The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough sponge

Ellingham91's picture

Sourdough sponge

Just wanted to see if there are any measurements on making a sponge the night before making the final dough. 

I've been making my loaves using a simple recipe of 150g starter, 300ml water and 450g flour. Letting it rise, knocking it back, shaping, second rise and bake. 

Thought I'd try the sponge method for a more fermented flavour I guess. So would I be right in assuming less starter would be needed and I would use half the flour of the recipe I use so it would look a little something like: 75g starter, 300ml water and 225g flour, mixed up left to ferment over night. Then add the remaining flour, salt, quick knead then carry on as normal? 

PetraR's picture

I make a levain out of 1 tbsp of Starter plus 50g Flour and 50g Water, leave it for 12 hours * Over Night * and that I use to levain my loaf.


My recipe is 500g Flour/300g Water/8.5g Salt.


I work out how much 20% of my Flour is that I use for baking and in my head divide that number by 2 and use one half as flour and the other half for Water.


20% of 500g is 100g divided by 2 is 50g  2x50g is 100g

50g for flour & 50g for Water

Works wonderful.

cranbo's picture

The only issue I can see is leaving that sponge out overnight. With the amount of starter in your sponge it might overferment. You may want to start by using a smaller amount of starter, but you may have to play around with this value to get it right

Ellingham91's picture

I see where you're coming from, I guess it all depends on the strength of your starter, is there any particular way to tell how strong/active your starter is? Are there any signs? 

cerevisiae's picture

Well, assuming you treat it/feed it consistently (same food, hydration, regular-ish schedule and temp), how long does it usually take to peak? That's a pretty good way to gauge the activity. I know that mine usually peaks in 5 - 7 hours and collapsed by 8, if not sooner.

You'll notice collapsing by the way the starter is lower than the "high starter" marks on the walls of the container it's in - I use glass, so it's pretty easy to see. There's usually some residue left from the starter's rising, and if it's below that, it's past peak.

doughooker's picture

The only issue I can see is leaving that sponge out overnight. With the amount of starter in your sponge it might overferment.

How many hours is "overnight"? If it's 8 to 10 hours it shouldn't be a problem.

cerevisiae's picture

If the starter is really happy and active, 8 - 10 hours will be long enough for it to collapse at least a little (and, y'know overferment a bit, unless you're really into sour). My starter can peak in 5 - 7 hours depending on temp, so careful there with the assumptions about timing when talking about a starter you haven't met.