Sourdough (rec.food.sourdough) Discussing the hobby or craft of baking with sourdough. We are not just a recipe group, Our charter is to discuss the care, feeding, and breeding of yeasts and lactobacilli that make up sourdough cultures.

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Old 29-10-2006, 12:30 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Sponges

I have a question on making sponges. When I first started making sourdough
bread, none of my recipes had the intermediate step of creating a sponge
first. Most of my breads were so-so to good to very good. In trying to
branch out a little more, I tried some recipes that I got from the Internet
with help from this news group. I tried Opa's Sourdough Ciabatta and Opa's
Rye Bread. Both of these recipes use the intermediate step of creating a
sponge and both of these breads were fantastic in texture and taste. Since
in general the ingredients are not that much different than earlier recipes
without a sponge step, is it the sponge step that is making the difference?
Or could it be that for a semi-experienced baker, the sponge step just makes
the difference?



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Old 29-10-2006, 12:48 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Sponges

OldGreyBob wrote:
I have a question on making sponges. When I first started making sourdough
bread, none of my recipes had the intermediate step of creating a sponge
first. Most of my breads were so-so to good to very good. In trying to
branch out a little more, I tried some recipes that I got from the Internet
with help from this news group. I tried Opa's Sourdough Ciabatta and Opa's
Rye Bread. Both of these recipes use the intermediate step of creating a
sponge and both of these breads were fantastic in texture and taste. Since
in general the ingredients are not that much different than earlier recipes
without a sponge step, is it the sponge step that is making the difference?
Or could it be that for a semi-experienced baker, the sponge step just makes
the difference?


Sponges generally can only help, but it's hard to make sourdough without
a sponge. Technically that start _is_ a sponge (although I'm sure a some
nomenclature guru here would be happy to argue the point), so if you're
making sourdough with an intermediate sponge you're basically refreshing
the start and having a larger inoculation of start.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer the water and the flour hang out,
the better it will taste. Rumor has it you can go too far, but I'm not
really patient enough to find out. (How many licks to the center of a
tootsie pop?) As far as I'm concerned, the rest is a matter of convenience.


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