The Fresh Loaf

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Uses for over-fermented sponge

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bakingmad's picture
bakingmad

Uses for over-fermented sponge

Hello, everyone.


I was wondering what uses an over-fermented sponge could have. 


I'm obsessing over this sponge that's been sitting around for 24-hours.  The little yeasties don't want to be put to waste.   


Please think of the little yeasties.


 


Thank you.


 


*Addendum-  The "sponge" that I referred to is from the Cook's Illustrated "Bakery-style French Baguettes (3/2000) recipe.


 


Sponge


1/8-tsp instant yeastor 1/4-tsp regular dry yeast


6-ounces bottled water (by weight) or spring water, 110 to 115 degrees


6-ounces unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably King Arthur


 


 

proth5's picture
proth5

If you had an over fermented sourdough pre ferment there are a number of uses - waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc.  The unique flavor of sourdough will enhance the flavor of these baked goods that also include other types of leaven.


But what you have is an over fermented pre ferment with commercial yeast.  The gluten will be degraded and the yeast are pretty much near exhaustion, its flavor enhancement to other baked goods is nominal at best.


You can "waste" the pre ferment by throwing it away - or you can really waste it, addditonal ingredients, time, and effort by trying to bake with it.  I personally, would throw it away with my only regret being that I couldn't do my bake that day.


Yeast is a fungus.  It has no complex emotions.  It lives unaware and dies unaware. It reproduces like mad.  They were destined to die anyway.  There are plenty more where they came from.


Look at their demise unbaked as part of the cost of your baking education. Education is never a waste. 


Care for your friends and your family.  Care for those less fortunate. Throw over ripe pre ferment away.

BakerBen's picture
BakerBen

Amen ...

yozzause's picture
yozzause

If you have a compost heap in the garden it will enjoy a retirement with interaction with other yeasts bacteria and fungi and  be of some use in the end product. regards yozza.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Does it have to be a hot heap? Our garden is too small for a hot heap so we have a small, cold composting bin. Is it still okay in there as heat is not necessarily enough to sterilise? Has lots of worms and produces nicely mulched down compost.


Regards, Daisy_A

yozzause's picture
yozzause

my heap is in the garden and has lawn clippings etc it disappears prett quickly especially when it is turned regularly.


I'd try a little at first to see that it does not upset your balance, i imagine it will be fine if you are not overloading the system

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Thanks Yozza - I'll try this. Only producing small amounts of discard at the moment  Daisy_A

jstires's picture
jstires

'24 hours' and 'over fermented' in the same sentence is a tough sell. Sounds like a ripe poolish... or am I missing something? 

proth5's picture
proth5

formula that this particular poster was using (per an earlier post), at 24 hours the poolish/pre ferment/"sponge" is most likely to be over fermented. 


Depending on the amount of yeast in a pre ferment (and the temperature), it could be properly ripe at 24 hours, but generally we target pre ferments for ripeness at 8 hours or so.


Hope this clarifies rather than confuses further.

jstires's picture
jstires

This is a new concept for me... 7 yrs of making the same mistakes in the kitchen... I didn't know there was such degredation in an over-ripe pre-ferment. I've used such 'old' poolish without a thought as to a loss of flavor or gluten... live and learn. Thanks for the enlightenment.


js

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Run your minnows into the sponge and angle for the big ones!  Fish like sd too!  A minnow in sd dough must be a delicacy!  Sushi on pate fermente!   Oh do try it. :)

jstires's picture
jstires

6oz (170gm) each water and flour plus pinch (1/8 tsp) yeast seems a little too wet for a polish/pre-ferment. After 7 years I started to look beyond my own nose and am discovering there's more to a baguette than a fold and a slash!

proth5's picture
proth5

equal weights of flour and water is 100% hydration.  Add a pinch of yeast and you have the very  definition of "poolish" - there really is no other.


I make some pretty nice baguettes starting with variations on the 100% hydration pre ferment.


There are many varieties of pre ferments and some prefer one to another.


And a baguette is, indeed, a complex piece of baking - quite simple, yet quite demanding.

jstires's picture
jstires

I can see that my poolish as been a little on the dry side... hmm-m; back to the lab.


