The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


sandrasfibre's picture


Hello. I am looking for a bread recipe where I can make a spone/starter either the night before or in the morning and then use this starter in the loaf that day. In other words, I don't want to keep a starter to feed, I want a starter to use immediately. Thanks for any recipes. sandy

Pablo's picture

Hi Sandy,

It sounds like what you're looking for is a poolish or a biga.  Those are preferments that you start the night before, but they are not "starters" in that they use commerical yeast.  There isn't any instant way to get a naturally fermented starter, that I know of. 

A poolish or a biga is created by taking some of your flour and water and a tiny bit of yeast and mixing it together and letting it rise for 10 - 16 hours, then incorporating that back into your bread recipe.  It does give a wonderful flavour.  A poolish is more liquid (e.g. a 1 to 1 ratio of flour to water by weight) whereas a biga is drier, and a bit more difficult to incorporate back into your recipe.

Do a search here on poolish or biga and you'll get lots of info.


fancypantalons's picture

Incidentally, as an addendum to Pablo's comments, it's important to point out that it's simply not possible to create real, honest-to-goodness sourdough without a real, honest-to-goodness, fed and maintained starter.  There's just no shortcutting that part of the process.

Atropine's picture

I agree, it sounds like you might be looking for a poolish or biga.  That does really deepen the flavor of the bread, though it is not the same as a sourdough.

But this does bring up an interesting question.... is it possible to grow a wild starter, dry it in appropriate increments, then take it out and mix it in ingredients the night before and bake bread the next day?  I thought the KA pain de campaign starter that you can get (as well as other packet starters that they have) did that, or am I mistaken?

Keeping a starter is really not that difficult.  While the IDEAL would be a steady stream of on-the-counter, twice-a-day feedings (according to some), it is possible to keep one in the fridge for a long time between feedings.  That is exactly what I did with two, and then revived them about two weeks ago.  If you did not wait MONTHS between baking sourdough like I did, you would probably have to baby them less to get them going.  That might be a workable solution for you.