The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

what's a sponge? and other questions for a newbie.

jeanx's picture

what's a sponge? and other questions for a newbie.

What's a sponge? How about a soaker?

How do I know what hydration my starter is?

There are so many terms that Im not familiar with! I haven't seen the definition of these terms in anything I've read about.

Do most sourdough recipes call for wheat flour?

Is it okay to use all purpose instead of "bread flour"?


xaipete's picture

Jean, why don't you post the recipe you are working on so we can have a look at it. That way we might be able to come up with some solutions for you. Otherwise we are kind of like blind surgeons performing an operation.


deblacksmith's picture

Jean, Along with Pamela's suggestion to post the recipe you are working on take a look at the Handbook section of the website.  You can go to it by clicking on "Handbook" at the top of the page.  It has lots of useful information that helps you get started.  I know I am always learning something new there and by reading other threads.


jeanx's picture

Yes, I discovered the handbook section shortly after this posting. Thanks!

TeaIV's picture

just a heads-up, when I tried the lessons, It didn't explain what a sponge is, so when I did lesson 3, I was really confused because I thought it was telling me to use the sponge that I used for cleaning all of my bowls and stuff the day before.


a sponge is a pre-ferment, which is dough that you ferment for a certain amount of time before you make the dough that You're actually going to use, to which you add the sponge.


I think the rest  are somewhere in the handbook...

Pablo's picture

"Sponge: Also known as a "preferment," a sponge is a portion of the ingredients that is mixed ahead of time, typically overnight. Using a sponge extends the fermentation process longer and generally releases more complex flavors in your loaf. It can also be used to soften dry ingredients (such as whole grains) and release sugars from the grains."



gavinc's picture

 There is a very useful glossary here on TFL:



jeanx's picture


This was most helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!