We’d be able to bake all day in a perfect world. Fresh muffins would be our morning snack, followed by a piece of cake for our afternoon snack. We’d spend a while baking savoury cheese bread or fragrant rolls for dinner.
We don’t live in perfect worlds, so a fresh loaf of bread to accompany a weeknight meal might not seem possible. Who has the time to make bread during their workday so they can bake it later in the evening? I am a literal baker, and I don’t have the time.
It might seem impossible to make weeknight bread at home without superpowers. However, bakers are blessed with a little magic that makes it possible to make this seemingly impossible task not only possible but also enjoyable: the overnight rise.
The overnight rise is magic.
You’ve been there before. You look through recipe after recipe in search of the perfect bread. When you think you have found it, another one appears. “Total Time: 12 hours.” Really?!
We often confuse “easy” and “quick,” which is quite understandable. Many simple things are also easy! However, bread is not one of those things. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are baking for a long time if your total time is high — 12 hours or 24 hours. It is usually a sign that a bread recipe requires overnight proof. This means that the dough is allowed to rise overnight in the fridge. Although it takes longer to make, the overnight proof is the best way to fit regular bread baking into your busy schedule. It’s like making bread in your sleep.
Stuart Thompson, the founder of the website bread scheduler, said that the overnight in the refrigerator process was helpful. It’s easy to get a lot done without worrying about it. You have to deal with it in your morning.
Why do we love the overnight rise?
1) It breaks down work into smaller pieces that can be done over several days.
This overnight method is the best way to achieve this. While you prepare dinner, mix the dough in the stand mixer. Once it’s done, please put it in the fridge. If you have more time, you can prepare your rolls and enjoy a cup of tea while you make dinner. Then, let them rest in the fridge until the morning when you are ready to bake. You can find a baking plan that fits into your busy week.
2) Flexibility in timing allows you to adjust your schedule.
The best thing about overnight rises is their flexibility in timing. It’s possible to add or drop an hour to your proofing time, and it will not make any difference in the bread. You might have to wait until the last minute or get a late start on your dough. Because cold proofing dough takes longer than dough proofed at room temperatures, the window for baking is larger. The schedule is more of a guideline and less of a rule.
3) More flavour and better bread.
Overnight rises offer more than flexibility. Your bread will develop a deeper, richer flavour if it is allowed to ferment in cold conditions. You can save time while adding flavour all at once.
Recipes that require an overnight rise
Weeknight bread is possible, I swear. These are just three ideas to get you started:
You can adapt the Pane Bianco recipe to suit your time and schedule. The basic procedure is to prepare the dough and let it ferment at room temperature for a few hours before shaping the loaf. After the loaf has been shaped, it can be stored in the refrigerator and covered until you are ready to bake.
How to use the overnight rise in almost any bread recipe?
We are so in love with an overnight rise that we wrote a blog post: “Can you refrigerate your bread dough and bake it later?” “(You can!)
This article will show you how to apply this technique to almost any bread recipe. This allows you to bake bread whenever you like and pick the recipe you prefer.
For more flexibility in baking, embrace the overnight rise.
Bread baking is “not a one-schedule-fits-all solution,” says Stuart from Bread Scheduler. It is important to personalize it. It’s really helpful to understand what it involves and how often you need to be there.
Try out multiday bread in your baking, and you will find it much easier to enjoy fresh-baked bread every day, even on weeknights. Superpowers are not necessary.