes or so, flip it over and flatten it out once again, gently. Stretch out the left hand side and then fold it over as though you were creating a capital 'A'. Copy that on the other side so you have a definite capital 'A' shape. 

Fold over the narrow end and press down gently. keep rolling it until you have a shape like a Swiss roll. Pinch the seam and then invert it into the greased loaf tin. 

Place the loaf tin, uncovered, into the fridge. Leave it there for 14 - 16 hours until it has risen and looks puffy and ready to be baked.  Jack tells us there is no need to cover the loaf...I would. It will stop the crust drying out. Pop it into a plastic bag and then into the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C. Add a small container with boiling water to create steam in the oven. 

There is no need to bring the dough to room temperature. Simply place the loaf tin in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. 

The loaf is ready when you have a good colour to the crust and it sounds hollow when tapped on the underneath. If it's still a bit pale, pop it back into the oven , out of its tin and finish it off with another 5 - 10 minutes baking. 

Cool on a wire rack. 

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME - of course, you can change the schedule to suit your own needs and daily routines. 

13.00 - start making the dough...mix and knead

13.15 - leave the dough to first proof

15.15 - pre-shape the dough 

15.30 - shape and place in the loaf tin

16.00 - place bread in the refrigerator (top shelf)

07.00 - preheat the oven

07.30 - bake

08.10 - cool on a rack

09.00 - breakfast. 

Happy baking....


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