Overnight and no-knead breads have been around for a few years, having been made famous in a New York Times article quite awhile ago. But almost every recipe that I have seen that falls into either of those labels use exclusively modern commercial wheat and not the Einkorn flour that I have grown to love and trust in my home.
Which is why I was determined to find, or figure out, a true overnight bread recipe that used Einkorn flour. In my case, “all purpose” Einkorn was fine, I wasn’t looking for a whole wheat bread, but rather an artisan loaf that required very little hands on activity but that still had a lovely browned and crispy crust with a soft and chewy interior using my favorite ancient wheat.
For my first few attempts at overnight bread, or no-knead bread (which is a misnomer in my case since I actually do knead the bread) I didn’t jump straight to 100% Einkorn wheat. Rather, I started with two thirds conventional bread flour, and only one third Einkorn. And the results were very promising!
To clarify, I prefer calling this bread overnight as opposed to no-knead, because I do actually knead the bread, using my stand mixer. Many people go with the no-knead method, where you simply stir the ingredients together at night, and then let a long overnight rest do all of your gluten development for you.
I have found this method to be disappointing, as I continuously do a poor job of mixing and end up with large clumps of unmixed ingredients the next morning, which definitely interferes with a quality loaf of bread.
Instead, I take the two or three minutes it takes to thoroughly combine, and knead, all of my ingredients in my Kitchen Aid at night, and still give it a full night’s rest in a covered container. So overnight bread is more accurate, and guaranteed that you won’t find any dry crusty clumps of unmixed flour and salt trapped inside your bread dough.
But it is still super easy, so I’m going with it.
The biggest issues I have found focus around two separate areas involved in this process. First, how much Einkorn flour can I get away using before I interfere with producing large bubbles and a beautiful looking interior? And second, just how long should I wait from when I mix the ingredients together to when I should start fiddling with the dough getting it ready to bake?
Of course, the answer to my second question above depends upon my answer to the first question above! Which is to say, everything about bread depends… it depends upon what kind of flour you choose to use, how much water you use, what temperature your house is, etc…
I have chosen to stick with either 100% conventional bread flour or I swap out 1/3 of the flour for all purpose Einkorn flour. I am normally not a fan of using conventional flour, but I believe that letting the flour ferment overnight with a very wet dough breaks down a lot of the troublesome proteins that have been introduced into modern wheat over the past 50-75 years.
Either way, the process is the same whether I am using all modern bread flour or whether I am subbing in a bit of Einkorn flour.
Before dinner the night before I want my bread to be coming out of the oven, I mix all of my ingredients in my stand mixer. Literally under 10 minutes to get everything out, mixed and cleaned up.
I let the dough sit out all night in a covered bowl or plastic container with a tight fitting lid. For instance, if I start at 4:00 pm on a Friday, then I won’t mess with my dough until close to noon on Saturday.
At which point I will transfer the dough to a glass mixing bowl, so that I can work the dough with my hands a few times before I bake the bread. I also start to preheat the oven to 450-500 so that I can preheat my enamel cast iron dutch oven for the actual baking process.
While the oven is heating up, with the dutch oven inside, I gently stretch and fold the dough two or three times while it is in the glass bowl. The dough will be very wet and soft and I pull from underneath and bring dough up and fold into the middle of the dough over and over until the dough gets tight and doesn’t want to pull out anymore.
Hopefully by this time you’ll be seeing large bubbles in your dough. This is what you are looking for!
On your last pull and fold make sure the dough is quite tight and turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper, and then tighten up the skin of the dough just a bit more so that you have a nice clean and smooth ball of dough just waiting to be baked.
After another 30-45 minutes or so, when it appears your dough has really grown quite a bit, you can make a slash or two into your dough, or not, totally your call.
Pull the hot dutch oven out of your oven, carefully, and place next to your dough. Lifting up the parchment paper, place the dough in your pot, place the top back on, and then back into the oven with the whole thing!
Bake for 20-25 minutes and then take the lid of your pot off, and bake for another 25 minutes, give or take, until the bread is as dark and crusty as you had hoped it would be!
Overnight Einkorn Flour Bread
- dutch oven
Overnight Bread with Einkorn Flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup all purpose Einkorn flour
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp yeast
Overnight Bread with Bread Flour
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp yeast
- Mix all of your ingredients together thoroughly
- place into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 16-20 hours
- uncover bowl and reach under dough pulling dough back up over itself and tuck into the middle, repeating about 8 or 10 times until dough tightens up
- repeat pulling and tucking process every 30-45 minutes until you have pulled and tucked 3 or 4 times.
- preheat oven to 450-500 degrees after you have pulled and tucked your dough two times
- on the third or fourth time of pulling and tucking, roll dough out of bowl onto a piece of parchment and tuck again and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.
- CAREFULLY take hot dutch oven out of the oven and place next to bread dough and pick up parchment paper and gently place it into the dutch oven, place the lid back on, and put it all back into the oven
- after 20-25 minutes, remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake another 25 minutes, give or take, until the bread looks as brown and crusty as you would like it to, but err on the side of a bit too much time in the oven to make sure the interior is cooked all the way through and won't be wet and doughy when you cut into it, should be around 190-195 with a probe thermometer inside
- let rest on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes
- slather on some butter, and a bit of salt, and enjoy!