Homemade Overnight Bread

Overnight bread is a recipe that you can prep ahead and then bake the next day. You only need five ingredients to make it and it bakes up light and airy with a crusty, chewy crust. Just like those expensive artisan bread loaves you see at the store but so much cheaper (and more delicious) when you make it at home.

loaf of overnight bread on a blue napkin

One thing I love about making bread is that there are so many ways to do it from very easy to more involved. Well, today I have a delicious one for you that requires only five ingredients. Overnight bread is the perfect recipe when you want to make the dough ahead and bake it later.

This recipe is great when you want a fresh-baked loaf but you don’t have time to make it all in one day. Most of the work is done a day before so there are just a few steps when you’re ready to bake it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing better than fresh-baked bread.


  • Water -Lukewarm
  • Yeast -Active dry yeast
  • Flour -All purpose flour
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Make the Dough with Just 5 Ingredients

The first step is to mix the dough. Start by sprinkling active dry yeast over lukewarm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (the temperature should be approximately 105F). Let it sit for five minutes.

After the yeast is activated, add half of the flour and start to knead it with the dough hook attachment. Add the remaining flour and knead it just long enough to combine. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add olive oil while the dough hook is kneading the dough. Add the salt and continue kneading for three minutes.

mixing the flour, forming the dough and kneading the dough in a silver bowl

Fold the Dough

For this recipe, you will fold the dough instead of kneading it in a traditional way. This method traps air inside the dough creating a lighter texture once it’s baked.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Instead of kneading the dough you will instead flatten it into a small rectangle. Fold one-third of the dough into the middle and fold the other end of the dough over the top (like folding an envelope). Repeat this folding process three times and then cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

folding the dough on a wooden board

Repeat the folding process a total of five times with 10 minutes of rest time in between for a total of 50 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it to coat it evenly. Refrigerate it for 20 to 24 hours. During this time it will slowly proof until it’s time to take it out.

the dough before and after rising in a glass bowl

A Few Last Steps Before Baking the Bread

After it has rested in the refrigerator, take it out and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Fold the dough, using the same method, three times and then let it rest for 10 minutes.

Form the dough into your desired shape, place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and leave it to rise for one to two hours.

folding the dough and letting it rise

How to Create Chewy Crust

Once you’ve let the bread rise, it’s time to bake it. You can create a crusty, chewy crust by placing a shallow oven-safe dish (I use a cake pan) in the oven before you preheat it to 400 F. While you wait for it to preheat, score your loaf by cutting shallow slits in the top (three or four will work).

When the oven is ready, quickly pour one cup of hot water into the baking pan and then place the loaf in the oven. Do this fast so you don’t lose the heat in the oven. While the bread bakes, the water in the pan will create steam which will give it a crusty exterior – much like the artisan loaves you see at the store.

bread on a blue napkin with 3 slices

Bake  it for approximately 30 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and cool it completely before serving.

I can’t be trusted around homemade bread – it’s just too easy to tear off a piece and enjoy just as it is. Serve it simple with some butter and jam or include it as a side dish for your favorite dinners. Any way you serve it, I’m sure it will disappear fast. Enjoy!

bread on a blue napkin with 3 slices

More Easy Bread Recipes

Homemade Overnight Bread

Rosemary Molloy
Overnight bread is great when you don't have time to make a loaf in one day. The dough rests in the refrigerator for a day so you can bake it later.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising Time 1 day 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Yeast Breads
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 1053 kcal


  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (105F / 40C) (175 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (divided) (250 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


  • In mixing bowl add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit 5 minutes then stir. Add half the flour and start to knead with the dough hook, then add remaining flour and knead just to combine, then cover with a clean towel and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Add the oil and knead then add the salt and knead for another 3 minutes.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured flat surface and flatten into a small rectangle, fold one third of the dough into the middle and the other end over top, pulling the dough gently as you fold (like an envelope), do this three times, then cover with a clean tea towel and let rest 10 minutes. Repeat this folding and resting 5 times to equal 50 minutes of rest time. Then place the dough in a lightly oil bowl, turning to coat the dough, cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate 20 – 24 hours.
  • Remove from the fridge and let sit 30 minutes. Then fold the dough again three times, let rest 10 minutes, then form the dough into desired loaf shape, place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover and let rise 1-2 hours.
  • Pre-heat oven 400F (200C), place a cake tin in the bottom of the oven.
  • Score the bread, add 1 cup of hot water to the pan and quickly place the loaf in the oven. Bake 30 minutes or until done. Move immediately to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely. Enjoy!


Calories: 1053kcalCarbohydrates: 193gProtein: 28gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1752mgPotassium: 325mgFiber: 8gSugar: 1gCalcium: 38mgIron: 12mg
Keyword homemade overnight bread, overnight bread
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  1. This is a great recipe- I was surprised how wet the mix was. I had to add a little more flour. Otherwise, the directions were perfect and the bread, very good.

    1. Thank you Lynn, and I’m glad the recipe worked for you. Sometimes the flour we use is different and that will change the consistency of the dough a bit, but adding the flour definitely was the right thing to do 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Just fyi, the initial rise of the dough is called fermentation – proofing comes after the dough has been shaped and is rising in loaf form before baking.

  3. Hi Rosemary, I have one question. After the dough has rested for 30 mins, after being in the fridge, you state to fold it again 3 times. Do you have to wait ten minutes between each folding, as before? Or do you go right ahead and fold 3 times into an envelope, one after the other? Haven’t made this before and want to clarify. Thankyou so much.

  4. Can any other flour be used in place of all purpose flour ? How about white whole wheat flour or bread flour ? Thank you for a nice recipe !! Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy, sure bread flour is fine although if you use whole wheat use about 1/3 whole wheat and the rest bread or all purpose. All whole wheat doesn’t expand very well during baking.

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