The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

direct vs. sponge

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

direct vs. sponge

just purchased bernard clayton's 'breads'. susrprised that most of his recipes don't require a starter as peter reinhardt generally recommends in his 'apprentice' book. is the qualitative difference that great to favor one method over the other. i personally haven't noticed much of a difference. please advise.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I think a sponge makes a difference, particularly with breads containing nothing but yeast, salt, flour, and water. But a lot of Clayton's recipes rely on complex ingredients lists for their flavor. When you are making something containing a lot of maple syrup or molasses or something else with a lot of flavor, I'm not sure a sponge makes much of a difference.

timtune's picture
timtune

But i think the sponge's a good way to see if ur yeast( esp instant) is still alive, before mixing it in the larger amount (and more expensive) ingredients. :)
Long fermentation periods, with less yeast, also does add some complexity to the taste i feel.