Overnight bread is a staple in my house and has been for years now. This version is a simplified recipe based off one of my most popular recipes, an overnight dark rye bread that’s common here in northern Europe.
Instead of including oats and cocoa powder to make it darker and denser, I’ve kept the ingredients list very short – just whole spelt flour, rye flour, water, salt, and yeast. Equal parts of spelt and rye give a great flavour without being overwhelming.
I killed my sourdough starter early on in the summer by leaving it in the sun and haven’t started a new one yet. We’re currently house hunting in the Netherlands and I don’t want to move it around too much, so for now, overnight bread is the best option. And it’s a good one, too.
Baking the bread in a heavy pot creates steam and results in a crusty loaf reminiscent of what you’ll see in just about every bakery here, especially when you use hearty flours like spelt and rye.
Most long ferment bread recipes will tell you that you need a Dutch oven or another heavy covered pot to make the breads, and you do if you want a crusty, bakery style bread like this one. But in general, you don’t.
In fact, this overnight spelt rye bread is great for sandwiches (see this post for instructions on how to do an overnight bread in a loaf pan). I’ve been making it in a normal bread pan since moving to Germany because I don’t have a heavy enamel pot here and it’s great. You don’t get the same crust necessarily but it still has a great flavour and it’s even easier.
Using parchment paper in the pot makes the process easier in a few ways. You don’t need to worry about catching a hand on the very hot inner edge as you drop the bread in, or sticking if your pot is old, not enamelled, or you’re just a little worried about it.
You also don’t need to flour a kitchen towel, which invariably sticks to the dough and refuses to wash out. If you have a banneton it’s great to let the dough rise in there, then place it on the paper before dropping that into the pot. Otherwise I usually put the paper in a bowl, then scoop the dough out onto that, then drop it into the hot Dutch oven.
I also have a no knead honey & oat sourdough recipe if you’re looking to branch out a bit. If you’re looking for a whole grain, healthier option to a standard no-knead bread, this easy overnight spelt rye bread is it. I’ve shared several bread recipes over the years and you guys always seem to like them (are there not so many alternative bread recipes out there?) so I hope you like this one just as much!
And wish us luck – we’re meeting with a realtor in Groningen tomorrow! Fingers crossed we find a house very soon.
Easy Overnight Spelt Rye Bread
- 300 grams spelt flour*
- 270 grams whole grain rye flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon dry yeast
- 500 ml room temperature water
- Combine the flours, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in the water until a shaggy looking dough forms. Cover with a plate or beeswax wrap and set on the counter to rest for 12-16 hours.
- Once the dough has rested, it should have risen significantly and be quite bubbly. It will be soft. Use a spatula or your hands to stretch and fold it a few times in the bowl before placing onto a large square of parchment paper or in a well floured banneton. Sprinkle flour over it and cover with a towel.
- Let the dough rise for another 30-60 minutes. Place a Dutch oven or other high-heat safe covered dish (e.g. pyrex) into the oven and heat to 230C / 450F. Once the oven is hot, remove the dish and place the dough carefully into the hot pot.
- Bake the bread, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and reduce the heat to 200°C (400°F) and bake for an additional 15-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden. A darker crust will have a deeper flavour, so go by your personal preference.
- Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Slicing it while it's still hot will result in an unpleasant gummy texture. Store in a sealed container or tea towel for 3-5 days at room temperature.
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