Nac Mac FeegleNac Mac Feegle's Journal
The sponge method is a pre-ferment process for making bread that increases the flavor dramatically. A part of the dough is mixed up and left to ferment, producing a much more flavorful bread in the end. It's been described as a 'half-step' to sourdough.
Sponge Method Baguette / Boule formula.
Flour 16 oz
Water 10 oz
Yeast 0.6 oz
Sugar 1.5 oz or 1 fl. oz Malt syrup
Mix Sponge ingredients together in mixing bowl of stand mixer (can be done with a fork), cover with a layer of plastic wrap and a dish towel, and set aside to ferment.
The sponge should get foamy and rise to 3 to 5 times the original volume. The Sponge process is considered 65% done when the sponge 'breaks'; when it has risen all it will, and then starts to shrink back down. If it breaks after 6 hours, you still have 3 hours left. Any additional fermenting time adds to the flavor, which is why I like to do this the night before I plan to bake. Using the mixer bowl just saves time and dishes. This will be a sticky mess also, so using the mixer bowl saves on the hassle of transferring it.
Flour 9 oz
Water 6 ½ oz
Milk solids .75 oz
Shortening .75 oz / 2 Tbsp oil
Salt 0.6 oz
Add water, milk solids (dry milk powder) and 1/3rd of remaining flour to mixer bowl, attach dough hook, and mix on low speed.
As flour is incorporated, slowly add remaining flour, to keep from getting flour all over the place.
When flour is fully mixed in, knead for 5 minutes, scraping down bowl and hook as needed. Add oil and salt, and continue kneading for 5 more minutes.
Transfer to a large, greased bowl (sprayed with release spray, like Pam), form into a ball, and spray top of dough ball with release.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and dish towel from first section of process, and set aside in draft free location.
Set aside to rise, until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hour at 75 F, a longer time if cooler environment.
Knead down (a process called 'punching') the dough mass and transfer out onto floured surface to cut into four equal portions. Form into baguette type long, thin rolls or into a ball for Boules on a surface dusted with cornmeal (traditional).
Score each loaf with a very sharp blade to prevent crust splits when baking, cutting about 1/4 inch through top of dough.
Mist or sprinkle water over top of crust to prevent drying, cover with damp towel or plastic wrap, and let loaves proof for 30 minutes.
While loaves are proofing, place oven safe metal pan on bottom rack, set another rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 400F. for conventional or 375F for convection. Get cup with approximately 16 oz water ready, and place handy to oven.
When oven is well preheated and dough is ready; uncover dough, open oven door, place dough on middle rack, pour water into pan on bottom rack and close door. This will create a steamy environment in the oven, which creates a much nicer crust.
Bake for 20 minutes conventional, 14 minutes convection, or until crust is golden, depending on your individual ovens' peculiarities, and remove to cooling rack.
Restrain self until cool enough to handle, then what you do is your business.
Profile InformationName: Rob Anybody
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