Sponge and dough process

The most commonly used method in the bread industry is the sponge and dough process. It is used by small, medium, and most large bakeries in the United States. The basic principle of this process relies on the use of a "sponge," a partially concentrated portion of a flour-water dough that is allowed to ferment and then is mixed with the remaining dough ingredients. The main advantage of this method is it that it is tolerant to time. In other words, once the sponge is developed, it does not have to be used immediately, but rather can be used over a period of time.Also, bread made by this method has a fine cell structure and well developed flavor. As outlined in Figure 8-9, the process involves making a sponge that consists of part of the flour (60% to 70%), part of the water (40%), and all of the yeast and yeast nutrients.The sponge is mixed and allowed to ferment for three to six hours at 16°C to 18°C (80°F).The remaining ingredients are then added and mixed, and the dough is allowed to develop. After a brief floor time period, the dough is then divided, molded, panned, given a final proof, and baked.

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