Slow-rise Manitoba bread

I love to bake my own bread. Freshly baked with a crispy crust. Delicious. Supermarket bread feels stale and there are a lot of ingredients in it that I just don’t want to eat. This slow-rise Manitoba bread rises a longtime, typically overnight in the refrigerator.

Here are some basics about slow-rise bread. No interest to read about it? Then go straight to the recipe.

What is slow-rise bread?

Slow-rise bread rises in the cold. These are usually temperatures between 0 and 6 degrees Celsius in the refrigerator.

The fermentation is therefore delayed and has a lot of advantages:

  • The bread just tastes different. Unquestionably better. The yeast has a longer time to work. This converts long chains of carbohydrates, starches and other polysaccharides into a variety of delicious sugars, acids and alcohols.
  • You need significantly less yeast. For a yeast dough with a total weight of 1 kilogram, 2 gram of yeast is sufficient.
  • The pores in the bread can be wilder and bigger.
  • You have some flexibility in baking when the dough is kept cold. “Rising” and “baking” can be integrated much better into your daily routine. The time window in which the dough is ready to bake increases.
  • The crust also benefits from the long-term slow-rise.

How long can the dough rise in the cold?

Opinions differ widely here. So far, I haven’t had the patience to grow bread cold for more than 20 hours. I already have great results for myself after 16 hours of slow-rise dough. There is a baguette recipe where the dough rises cold for 52 hours. Just test what is good enough for you.

IMPORTANT to realize, is that the greatest risk of this method is the ageing of the dough.

Rising time and temperature are the main factors of ageing. The warmer the ambient temperature and the dough temperature isself and the longer the dough works, the higher is the risk of fermentation. Fermentation also occurs quickly if a flour with a small amount of glue is used.

Which flours are suitable for slow-rise bread?

Basically, gluten-strong flours are best for slow-rise bread. These are, for example, brown flour, Italian Tipo 0 flours, French T 65 and T 80 flours, durum wheat flour and other gluten-strong wheat flours.

Recipe: Slow-rise Manitoba bread

Amount: 1 bread


500 g Manitoba flour
100 g graham flour
425 g water
100 ml natural joghurt or more water
8 g yeast
1½ tsp salt
3 tbsp oil


  • At first pour the water and yogurt into a bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the mixture. It works better if the liquid is not cold. Then add flour and salt.
  • Knead the dough with the machine for 10-15 minutes. After that let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough.

  • Therefore slowly pull the dough up about 30-40 cm and then fold it. Repeat 10 times. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Then start the process again. Stretch and fold the dough a total of three times.
  • In the meantime, grease a bowl with the oil. Put the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rise for 2 hours on the kitchen table at room temperature.
  • Afterwards place the bowl in the refrigerator. Let the dough rise overnight for about 12 hours. The volume should at least double in the refrigerator. The dough must have air bubbles – then it’s ready.
  • Take the bowl out of the refrigerator two hours before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to about 250C with a baking sheet. Once hot take the hot baking sheet out of the oven. Place the dough on the baking sheet by carefully folding it over itself. Most important: Don’t destroy the air bubbles in the dough. Now make several long shallow cuts on top of the bread with a knife. After that quickly push the baking sheet back into the oven.
  • Bake the slow-rise Manitoba bread in steam. In “steam” means: fill a deep tray that has been preheated in the oven with approx. 150 ml of hot water AFTER the bread is in the oven. Otherwise you will burn yourself in the steam.
  • Lower the baking temperature to 225C after 10 minutes. The total baking time is approx. 45 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
  • At last let the bread cool on a wire rack.


Personally, I don’t notice any difference in the dough after stretching and folding it. That’s why I don’t do it. Normally this should give it more structure.

I like it square, practical and good. So I use a baking pan to bake the bread. I line it with a piece of baking paper. The baking paper is removed later to allow the bread to cool.

Use a pizza stone in the oven. Bake the bread on the hot pizza stone instead a hot baking plate. Be careful handling the hot stone. The hot plate is definitely easier to handle.

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