The Fresh Loaf

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Sponge for French baguettes

bakingmad's picture

Sponge for French baguettes



How long will a sponge placed at room temperature remain viable for French Baguettes?  I am following a recipe "Bakery-style French Baguettes" written by Cooks Illustrated.


Some say about 6-hours at room temperature before using for final dough. 


Thanks and happy baking.





proth5's picture

that you are using, I would suspect that the 6-7 hours they cite is probably right.   I'm not sure I agree with letting the "sponge" over mature (drop after being domed) but the Cook's Illustrated folks test their recipes pretty thoroughly for use by the home cook - so who am I to quibble? 

Thee amount of yeast used in the "sponge" is one of the determining factors for how long it will take to mature. 

Also, "room temperature" varies widely in actual experience.  So if your rooms are warmer than the CI folks,  it will be a shorter time, if they are colder, it will be longer. As always, CI gives you their exact room temperature (75F) and explains this to you.

But when the "sponge" is mature it needs to be used right away.  You may have a window of an hour or so, but it needs to be used at maturity.

Again, personally, I am not thrilled with their formula or technique, but everyone to their own taste.  There are plenty of baguette formulas (and techniques) on these pages that might give a better result.  There are infinite variations on this classic bread.  I guess that I would see the CI formula as a good starting place if you've never tried baguettes before.

Enjoy your baking!