The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


cranbo's picture

Inspired by a recent thread, I decided to tackle creation of a copycat recipe for Joe's Squared pizza from Baltimore. Anyone want to try it out?

Update 1/26/2012: when I first developed this formula and made this over the last 2 days, it started with a very liquid starter (~170% hydration), then to a loose sponge (~114% hydration), to a firm final dough (~59% hydration). It was also created for double the quantity, to ensure that the sourdough build would be successful. I've now updated it based on what I've read and learned about Joe Squared's pizza, as documented later in this tread: generally lower hydration, original bulk ferment, and more fridge time.

Cranbo's Cubed Pizza

Makes about 4 personal-sized (200g) pizzas.


Caputo 00 flour,50g
Sourdough starter,25g; OR use a pinch (1/16 tsp.) of yeast


Stage 1 starter,135g
Caputo 00 flour,200g


Stage 2 sponge,535g
Caputo 00 flour,300g
Vegetable oil,12g


Caputo 00 flour, 100.00%
Water, 60.7%
Oil, 2.15%
Salt, 2.15%

Stage 1:
Dissolve starter in water
Mix with flour until well incorporated
Set aside overnight at room temp (75F for 8-12 hours) 

Stage 2:
Dissolve stage 1 starter in water
Mix with flour until well incorporated
Let sit at room temp (75F) for 2 hours
Refrigerate overnight (8-16 hours)

Stage 3:
Next day, let come to room temp for about 30 minutes
Add stage 2 sponge to mixing bowl
Add flour, water and salt

Mixing and Kneading:
Knead for 1-2 min at lowest speed, just until it starts to come together as a ball
Now add oil
Knead for 5 min at medium speed (Kitchen Aid speed #4)
If you're going to use same-day, start preheating oven now to 550F with your pizza stone, sheet steel, or cast iron griddle. You'll need to preheat for at least 1 hour.

Bulk rise:
Let bulk dough rise 2 hours at warm room temp (75F). You can probably go longer if desired; however, you do not want your dough to more than double. 

At this point, shape into balls, grease lightly with oil, and refrigerate for future use; OR divide into desired pieces (200g is probably the right size for small individual servings).

Generously flour your rolling surface, and roll out to 1/8-1/4" thick using a rolling pin. If dough is too elastic and springs back, let it rest for 10 min, and try again.

Place pizza dough on cornmeal (on pizza peel or parchment)
For true "cube" square style, use a pizza wheel or a sharp knife to cut a 10 or 11" square.  
Top pizza as desired, putting ingredients right up to the edge in true copycat style. 

Bake at 550F for 3-7 minutes, until bottom crust is browned and toppings are melted as desired.

UPDATE 2012-01-26: my first bake is in the thread below. 

petercook's picture

sponge vs. poolish

November 12, 2012 - 8:24pm -- petercook

I am interested in getting opinions on the differering flavors of a sponge vs. that of a poolish. In my bread baking books the authors talk about a sponge (at a 64% hydration and a fermenting temp of 40- 55F) which is supposedly more acidic than a poolish (at a 100% hydration and a fermenting temp of 55-70 F.  Both preferments I let develop for 14 hrs. I a NOT expecting a real serious sour, like a sour dough. I am, however, expecting a very subtle sour flavor. I have tried both preferments numerous times but I can not taste a bit of difference.  Any idea why? thank you

rpt's picture

Sponge versus Straight Dough

October 8, 2012 - 5:01am -- rpt

I've often wondered what difference using a sponge has compared to making a straight dough with long fermentation. There have been various discussions here but I've never seen a definitive answer. So I decided to try my own experiment by baking two loaves with identical recipes.

The first loaf was mixed and kneaded on Thursday night at 10pm with all the ingredients. It was then left in the fridge until 3.30pm Friday, shaped and placed in the tin at 7pm and finally baked at 8.30pm.

petercook's picture

Sponge timing and amounts

April 12, 2012 - 1:34pm -- petercook

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.

rpt's picture

Sponge or straight dough

July 28, 2011 - 9:36am -- rpt

A common technique to achieve a good flavour in bread is to make an overnight sponge with half the flour, all the water and the yeast. But I always mix everything, knead and then put in the fridge overnight. Is there any advantage to the sponge method compared to my straight dough with long bulk ferment technique?

JC1957's picture

Yesterday I was researching various rye bread formulas and techniques trying to come up with something I could make with what I have on hand (dark rye flour and from a sour dough culture). I was thinking of a Jewish or a German Rye. The Bread Baker's Apprentice was a little help but still didn't have a formula to go on. Several years ago a friend (he was the head baker in the first bakery I use to work at) gave me his formulas, study guides and notes from when he attended Dunwoody Institute back in the early 1960's. I pulled those formulas out and found one for a Sponge Dark Sour Rye.  Here are the results.  2 of the 3-1 1/2 # loaves.  Baked 2 tonight and will bake the 3rd in the morning.


dablues's picture

Sponge & Temperature Of House

July 24, 2011 - 5:39am -- dablues


I made a sponge last night and it says to let it preferment between 65 & 70 degrees.  I made the sponge at 10PM last night and right now it is 8:37AM.  My house temp right now is almost 80 degrees.  I don't think I should wait any longer to start mixing my bread, but am not sure.  Any  help on this would be appreciated.


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