How Long Does It Take To Make Bread… Really?

How long to make bread?
Published on
01 November 2021
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

I wanted to see how long does it take to make bread. I mean, I already know how long it takes to make my favourite recipes, but what is possible? How quickly can I make bread, and how long could it take? Of course, there are dough improvers we can add, or we could add a ridiculous amount of yeast to make the dough rise in the time it takes to make a cup of tea! So, I’m focusing on a bread that’s enjoyable to eat. How long it could possibly take to make? Here are my findings.

A quick loaf of bread can be made in 2 hours and 15 minutes, yet longer-fermented loaves can take as long as 62 hours. How long it takes to make bread depends on the amount of yeast used and the proofing temperature of the dough.

To determine how long it takes to make bread we are going to follow the 13 stages of bread making to evaluate how long each step could possibly take.

How To Make Bread For The First Tim...
How To Make Bread For The First Time With A Simple White Bread Recipe (START HERE)

1. Creation of a preferment

A preferment will have large bubbles and ripples on the surface when ripe

Not every recipe requires a preferment. “Straight doughs” can skip this step, otherwise in the case of preparing a poolish, it can take up to 18 hours to preferment.

Min: 0 hours 0 minutes – Total: 0 hours 0 minutes

Max: 18 hours 0 minutes – Total: 18 hours 0 minutes 

2. Weighing of ingredients – Mise en Place

The time it takes to weigh the basic bread-making ingredients; flour water, salt and yeast is minimal. But when there are a lot more inclusions such as butter, malt flour, sourdough, etc. it can be quite time-consuming, especially if you have to rummage through cupboards.

Min: 0 hours 2 minutes – Total: 0 hours 2 minutes

Max: 18 hours 15 minutes – Total: 18 hours 15 minutes

3. Autolyse


It’s not necessary to autolyse, but many bakers love to do it as it develops the gluten structure naturally and saves them from having to knead as much. The length of the autolyse is often argued. Anywhere between 12 minutes and 6 hours in some cases.

Min: 0 hours 0 minutes – Total: 0 hours 2 minutes

Max: 6 hours 0 minutes – Total: 24 hours 15 minutes

4. Kneading

There are many no-knead versions of recipes available, but even for a no-knead recipe, there will still be a few minutes required for mixing to incorporate the ingredients. A small batch of dough can be incorporated in a couple of minutes, but this will be longer if making larger dough batches.

Min: 0 hours 2 minutes – Total: 0 hours 4 minutes

Max: 0 hours 25 minutes – Total: 24 hours 40 minutes

5. Bulk fermentation

Many bakers love to bulk ferment their doughs for as much time as possible to develop more flavour. The amount of time is arguable as some bakers will leave their dough in the fridge for days and bake it when ready. Yet there are several types of bread that are better without a first rise at all.

Min: 0 hours 0 minutes – Total: 0 hours 4 minutes

Max: 24 hours 0 minutes – Total: 48 hours 40 minutes

6. Divide

The next step is to divide your dough into individual bread pieces. As we are just making one loaf, we can skip this step. If you are making a batch of dough it will take roughly 20 seconds per unit to weigh and divide.

Min: o hours 0 minutes – Total: 0 hours 4 minutes

Max: 0 hours 0 minutes – Total: 48 hours 40 minutes

7. Preshaping

Once divided, the dough is preshaped and bench rested for a few minutes before it is ready to be final shaped. 10 – 40 minutes is typical here.

Min: 0 hours 10 minutes – Total: 0 hours 14 minutes

Max: 0 hours 40 minutes – Total: 49 hours 20 minutes

8. Final shaping and final proofing

At the end of the bench rest, the dough is shaped, placed into a tin or proofing device and left to rise. The length of the rise depends on many factors, yet temperature and the amount of yeast used are the most important. With a warm dough and plenty of yeast (>2.2%), the dough can rise in 45 minutes. The final proof can be slowed down in the fridge too, but it can’t be too long if you had a long first rise as well.

Min: 0 hours 45 minutes – Total: 0 hours 59 minutes

Max: 8 hours 0 minutes – Total: 57 hours 20 minutes

9. Scoring and baking

Bread will need to be scored before it is baked, this just takes a couple of moments. In the oven, a loaf of bread will bake in around 32 minutes, but this can be increased for cooler ovens and decreased if the size of the loaf is large. See what temperature to bake bread for more information.

Min: 0 hours 25 minutes – Total: 1 hour 14 minutes

Max: 0 hours 45 minutes – Total: 58 hours 05 minutes

10. Cooling

How Long To Let Bread Cool Down

Once the bread is out of the oven it will require cooling before it is ready to slice. You should wait at least an hour for the bread to cool, but for denser wholegrain loaves it can take a lot longer!

Min: 1 hour 0 minutes – Total: 2 hours 14 minutes

Max: 4 hours 0 minutes – Total: 62 hours 05 minutes

How Long Does It Take To Make Bread?

The quick bread took just 2 hours and 14 minutes, whereas the long-fermented one took 62 hours and 5 minutes. This is a very fast bread and a very long one, but I think both would turn out nice!

Buy Me A Coffee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep up to date with the latest Articles, Recipes & Bread Baking info by joining my mailing list

Join The Weekly Bread Baker's Newsletter!

Join my weekly baking newsletter to be notified with the latest bread baking tips and trends.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission through other affiliate programs on this site.

Follow My Socials:

Busby's Bakery

© Busby's Bakery. All rights reserved.
Designed by Joe Joubert.