Is there a reason a poolish is so relatively small percentage-wise. Why not 200g each Flour & water and adjust the final dough to accomodate it? 400?


Could it be 50% of the final dough? BBA's French Bread formula is 50% Pâte Fermentée, for example... why not a larger poolish (%-age-wise?)


They have Ciabatta formulae using either Biga or Poolish... but don't explain why or what the difference might be.


Please (continue to) enlighten me... thanks again.

proth5's picture
proth5

pushed me up on to my soapbox.


We use many kinds of pre ferments in our baking.


A poolish is always 100% hydration. Always.


A biga is at 50% hydration with 1% fresh yeast or the equivalent.


Neither commonly contains salt and if they do it is at a baker's percent below that of the final dough.


A pate fermentee is at a hydration at about the same as the final dough and contains salt at the same baker's percent as the final dough.


All of the above contain commercial yeast.  When sourdough/wild yeast/starter is used we do not use those names.  I'm on the soapbox because the Bread Baker's Guild of America (BBGA) is trying to standardize these terms so that when we talk, we understand each other. Authors of popular baking books often play fast and loose with terms and this can be confusing.  Unfortunately even though they change their terms in later works, the words are out there and folks pick up on them.  I'm trying to show my support for the goals of the BBGA by learning and using terms as they have published them.  This also prepares me for the unlikely day when I will write formulas for use by the BBGA.


Any one of these (or a combination) can be used to make excellent bread.  It depends on the flavor profile we are trying to acheive, the rheological qualities of the flour, our personal styles, conditions under which we bake, etc.


When we design formulas for these lean doughs the most important variables are the final hydration, the type of pre ferment(s), and the baker's percent of the total flour that is pre fermented.


I was recently reminded that the percent of the flour pre fermented can be used to compensate for various flour qualtites, but that is an advanced topic and requires access to test information not commonly available to the home baker.


What I do know as a home baker is that I can vary the percent of flour pre fermented and get very different results with my baking.  This requires patience to vary one factor at a time and evaluate each bake to find out what works best and tastes best.  I also just "like" a 100% hydration pre ferment - I like working with it and at my house I am the head baker so I adjust my formulas accordingly.  But if I find a formula that I really like with a pre ferment at a different hydration, I will work with it that way.  Everything matters.


Different bakers have different preferences and a searching for different flavor profiles and have tuned their formulas to their preferences.  That is all. No easy rule for "use this or that" - just experience.  That's the craft.


Hope this helps.

jstires's picture
jstires

What helps is your mature and professional approach to the craft; THANK YOU for the eye-opening education. I've been very sloppy and less than diligent with my baking and have gotten away with it because of the virtual blinders worn by a small audience. I've been baking for seven years and have been making the same mistakes all along... cloistered away without competition or attention to basics.


I've sailed for twenty years and for the first three I really thought I knew what I was doing... UNTIL I started racing. I began to learn from others and to get the basics under my belt and to what it takes to move forward in my 'craft'... double entendre fer sher.


I believe the lesson received by having my buttski kicked dozens of times is a universal one... it takes exposure and competition to move forward. THANKS very much... time for maturity and discipline... I hate/love when that happens

jstires's picture
jstires

I don't want to split hairs but BBA's poolish is 4 oz Fl and 4¼ oz water.... Obviously not far TOO from "always 100%. Always." but you were rather emphatic. I also realize there are absolutely no absolutes... 'specially inthe kitchen.


js

proth5's picture
proth5

According to the BBGA (Bread Baker's Guild of America) a poolish is 100% hydration.  I'm supporting their standards and no one elses.


As I said, once it is in print - even if the author changes his/her interpretation - it's in print.


So, I would call it a 106% hydration pre ferment, not a poolish (and frankly, one has to ask "why?" on the extra 6%, but I am not a famous author), but I didn't write that book.  You'll see the most amazing things called a "poolish" or a "biga" or many other things depending on what book you are reading.


Using the same words to mean the same thing helps us to communicate.  Yes, the craft has a history and not everything was standardized.  But if we don't start somewhere it will never happen. I have a personal history (not to be told on these pages) that makes me a true fan of "starting somewhere" and sticking to it.


