I wanted to make some bread according to the Quarter Sponge Method as outlined by Elizabeth David / Walter Banfield ever since I came across it more than a year ago.
The details are intriguing: A standard metod used to make "Batch Bread" in Scotland well into the thirties, it uses a long fermentation process and a minimal amount of yeast. A sachet of yeast will make about 30Kg of bread!
The result of my first bake: As close to shop bought sandwich bread as one can get - just with flour, water, salt, yeast and a 16 hour fermentation!
Here some pictures; details follow.
The overall appearance of my 1kg loaf:
The crust in more detail:
And the crumb:
The loaf looks very appealing; the crumb is dense and regular, but fluffy. And the walls of the small bubbles have the translucency of well fermented dough.
The taste is ... neutral. Just plain neutral, but in a pleasant way. Great with cream cheese and salmon, or salami, or marmalade.
Quite a surprise.
The formula is given by David in industrial amounts (200Kg batch size). I haven't got the proofing space, so I decided to scale it down.
Here the original formula:
|Quarter Sponge Process after Elizabeth David / Walter Banfield|| |
|Total Ingredients||Original||g converted||Bakers %|
|Initial Sponge||14 hours at DT 21C|
|Second Stage Sponge||1 hour at DT 27C||"batter sponge"|
|Initial sponge from above||46,111.50||36.760|
|Third stage sponge||1 hour at DT 26C|
|Batter sponge from above||141,925.50||113.142|
|Then ready for kneading, dividing and moulding|
I adjusted overall salt to 2% and estimated the modern yeast to be a lot stronger, the formula I used was:
|Quarter Sponge Process after Elizabeth David / Walter Banfield||Expected Yield||1,000.0|
|Total Ingredients||Bakers %||Weight|
|Initial Sponge; ferment 14 hours at 21C|
|Second Stage Sponge; ferment 1 hour at 26C, "Batter Sponge"|
|Initial sponge from above||36.65||231.3|
|Third stage sponge; ferment 1.5 hours at 26C|
|Batter sponge from above||113.03||713.5|
After the Third Stage Sponge (Final Dough) had rested, I kneaded, divided and shaped, followed by another 1.5 hours rest.
The dough was very pleasant to work with, despite the low hydration (using Bacheldre organic stoneground bakers white flour).
Baked with steam in a falling oven to 210C for 45 minutes.
An interesting experience.