The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sponge timing and amounts

petercook's picture

Sponge timing and amounts

I am a bit confused about creating a sponge. Some bread book authors use a little as a 60% hydration while others use as much as 151% hydration. With that said I'd like to know if my sponge making can be improved.

1/4 cup of warm water, 1/8 tsp dry yeast, mixed and set aside.

1/4 cup of warm water and 2 tblsp of the yeasted water (throw away the rest)

1/2 cup of unbleached whole wheat flour

mix by hand for 2 minutes, cover tightly and set aside at room temp for 14-24 hours or until it triples. refridgerate until ready to use.

Is there any way to extract more flavor from my sponge?  Also, About 20% of my dough is the sponge. Can I go to a higher percentage of sponge in my dough? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

mwilson's picture

Sponge is of a dough consistency.

Biga, very firm 40-50% hydration

Sponge, 60-65% hydration

Poolish, 100%+ hydration

Please read this article.

The best way to achieve flavour is to use some wholegrain flour and as for fermentation, long and cool is the rule.


Rondo's picture

Hi Michael, and thank you. I've followed your link to this article on a previous occasion, and it certainly helps me to get the picture. "Long and cool is the rule" that too.