Doesn't mean the process or the formula is not legitimate, it just means that I am making a concerted effort to support the standards of a group dedicated to improving and promoting the craft of artisan baking.


Peace


 

jstires's picture
jstires

I'm witch you bruddah.

jstires's picture
jstires

... the use of the term "poolish variant" or some such 'variant' of the term 'variant'. I agree whole-heartedly that terms have meaning and should have the same meaning to everyone, bakers, authors and lay persons. "Poolish" should mean the same thing to all of us, while a 'variant' would/should have its hydration explained... and in the best of all worlds, explained as to why it's been adjusted from "poolish".


As a complete lab rat... as most serious bakers seem to be... definitions have purpose and meaning. Or should... have purpose and meaning. I guess I said that above.


I'm brand new to forum-writing and quesiton asking... buy a book and ya know it all... 'cept when it goes sideways and you think the author's too 'strict'. Just like racing, every term and every concept has some degree of validity. Any 'variant' that's fully explained is a gift to the reader... as have been your posts. Thanks, Proth5.


I see from your home page that you're knowledgable in types of wheat, or should be by now, lol. San Diego's not really known for its baked goods (beyond the tourist trade... and I'm not talking 'bread' here). I've often wondered if the varied humidity is the reason; if you don't like it now, wait twenty minutes. Surely wheat is THE factor; above all the other 'THE' factors; water, time, oven, steam, humidty, temperature, ingredients and on and on... all vying for THE number one spot.  I've used all of those as excuses for not being able to establish a base line... not baking the same loaf twice even after seven years of baking 4 - 5 time/week.


I guess it's time to get serious about this stuff if I'm ever going to. Do you write elsewhere about wheat? Thanks again for steering me towards the not-so-straight but  appropriately narrow path.  js


BTW, I've also been writing about consistantly burst baguettes at


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17645/burst-baguettes.


I'd love to get your inpout on that subject (too). TY again.

proth5's picture
proth5

Uh, I don't know what home page you saw, but I have no such thing in my life.  I do occaisionally blog here - and I don't live (or work) anywhere near San Diego.


Now that would be something - another PRoth who also is a wheat fanatic.


I have a very demanding assignment right now (in "real" life), so I've been slacking off on my reading and posting.  I did read about your burst baguettes, but my only contribution would have been "meticulous attention to every step in the process" and wow - that's a lot of diastatic malt! (which I think I did post.)


So good luck and Happy Baking.  I'm looking forward to a time when I can dwell more deeply on my hobby.

RandMan's picture
RandMan

Ahhh, my first post (just registered 2 minutes ago.)


I just wanted to chime in on this one and say that I am all for truth in product, meaning only calling something what it truly is. A perfect example would be California Champagne--there is no such thing! Champagne can only come from Champagne, France and can only be made from a certain 3 grapes and so on and so forth. So yes, if you are going to dump 12 oz of flour and 10 oz of water into a bowl, don't call it Poolish for the love of grain. Which is why I...


Don't worry about it at all! I make all sorts of mixes: 90% water, 80%, 76%; it doesn't matter to me because I simply call it "pre-ferment." These would be my equivalents to California Sparkling Wine. I'm using all the same ingredients as they do in France and making the wine the same way, but I am not following the rules so I am not calling it Champagne. It is simply "Sparkling Wine."


For those who do not bake bread often and measure things simply by cups and ounces from a recipe, you will of course have much more consistency if everyone's poolish is 50/50 flour and water. I use baker's percentages with all of my breads and weigh everything in grams. Therefore, it doesn't matter what ratios I follow in my preferment, as long as I account for that amount of flour and water in my final dough.


I don't want to confuse anyone with the paragraph starting with "Don't worry." This can only work if you have the math to back it all up and record everything. Otherwise, the only thing we can do is hope that everyone abides by Proth's points he mentioned above, and everyone can bake better bread!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I hope you take the time to explore the site; there's lots of marvelous content, including the materials in the tabs at the top of the page.


For the record, Proth5 is a she.

