Simplicity – 24 Hour White Bread

24 Hour White Bread

whitebreadThis is a really great bread to start with.  First, its incredibly good.  It’s also simple to make and will force you to not fear high hydration dough.  While the formula hydration is about 76%, the act of folding this bread with a wet hand (to keep the dough from sticking) is going to raise that number up a couple of points as well as help develop the gluten.  It’s also going to be beautiful when it’s done, with an excellent earthy crust and an open crumb.  Yep, it’s white bread, but not like anything you ever found in a store, and it requires very little hands on time to accomplish!

The Formula:

100%           All Purpose Flour

78%         90-95°F Water

2.2%      Salt

0.08%   Instant Yeast

When I make this bread, I make a boule, or ball, and bake it in a cloche, and so it’s about 900 grams total that I’m shooting for.  Using what I know about bakers percentages, this gives me this:

500g      All Purpose Flour

390g      90-95°F Water

11g      Salt

0.4g     Instant Yeast (a scant 1/8th teaspoon!)


  1. In the evening after work, Autolyse the flour and water.  Sounds fancy, but just mix them together well and let them sit there for a half hour.
  2. After the autolyse, sprinkle the instant yeast over the top, then the salt, and proceed to use the pincer method to mix the ingredients.  This will take you a few minutes maybe, keeping your hand wet to keep it from sticking to the dough.
  3. Over the next hour to hour and a half, you’re going to fold the dough three times, probably at 30 minutes intervals, keeping it covered in between folds.  This will give this wet dough structure.
  4. After the last fold, leave it covered on the kitchen counter overnight for the bulk fermentation.
  5. In the morning when you get up, loosen the dough from the bowl and shape it into a boule, then transfer it into a round banneton (or a bowl lined with a flour dusted cloth) and put it in the fridge until after work.
  6. When you get home, put the dutch oven or cloche into the oven and then preheat the oven to 475°F.  At this point, please remember that the dutch oven or cloche are going to become incredibly hot, so be careful.
  7. When the oven is preheated, remove the bowl or banneton from the fridge and transfer the dough to the dutch oven or cloche with the lid on and then return it to the oven.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and continue baking for another 10-20 minutes, depending on how brave you are.  You don’t want to burn the bread exactly, but getting pretty close to burned is kind of awesome.
  9. Finally, remove the dutch oven or cloche from the oven and set the bread to cool on a wire rack.  Resist the urge to taste it until it is completely cooled.  Refer to the video again if you need regarding removing the dough from the dutch oven or cloche to cool.

A Couple Of Notes:

  1.  Until I figure out how to change the link colors, bolded words in the instructions are links to YouTube videos which are better than me talking about how to do this stuff.
  2. For this recipe, you can set a schedule such as a 6pm autolyse, 6:30pm mixing the dough followed by subsequent folds, 6am shaping and refrigerating, and 6pm preheating followed by baking.
  3. I’m assuming that you’ve read the Tools and Secrets  and Ingredients pages, and you know as much as you can about the various tools and methods.
  4. This recipe uses very little yeast and a very long bulk fermentation followed by a refrigerated proofing.  In short, this is what makes it taste so very good.
  5. When the dough goes into the banneton it goes in gnarly side down which will in turn place this side up when you bake.  The bread should break open during the bake….this is good.
  6. When you take it out to cool, listen to it.  It’s crackling as it cools.
  7. If you’re not using a dutch oven, or cloche, then you need to prepare the oven during the preheat for hearth baking.  Steam is a key ingredient.  What I do is take a shallow baking pan and fold a couple of kitchen towels into it and soak them with water.  When I preheat I pour off most of the excess water and put the pan in the bottom of the oven.  The towels will heat up and make steam during the bake.  No, they won’t start on fire but do remember to remove them when you’re done baking!  Also, if you’re baking hearth style like this, put your bread on a baking stone that has preheated with the oven. You can dust it with a little semolina or even corn meal, or place the bread on parchment paper and the parchment paper on the stone.
  8. Finally, if you’re hearth baking with wet towels, work fast in and out of the oven.  You don’t want to lose all your steam.


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