Proofing sourdough overnight

 

I’m a big fan of the sourdough overnight rise i.e. proofing sourdough overnight. It allows me to fit sourdough baking into my daily routine more easily and offers an opportunity to improve the flavour and aroma characteristics of my loaves.

In this post, I wanted to share some basics and tips around using this technique.

How does the sourdough overnight rise method work?

Fermentation will continue during refrigeration which will ensure the rise takes place albeit more slowly. By slowing down the process, sourdough breads that ferment overnight in the fridge develop more acidity during this time.

In general, there are a few things to look out for when baking an overnight sourdough bread recipe.

Overnight first rise

This method relates to the initial rise of the dough once you have mixed your dough ingredients including the refreshed sourdough starter. If you want to give your bread a good, long rise for reasons of flavour and nutritional quality but you cannot start the process until late in the evening, this would be a good option. Try to mix the dough at around 27°C (you can influence this by using water at this temperature) to give it a head-start, then place in the fridge at 5°C overnight before shaping the loaf and its final proof.

Overnight proofing

This is a great method if you want to bake your loaf first thing in the morning. Overnight proofing however isn’t risk free as proof times will as always vary based on the dough temperature and general vigour of the sourdough used. When I use this method,  I tend to use water 27°C – 32°C for mixing the main dough ingredients and leave it to rest at room temperature for a good few hours before shaping the loaf. This means the fermentation process has well and truly started by the time the loaf goes into the fridge.

However, if your dough is too lively at this stage, or your fridge not powerful enough, the loaf may over-proof before the morning and you won’t be there too notice until it’s too late.

On the other hand, the dough may not be lively enough and the fridge will slow things right down. So by the time the morning comes, your dough may not have risen enough and due to the cold dough temperature it will take a while to get it to its final fully proofed stage. Experience will be your best guide here.

Tips for proofing sourdough overnight

  1. The dough will be cold as it comes out of the fridge. If you are proofing your sourdough overnight for its first rise, it will take a while to get going again. Ensure it arrives into a warm space after its time in the fridge.
  2. Get to know the vigour of your sourdough and get the dough temperature right before starting the overnight rise. This will ensure you limit some of the risks described above.
  3. Experiment with different recipes and different flours to test and learn.
  4. Here are some recipes to get you started on this method: French pain de campagne and Russian 100% rye bread

Eating Out In Edinburgh

 

Eating your way around Edinburgh is a fabulous way to explore the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Plan your day out with some tasty treats in mind – and don’t forget the bread!

Best for brunch

Urban Angel

Urban Angel’s versatile all day brunch menu is the perfect fix for healthy brunch-time cravings. The menu offers up scrumptious favourites such as Eggs Benedict and brioche French toast but also delights with moreish alternatives including harissa-spiced haricot beans on toast and Acai smoothie bowls. Whatever tickles your fancy, you’ll find a delicious selection of brunch treats on the menu. What’s more, their extensive list of add on items allows you to top up your plate with anything from black pudding and slow roasted tomatoes to veggie haggis should you feel the urge!

Urban Angel Edinburgh
Urban Angel, Edinburgh

Best for Vegetarian/Vegan lunch

Hendersons

I love dropping into Hendersons’ deli for lunch. Fresh and organic ingredients make for a vast range of veggie dishes including flavoursome salads, hearty soups as well as hot favourites such as their haggis parcels and Thai nut burgers. Hendersons’ Vegan restaurant around the corner from the deli serves up delicious dishes including Scottish pearl barley & parsnip risotto as well as my personal favourite, freekeh salad with kale, butternut squash, pear, grapes, almond flakes and cumin-maple dressing.

Hendersons Edinburgh
Hendersons, Edinburgh

Best for seafood

The Ship on the Shore

My all-time favourite for romantic dinners and savouring the best seafood in town, the Ship on the Shore celebrates the rich seafood larder Scotland has to offer. Part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, this is the place to get your fill of oysters, Shetland mussels, Scottish lobster and many more outstanding seafood dishes from the seasonal menu. Enjoy all this in a setting of understated elegance, right beside the Water of Leith.

Best for seasonal eating

Lovage Restaurant

A recent discovery, Lovage Restaurant is my top local insider’s tip. Located centrally on St Mary’s Street, Lovage serves up extraordinary contemporary cuisine with a Polish influence, lovingly prepared with seasonal Scottish ingredients. Personal favourites include the cucumber soup (from the summer menu) and the spätzle with curd cheese and chestnuts (from their winter menu). Check for the latest seasonal dishes to get your taste buds excited

Best for inventive local dining

The Gardener’s Cottage

In the quaint setting of a gardener’s stone cottage built in 1836, the restaurant’s home-grown vegetable and herb garden greets diners as they arrive. The finest ingredients are sourced from local producers and sustainable waters. Make an occasion of it and book yourself in for the delectable seven course evening dinner. Stand out dishes include Arbroath smokies, hare pie, sea buckthorn sorbet with crowdie. Settle into one of the two cosy dining rooms on long communal dining tables and get ready to be enchanted.

The Gardener's Cottage Edinburgh
The Gardener’s Cottage Edinburgh

Best for coffee

Brew Lab

We have a vibrant coffee scene in Edinburgh but the shining star amongst the many independent coffee shops is Brew Lab. A pioneer in taking the city’s coffee culture to a new level, Brew Lab launched in 2012 and continues to push the boundaries of what a coffee bar can be. Passionate baristas prepare your brew with meticulous care and are happy to impart their specialist knowledge to coffee lovers. What is on offer? Single-origin filter, espresso and cold brew coffees alongside a locally sourced selection of sweet and savoury treats to match. Pop in for your high-quality caffeine fix and take note of Brew Lab’s extended opening hours, open until 9pm Wednesday to Sundays.

Best for cake

Falko

Indulge in the eclectic array of cakes Falko Konditormeister has to offer. Falko is a long-standing German bakery specialising in premium quality, traditionally prepared cakes and gâteaux. Cake varieties change frequently – just walk in and pick from the mouth-watering cakes beautifully presented in the display counter. Enjoy the continental Kaffeehaus vibes and treat yourself to a rich chocolatey Sachertorte or Swabian apple tart in the cosy wood panelled interiors of this Edinburgh institution. Have a pretzel while you’re there!

Best for wine

Smith & Gertrude

For me, Smith & Gertrude is the best wine bar in Edinburgh and my favourite place for spending a lazy Sunday afternoon. I love stopping by for carefully curated flights of wines (cheese and charcuterie pairing optional) while the old record player in the corner takes care of some quality tunes. The S&G crew even welcome record requests! Also check out the website’s events page to keep tabs on upcoming tasting events. 

Best for bread

You might also wonder where the best bread in town can be found. Luckily, there are now several great bakeries to choose from. My top picks around town are Falko in Bruntsfield, Breadshare Community Bakery in Leith and Portobello and The Wee Boulangerie on Clerk Street.