The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

help with my starter please!

akouzo's picture

help with my starter please!

hello everyone,

I've just joined this site and I am hoping you can help me my starter. I work in a restaurant and bake the bread there. However every time I produce a sponge to fement overnight in our Cold room It collapses. I think that possibly I am using too much yeast. Would anyone be able to help. Below is the formula for my starter:

4.2 kilos of strong white flour (60% of total flour weight)
4 ltr of water @ 120F (100% hydration)
80g of compressed commerical yeast ( 1% of total flour weight)
Cold room temp: 0-2C
Fermentation length: 12 hours+

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

pmccool's picture

There are two things that may be contributing to your sponge's behavior.  The first is that your yeast content is nearly 2% of flour weight, rather than 1%.  The second is that you are starting with water at 120ºF.  

The temperature of your cold room is very cold for yeast activity.  However, the initial temperature of the sponge is quite high.  I suspect that the volume of the sponge is great enough that by the time it has cooled down to the cold room's temperature, the yeast has already had plenty of time to ferment much of the flour in the sponge.  When you see it the next day, it has already collapsed.

Assuming that you can't reduce the quantity of the sponge, and assuming that you are locked into a schedule that doesn't permit earlier use of the sponge, you could:

a. use less yeast

b. use cooler water

c. divide the sponge into smaller containers to allow more rapid cooling

d. any or all of the above

It will probably take a bit of experimentation to find the right yeast content and water temperature for the level of sponge development that you want.  (I'm assuming that you probably wash enough dishes as it is and won't be interested in dividing the sponge among several smaller containers.)  You might want to start by dropping the yeast quantity to 40g.  Or, by dropping the water temperature to, I don't know, maybe 80ºF.  Based on how the sponge behaves with one of those changes, you'll have an idea of what to adjust next.

Best of luck.