The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

direct vs. sponge's picture

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

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

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.