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How to adapt a recipe for using a sponge

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PanDulce's picture
PanDulce

How to adapt a recipe for using a sponge

Hi!


I've been reading a lot of posts here and learning about bread baking. I'm new to this and I learn with every post. :) Love this site!!


I'd like to adapt a recipe my grandmother used to make. I'd like to use a sponge to increase fermentation time and develop flavor. It's a brioche-like bread and it uses A LOT of yeast! (Sorry it's in cups, it's the original recipe).


Recipe:


30 g instant yeast


1/4 cup of water


6 cups flour


5 eggs


1 can of condensed milk (the one that has sugar)


5 yolks


250 g butter


2 tablespoons orange blossom water


1 Egg (for eggwash)


Dissolve yeast in water and add 1/2 cup of flour. Let rest for 15 min. To the rest of the flour add eggs, condensed milk, yolks, butter and orange blossom water. Add the yeast mixture. Knead until it doesn't stick to the table. Ferment until it doubles. Divide in 4 pieces. Shape and proof until it doubles. Apply eggwash and bake (200ºC/390ºF)


I'd like to know how to adapt it for using a sponge. Rose Levy Beranbaum uses eggs in her sponges for brioche. Should I? How many? How do I go about the yeast? I know I need to use less yeast if using a sponge, how much? (I'd like to use less yeast anyway).


Thanks in advance


 


 


 

ananda's picture
ananda

hi,


I can't help you with the cups, and this is developed for a savoury dough, but you could have a look at the formula, see if it's any use.    It does show how to use a pre-ferment with brioche....and, it works.


 


Low Sugar Brioche, using a Poolish


 



Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. POOLISH

 

 

Strong White Flour

10

360

Water

10

360

Fresh Yeast

0.03

1

SUB-TOTAL

20.03

721

 

 

 

2. FINAL DOUGH

 

 

Poolish [from above]

20.03

721

Strong White Flour

90

3240

Caster Sugar

2

72

Salt

2

72

Fresh Yeast

4

144

Egg - cold

48

1728

SUB-TOTAL

166.03

5977

Unsalted Butter

30

1080

TOTAL

196.03

7057

Oven profile: depends on product being made; oven temperature would be 200 to 210˚C

Method:

  • Make the "Poolish" 16 hours in advance, DDT 20˚C.   Cover, and leave ambient overnight to ferment slowly.
  • Combine the dough ingredients [not the butter!] with the "Poolish" in a mixing bowl and attach a hook to the mixer.   Mix for 2 minutes on first speed, and 8 minutes on 3rd speed.   Cover the dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes.   Meanwhile cut the butter into 2cm cubes.   Put the dough back in the mixer, attach the hook and add the butter cubes, combining to form a satin smooth soft dough.
  • Rest the dough in the chiller for up to 1 hour.

Scale, divide and process according to product needs.   Expect a large amount of oven spring in the baking phase.

Few balancing problems, which should all be ironed out now!

BW

Andy

PanDulce's picture
PanDulce

Andy,


Thank you very much for your answer. I think I can work it out from your recipe. It is useful to know the proportions of flour, water and yeast in the poolish. I'll use the % of yeast in your recipe, as I think mine has too much.


I really appreciate your help.

PanDulce's picture
PanDulce

In your poolish you use 360 g flour, 360 g fresh yeast and 1 g water? How does that ferment?

ananda's picture
ananda

Thanks for pointing that out:


Water is 360g and fresh yeast is 1g


Andy

Chuck's picture
Chuck

An alternative to get more flavor with a slower rise without modifying the recipe hardly at all, is to "retard" (or "delay") the first rise by putting the dough in a really cool place. Julia Child even gives very rough estimates of times for doing this: to make first rise take 5-6 hours, do it at 65F; to make first rise take 7-8 hours, do it at 55F; to make first rise take 9-10 hours, put the dough in your refrigerator.


(Instructions about _covering_ the dough during first rise are even more important with a retarded rise, which gives plenty of time for the dough to dry out badly if you goof up.)


-----


Anyway, here's my understanding of how to naively adapt any all-at-once recipe to the "sponge" method:


 o use the existing list of ingredients exactly as is


 o mix half the flour, all the water, and all the yeast (dissolved in the water if "active" rather than "instant") - this is the "sponge" - let it sit until it's very bubbly (a couple hours? four hours if your kitchen's cool? overnight in your refrigerator?)


 o mix in all the rest of the ingredients (other half of flour, salt, etc. etc.) as though you were just starting - mix them in a bit at a time (~0.5-1.5 cup), as if you add the flour all at once it might make a mess that's too hard to stir


 o for the first rise, do what the recipe says (for example "double it"?), except expect this to take a lot less time since you really started with a sponge rather than from ground zero, so start checking after only half as much time as the recipe says


 o continue with recipe as is


 


...as with any bread making, if it doesn't turn out quite the way you wanted, write down your ideas of what to do a little differently next time...

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

You might like to check out the Osmotolerant yeast from King Arthur flours.  It's a specially formulated yeast for recipes much like yours.  The reason there's so much yeast in your recipe 'probably' is because there is a hugh amount of sugar in the can of condensed milk.  Added -'Sweetned condensed milk' is one I believe you are refering to in your recipe...not evaporated milk.


Sylvia

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Gail Sher's "From a Baker's Kitchen", 1984, takes a recipe from Delores Cassella's " A World of Bread", 1966, and adapts the recipe to the sponge method. The bread is called Country Fair Egg Bread and it is very similar to your recipe. Ms. Sher's recipe uses 9 C. of flour, eggs, and butter but only one packet of active dry yeast.


I have a similar recipe attributed to my Polish grandmother and have found that a single packet of instant dry yeast worked well when I used a sponge.


Try to find Ms. Sher's book at your local library, or pick up a new or used copy- you can never have too many cookbooks, to get a good explanation of the sponge method. ckollars has given an excellent set of quick instructions that can get you on your way.


If you're interested in seeing my notes on my bread, contact me through the message feature and I can send a PDF or ODF file.

PanDulce's picture
PanDulce

Thank you very much everyone!


Andy: Thank you, I couldn't understand how did that work!


ckollars: Looks promising! I'll do what you suggest. I guess I'll be baking this bread a lot in order to get it perfect (More bread for me!!).


SylviaH: I didn't know about the osmotolerant yeast. I'm in the UK now, but I'll try to find something similar here. And yes, it is sweet condensed milk. Thank you for helping me to understand why I need so much yeast.


Postal Grunt: You are right! There is no such thing as too many cookbooks! I'll try to find Ms. Sher's book. I really appreciate your advise.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi PanDulce,


Now i've corrected the formula, does it make sense to you?


For Osmotolerant yeast in the UK, you will more than likely need access to a commercial supplier.   Where are you based?


If you use fresh yeast, and you have an active sponge, then 4% yeast in the final dough should work.   You may need to go higher, but there should be no need to go above 8%.


BW


Andy

PanDulce's picture
PanDulce

Yes Andy, it does make sense now. It's good to know the maximum % of yeast. I'll try different amounts of yeast within this range to see what works better. I'll also try to retarding in the first fermentation, the poolish and the sponge to see what works. Lots of experiments!


I'm in York. I was searching online and maybe DCL is the brand I need.