The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proof Overnight - Bake for Breakfast

hk1's picture

Proof Overnight - Bake for Breakfast

I'm looking for a recipe, or maybe simply a process or method that could be used to have something like ciabatta ready to bake first thing in the morning after you get out of bed and ready to eat for breakfast.

My idea is that the evening before is when you would let the dough rise, perform stretch and fold methods, etc. and then shape it and put it in the refrigerator. In the morning you'd get it out and let it proof at room temperature for maybe 30 minutes while the oven and baking stone heats up and then you'd bake it.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone has a recipe or instructions for doing something like this. Ciabatta is not an absolute requirement but I'm looking for something similar to that in texture and flavor. I think I'd be willing to settle for smaller loaves or some kind of rolls/buns if it would allow the morning proofing and baking to go a little faster. Rolls and buns also cool faster than a regular loaf which would also be better if you want to eat them for breakfast.

No knead would be a plus but if it's going to have less flavor then I might be interested in a traditional knead bread. Also, I think I'd consider using a sponge (poolish) to get the full flavor as well, which probably means that no-knead would not be an option.

Any ideas? See any reason that this isn't going to work?

cranbo's picture

You can do this for pretty much any kind of recipe. 

The adjustments I would make would be:

  1. Reduce yeast amount to less than 1% of flour weight (start with 0.5%)
  2. Make sure that you shape the kneaded dough into its final shape before it goes into the fridge, covered, overnight.

If you're set on ciabatta, try Jason's Coccodrillo Ciabatta as-is, except try reducing the initial fermentation time: maybe 75% expansion or double expansion at most; not triple, otherwise it will probably overferment by the time it slows down enough in the fridge. You'll have to play around with this to dial it in. 

Right from the fridge, you can pull many breads and bake right into the oven. Of course, if you're letting your oven preheat for 30-45 min, that should help as well. 

Let us know how it goes!

foodslut's picture

When you say this ....

Reduce yeast amount to less than 1% of flour weight (start with 0.5%)

.... you mean instant dry yeast, or fresh?

cranbo's picture

Yes, definitely instant yeast. I always assume that because most folks don't bake with fresh yeast, but thanks for making me clarify :)

foodslut's picture

.... so thanks for that - much appreciated!

lumos's picture

As cranbo said,  there're endless options and  almost any formula for more or less any bread can be adapted to 'O/N retard in the fridge + bake next morning.'  But one thing you have to bear in mind  is that it takes quite a long time for the freshly baked bread to cool completely.  Until it's completely cooled inside, 'baking' is still continuing in the loaf, and also most of breads need to get to rid of excess moisture (+CO2 which was 'exhaled' from yeast) while cooling, too, for you to enjoy its flavour and texture, so cooling process after the bread came out of the oven is crucial.  Just as a rough idea, my standard sized bread (around 550-600g dough weight) takes at least 2 hrs to cool, sometimes longer.

I know there're some people who like eating bread still it's warm out of the oven, but personally I think it tastes better (...and the dough is not wet) after it's cooled. So when I really, really want to eat 'freshly baked, but properly cooled' bread for breakfast, I get up very early in the 4 am....... And that's why I prefer baking it in the evening so that the bread come out of the oven just before I go to bed, and let it cool overnight on the worktop.

I know it's a matter of personal choice, but just my two pence....

best wishes,


moma's picture

I have a recipie for fridge rolls which contain a very small amount of yeast. The dough (very sticky) sits in a sealed container for up to 5 days and bake nicely.(you can easily bake a couple and leave the rest of dough for another day - ideal for working parents ;) )

1 liter cold wather
13g yeast
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons hunny
500 gram shredded oats (i like mine with more than 500g)
600 gram AP flour

Mix wather, yeast, salt and hunny. Mix in oats, then the flour. It will assemble a firm oatporrigde.

Apply the "rolls" to a cookie sheet w. parchment paper with a wet tablespoon and bake at 200C for 25-30min.


Jaydot's picture

Can't help you with the ciabatta, but I routinely bake all my sourdough bread this way: stretch&fold and bulk ferment in the evening, shape and proof overnight in the fridge, bake in the morning.
Biggest challenge was getting the amount of starter right, to avoid overproofing - baking this way requires a lot less starter (or yeast) and it took me a while to get it right. But once you have that figured out, you'll have dough that doubles in the fridge and then triples in the oven - fantastic!
As Lumos said, bread needs time to cool down, and I'm too lazy to get up before dawn - so I eat fresh bread for lunch :).