The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It all started out as a sponge for baguettes....

afjagsp123's picture

It all started out as a sponge for baguettes....

I haven't always been the best plan-aheader, and today's bread proves it. On Monday afternoon, I started out with the intention of having baguettes with dinner on Tuesday night with some beautiful halibut (at $1000 or so a pound, I wanted a showstopper bread to go along!), so I started my sponge: teensy bit of yeast, water and KA APF. (The recipe called for a low protein flour, like Gold Medal, etc, but I didn't have it... it's a recipe from America's Test Kitchen's Baking Illustrated)

Anywayz, I refrigerated the sponge overnight after the long slow rest at room temperature. And forgot that my daughter had pre-k all Tuesday morning. The schedule was pretty strict: I was to take out the sponge mid-morning, add the flour, rest the dough, form, the loaves and fridge 'em until a just-before dinnertime bake.

Okay, now I was stuck. I wouldn't get home until 2:00 in the afternoon. I've never done baguettes before, and I didn't want my first experience to be awful, so I decided to change my plans and do a no-knead using the sponge as a pre-preferment (is that possible???!!!).  Bread for dinner was now out of the question...we settled for rice.

So I added in enough flour, salt a teensy bit more yeast and water to bring it to the proportions for my no knead recipe, put on the counter overnight. It rose beautifully! I dumped onto the counter to slightly knead it, but my hands turned into dough magnets. I don't even have an idea what the dough hydration was, but I had to wash my hands to scrape off the dough, just to grab the flour out of the pantry! I ended up kneading in about 10 more ounces of flour. I got a somewhat nice dough. I thought I had better re-rise it, so I let it rise using my oven's proof cycle for two hours. The rise was beautiful. I was able to form it into a decent round and do the final rise (on a sheet of parchment laid in a frying pan to keep the shape. I pre-heated my Dansk stoneware covered dutch oven in 500 degree oven, plopped the dough into the dutch oven, turned down to 425, and baked lid on 30 minutes, lid off 30 minutes with heat turned down.

The oven spring was amazing! The top is all crackley and gorgeous! I'm so excited to cut into it. It smells heavenly -- slightly sour. (I am a sourdough baker too, and it's not quite as sour as my sourdough starter produces.)

I'll post pix on my blog . I'm just curious what the texture and taste will be like.

Anyone else have success morphing a recipe like this one? I'd love to hear your stories (and IDEAS! in case this happens again!)