RandMan's picture
RandMan

Thanks Lindy--I am looking forward to exploring this asylum of crust and crumb!

proth5's picture
proth5

Your post caught my thought process because right now my "real" job is pretty demanding.  In my "real" job - words - and their definitions - matter.  Use terms just slightly inaccurately and you lose enough comprehension to cause folks to make expensive blunders. (And that's all I have to say about that.)


So naturally, I would bring this set of exacting standards to my "alternate" lives.  Your example is apt.  It isn't Champagne, Cognac, or Bourbon unless it is made in a certain place.  It may even taste "better" but it isn't the named product.


What seems trivial, though, can start to verge on dishonesty when applied widely in the world of craft.  The "artisan" bread that never felt the hand of the baker - the "Amish" quilt that was stitched by piece workers in Thailand - the "home made" jam that never saw a home.  All of these terms bring promises of quality and provenance and using them losely devalues the "real deal."  Is something intrinisically inferior because it does not bear a label?  No.  It may indeed be superior in aspects of taste, craft, or design.  But it isn't what it claims to be and somehow I feel that it takes a little bite out of the world.


Even weighing in grams confounds me a little.  Certainly there are places (I'm in one now) where grams are the only unit of measure and there we would need to use grams.  But the USA still uses good old ounces and pounds - and some of us have spent decades training our hands, eyes, and tiny minds to think in terms of this unit of measure. (I'm catching on to this grams thing, but just like learning a language it will never be as fluent as the one I've spoken since I was young and dinosaurs roamed the Earth.)  I think about this when I look at my US scale.  It weighs in increments of .05 oz or 2 grams.  I will repeatedly push the button that switches this (yes, yes, need to get a life) and ponder why is one of those inherently superior - especially when we are dealing with a process that has some significant variation outside of the weights of the ingredients - especially when the equipment itself seems to be about equally precise no matter which system I am using.  Again, I understand why folks who habitually work in grams want to stay with that system, but to actually claim it as a "must" for bread baking - just baffles me.  Call it what it is - a preference - not a significant factor in improving one's baking. (And I'm starting to get a little sensitive about the "must weigh" camp, again.  I love working with weight measures because it is faster, easier, and allows me to better leverage baker's percents in developing formulas - I'm a big fan.  But better products from using weight alone?  Back in the day when a really good kitchen scale was an expensive rareity in American homes, we taught ourselves to measure flour in measuring cups so that each time we measured the amount would be consistent [within process tolerances]. I was fooling around with that very concept a while back and my cups of flour weighed just about the same each time I measured. Certainly not off by enough to affect anything but the most delicately balanced formula [Talking home baking batch sizes here...]  Yes, measuring volumetrically is a skill that takes practice.  Yes, when we discuss things in weights it is easier to understand because we don't have to deal in the variations of personal measuring methods. But I'm forced to say that good bread does not require weighing ingredients.  In grams.  No, it does not.)


So when I write about baking, I try to call things by their proper names and call out preferences as such.


And with this I have procrastinated enough from my "real" work and must end.


Peace.

RandMan's picture
RandMan

Why I prefer to weigh everything (and not just for bread:)


1. A cup of flour from different brands will each weigh a slightly different amount, anywhere from 4.5 ounces to 5.5. Salt as well will fluctuate.


2. Not every measuring cup/spoon is manufactured to hold the exact same amount of product (a bit like the flour in terms of fluctuation.)


3. Joe, Sally, Pete, and Mary all scoop flour differently. Just like if you tell 6 people in a kitchen, "Each of you take 1 potato and peel and julienne it." You will get 6 different results. It is much easier to say to those 6 people, "I need 4 ounces of julienne potato from each of you."


4. It is much easier to weigh out 9 grams of yeast (a practical amount for a home batch of bread) than it is to weigh out .3214 ounces (9 grams) of yeast.


5. Weight never changes. Unless the scale is broken, 373 grams of bread flour can only ever be one thing, and that is 373 grams!


Better products just from weighing? No. But if I were to post one of my formulas on the site for people to try, the product would be much more consistent. When you are at home and using the same flour with the same measuring cup every time you make bread, you will inevitably settle into a groove and make dynamite bread. When you start trading recipes and/or publishing them, I think weight becomes more crucial. Or for me, mandatory.